Therapy Session No. 2

I took Doodicus to his second therapy session this morning. Dr. Rita (that was his nickname the last time, right?) had called and spoken to Doodicus’ teacher before we arrived to ask for himself how Dood was doing in school. After he told us that the teacher confirmed the concerns from our first appointment, Dr told us quite bluntly that the medication – 20mg Daytrana patch – isn’t working, and that we would need to schedule an appointment with the psychologist, Dr Herring. In a way, I was glad to hear this because it meant that things can be better for Doodicus, but I’m very worried about the adjustments we’ll have to face.

We spent 90 minutes with Dr Rita discussing how the pervasive feelings of how Dood thinks he does nothing right. We talked about a 504 plan and an IEP, details of what’s involved forthcoming. I just can’t get into it now because honestly, I don’t have enough information. But it’s finally happening. Dr Rita also thinks his teachers are woefully-prepared to deal with his ADHD, and told us that Doodicus’ failure to thrive this year is directly AND indirectly related to the personnel at his school. Sure Dood is responsible for staying organized and completing work and paying attention, but he’s also responsible for making sure the teachers DO THEIR JOB AND HELP HIM stay organized, complete his work and pay attention! His teacher’s suggestion this past fall that included assigning a “buddy” to help him get his assignments written in his assignment book was just another confirmation that his teachers are clueless: it’s the teacher’s job to make sure his assignments are written down, not a classmates; and there’s the added concern of how negatively this could affect Doodicus by creating a situation for additional stigma.

As for the teacher’s repeated admonishment that fourth graders should no longer require everyday review of their assignment book by the teacher, Dr Rita said children with ADHD work at approximately 75% maturity and responsibility level of “normal” children. Another indication that his teachers don’t get it because they want to treat all the kids the same, and obviously they are not.

In case you weren’t sure before, we like Dr Rita very much. He seems genuinely concerned and also confident that we will make things much better for all considered. Let me share this last little tidbit that made me a believer in Dr Rita: The clinic’s policy only allows appointments to be scheduled two out at a time. This was a concern because it would mean it would be almost impossible to get the slots we needed, which were late evenings, if we wanted to eliminate our need to take a whole day off from both work and school since four hours alone are devoted to travel. He personally came up to the front desk with us and had the limitation lifted from our account and I was able to schedule appointments approximately every three weeks up through this summer.

The other extra step he took was even more remarkable. The psychiatrist’s FIRST available appointment happened to be in three weeks on a Friday, and only because someone had just cancelled. The initial problem with that was we wouldn’t be able to see Dr Rita the same day as he sees patients at a satellite clinic on Fridays. Trying to coordinate both appointments on the same day was proving to be a statistical nightmare as Dr Herring’s next available time wasn’t until June and we really need to get Doodicus switched to medication that actually HELPS. Dr Rita said it was important enough that he would make this one-time arrangement and come into his office that same Friday. We now wouldn’t have to make two trips in one week!

On a related note: The reason for the opening with Dr Herring was because the clinic had just brought in a N.P. (Nurse Practitioner). The scheduler said she couldn’t schedule us with the NP because our insurance wouldn’t cover it. When she said that, I replied, “I’m not going to limit our care to what my insurance will or will not cover. If we have to pay out-of-pocket, we will.”

I overheard a woman the other day talking about how her daughter’s insurance “kicked her out of the hospital.” I’m not going to get all preachy about this, but her insurance did NOT kick her out of the hospital. The discharge planning department didn’t have enough medical necessity from the doctor to report to her insurance the need for her continued stay unless she wish to stay and pay out of pocket for the bed. Just FYI.

OK, need to get this published before my internet crashes again. Plus I need to research 504 Plans and IEPs. Why do I always feel that the more information I have, the more time I feel I have wasted on being ignorant?

It’s Just One

With most of us experiencing early spring-almost-summer, it’s tempting to head back outside and soak in the sun without care. A coworker said she was outside this past weekend for about 20 minutes and sunburned her back. It was hazy that day, which is especially deceiving.

I had my third mole-check after I was diagnosed with malignant melanoma and while the last time I went scott free, today I am sporting a simple bandaid on my left forearm. I wait two weeks for the results of the biopsy.

I’ve had friends and family explain how they’re afraid to get their moles checked out. They have so many! They’d be covered with bandages from all the biopsies!

It doesn’t work that way. Sure, if you have lots of moles covering your body, then yes, you ARE at higher risk because your body is funkifying the pigment in your skin. But it’s not the one-hundred moles on your right shoulder you need to worry about. It’s the ONE that doesn’t look like the others that you need to have looked at by your dermatologist right now.

Me? I don’t have a lot of moles. I have ‘sun-spots" on my hands and I have a very faint pregnancy mask. My dermatologist loves me because it takes him just a couple minutes to examine my skin. That ONE he took yesterday stood apart. No bigger than a mark made by a Sharpie pen-tip and dark. He may have decided to take it just because I asked about it. Why wonder later, he said, so it’s gone.

After having had seven biopsies, I do have two major scars. However, they are both direct results of surgery, not biopsies. Scars are ugly, I’ll give you that. But radiation therapy and chemotherapy is uglier. Dressed up in your Sunday best lying on a bed of white satin and air-brushed to look semi-human even though you’re dead is Ugliest, even if you haven’t a scratch on you.

I Remember Fake IDs

When I was a freshman in college, I would forge documents for students so they could get a fake ID from the state that showed them to be legal drinking age. All I needed was a photocopy of a birth certificate. I would white-out the year and type over it and then photo-copy it again. Since the students weren’t attempting to get driver’s licenses, it was all the state required. I of course made one for myself. I walked by a bar and they were looking for part-time employment. I completed the application and then headed over to where they sold carry-out liquor. I headed up to the counter with my purchase and dug out my fake ID. As I was standing there, the guy who I had turned over my app to came up and put it down next to me on the counter in front of the clerk selling me booze. He tapped meaningfully on the birthdate of my application. The clerk, who had been examining my ID, looked at me with a smirk. I left utterly humiliated by my stupidity and without my fake ID. I didn’t make another.

I Remember Grape Flavoring

I entered my freshman year of college at the ripe old age of barely 18. A couple of my dorm-friends and I went to the local liquor store and illegally bought booze. My choice was grape Mad Dog 20/20. I don’t think I was mixing it with anything. We drove around town and drank and giggled and drank some more. Our driver had just parked the car on campus and I stumbled out and promptly threw up. My first buzz-ending-in-puking-adventure. It’s taken many years, but once in a while I’m able to take a couple of sips of grape soda. Remember the kool-aid flavored, wax bottles? The ones with grape tastes just like that Mad Dog.

I Remember the Dart

My little sister and I got into a fight. We were in what we called The Playroom (a concrete floor addition to our old farmhouse that housed a pool table, the “fancy” record player cabinet, the sewing machine, a bar made of barrels, and the only closets for my parents’ clothes. We thought it was HUGE.) She grabbed the darts that were in the dartboard above the pool table and started chasing me. Suddenly I had this terrible pain in the heel. I stopped and looked down to see a red dart stuck in my foot. Probably realizing she wouldn’t be able to catch up with me, she had thrown a dart but never thinking it would hit me. We looked agog at each other like, “Oh shit! Now what?!”

I Remember How to Whip It, Whip it Good

My dad had a black and white bullwhip that he used when working cattle. He would leave it hanging in the milking barn. We milked about 25 to 40 cows twice a day, but only had four machines. That would give us a few minutes of down time so I would go outside with the whip and try to make it crack. I eventually learned how, but not before either snapping myself or one of my sisters who carelessly stepped within the circle of pain.

I Remember Nipple Envy

You know the game pieces in the game of Sorry? I would put them under my shirt and pretend they were my boobs. No, I was not doing that after I turned 16, but I must have traumatized my developing breasts because I’m pretty sure my Sorry Boobs were bigger than my real ones.

 

I Remember My First Sleepover

My first sleepover was when I was eight or nine and it was at Lisa’s house. That night, I was scared of how dark it was in her room so I was able to convince her to leave the little lamp on her dresser. However, the light was too bright for her so our compromise was to cover it with her older sister’s blouse. It was red. Several hours later we both woke to the smell of something burning to discover a thin wisp of smoke coming up from the lamp where the light-bulb had generated enough heat to scorch the blouse. Lisa’s mom and sister were furious. I never did have another sleepover at Lisa’s house.

I Remember the Headbutt

My little sister and I were out in the sheep yard playing. I might have been around six or seven years old. The sheep were of course in the yard and I remember one of the bucks stepping away from the group. I turned to him and pawed my foot on the ground, like I was some kind of challenge to him. Seconds later, I found myself ass-deep in the water tank. I lifted myself out of the tank, soaking wet and the wind knocked out of me. My dad, who I must have went crying to, was angry because he thought I was “swimming” in the sheep tank.

I Remember When…

Imagine a pile of boulders on a truck. You have to empty the truck, but you can’t just start pull the heaviest and biggest boulder out from the pile. You have to start with the smaller ones, clear them away, methodically make room. That’s my brain right now.

Aaaaand I just realized that means I have a head full of rocks. Nice.

I don’t remember who any of my teacher’s were in school except for Mrs. Stingley. She was the opposite of her name sounds and as the Kindergarten teachers go, aren’t they always the sweetest, kindest, and most loving? She was. However, I have a heck of a time remember much of anything from my childhood, especially the traumatizing school years. Last night I was trying to recollect those moments that flit occasionally across my lobes and I realize while I can’t turn the stories into something meaningful today, I think the fact that I can still remember them must mean something. Maybe in 30 years, when my mind has slipped into the fog like my mom’s, I’ll be able to come here to relive them.

With that being said, I’ll be throwing up a bunch of these little senseless snippets from time to time. In fact, I may publish a half dozen all at once, but I want them to be separate posts. Don’t mind me and your "Reader.Clutter". Sit back and enjoy how boring my childhood was. Maybe once the little boulders are gone, I can talk again about the big, unwieldy ones.

If I Had Known Then What I Know Now

You know that feeling of queasiness that makes you breathe just a little deeper and slower while you squeeze your eyes shut and tell yourself over and over again, “I will NOT throw up. I will NOT throw up.”? Of course, you do throw up and after wiping the snot from your nose and the tears from your eyes, you actually feel just a tad better?

Well that was how things were up to that last post with IT being the puking.

I feel better, but only just a tad.

I was friended recently by the woman of the husband/wife team who we gave the baptism classes when Aitch was a newborn. I remember how grateful I was when at each class Aitch would want to nurse so I would get to escape with her while my husband listened to the blah-blah-sacrements-blah-blah-blah. I will call this woman, Britt.

She’s also a fellow parent from Doodicus’s school, but while we are “meh” about the whole religion thing, she is a hand-to-God pious, righteous woman. We would seem to be complete opposites spiritually. She’s also perky and cute and has a nanny and one could easily assume she’s a trophy wife. But each time we’ve run into each other, we can’t seem to stop talking. About whatever! The kids being assholes. Husbands being assholes. Ourselves being assholes. There’s this dark side to her that I’m sure I can develop, given time.

I explain that so you can understand why I accepted her friend request on Facebook.

She sent me a message the other day and wants the link to my blog. She’s been the only person I’ve known in real life that I’m friends with on Facebook that has asked. I don’t make it a secret that I have one, I just don’t publish it on FB (if you see it, it’s because of my settings). In short, I told her I wasn’t ready to share this site with her but I didn’t send her the link to my old blog. I figured if she could get past the first 100 times I wrote shit, fuck or damn, then I knew she’d have potential.

Before I sent the link, I thought I’d read through the first few pages of posts, something I haven’t done in a long time, just to make sure it didn’t link back here somehow. Now I suppose if she dug through the comments she’d eventually find this blog, but if she’s going to go through that much torture, well then she deserves to find this pile of crap.

Anyway, I found a post that referred to some of the troubles we were having with Doodicus when he was still X Boy, still an only child, still undiagnosed with ADHD and I wanted to kick my own ass. Like this one (password protected but remember what this is still, right? think of a model plane…) or crap, this one; posts where I had exclaimed, “What’s wrong with my little boyyyyyyy???!!” and now I think to myself, “Well, duh, Woman. How could you not see that he has ADHD?”

It was a bumpy stroll down Memory Lane.

I know there’s been a couple of you who are facing some difficult decisions about what’s the best way to evaluate your child and figuring out what’s “normal”. You know what? There’s no Normal; no Standard your child should meet . You have to go with your gut. Not your heart. Your heart will throw you under a fucking bus. Go with your gut, because you have nothing to lose by being diligent. If I hadn’t swallowed a bit of pride, I could have lost everything.

Followed by the Lows

I hate to follow-up a series of posts about the Happiest Place On Earth with a post that could very well be one of my unhappiest, but honestly, I predict there will be even more unhappy.

Doodicus saw a child psychologist a couple of weeks after our return from Disney World. I’ll have to go back a couple of weeks before that to explain how we got there.

After the meeting with his teachers and principal in November, it didn’t seem as if any of their proposals to help improve the situation at school were implemented, including assigning him a “buddy” to make sure assignments were written and homework brought home. That being said, the things seem to hit an even keel. In other words, it didn’t get worst, but it didn’t get any better.

Then I got a call from his teacher: Doodicus got into a classmate’s backpack and took some candy without permission. I was very upset and called the district school’s psychologist, the one who had evaluated Doodicus to figuratively cry on his shoulder and to plead on Doodicus’s behalf, “He’s not a bad kid. I don’t know why this is happening, and I want him to get help.”

Melodramatic much?

I don’t take my son’s snooping through a kid’s backpack and taking candy lightly. At all. Personally, I don’t see it any differently than stealing something from a store, or even out of a stranger’s house. In fact, after I picked Doodicus up from school that day, I drove him by the police station and told him the next time, we’ll go straight to the station and he won’t be coming home with me. He’s only ten, you might say? I would have been way more lenient if he had been four, five, maybe even six, but not ten.

So I am back to worrying that I’m not doing enough to make sure Doodicus can succeed not only in school, but in life generally. I hate feeling like there’s some doubt as to whether his behaviors are a result of ADHD or to lenient parenting. I decided to be proactive and schedule this appointment with the pediatric psychologist. I was hoping we would go in, spend some time talking, review his history, and be told to go home and keep doing what we had been doing – we’re doing great!

We are not.

Approximately half way through the hour-session, I brought up the fact we were discussing moving him to a different school next fall. When I looked over at Doodicus, his face was red and there were tears in his eyes. I stopped, stunned. The doctor, Dr. Ashley, asked Doodicus why he was upset. No response. We let him breathe through the moment and calm down and at that time he admitted he not only was scared to go to a new school and leave the friends he knew, he was scared of how the teachers will continue to treat him if he stays. But the scariest moment came when Dr. Ashley asked if Doodicus if he had ever thought about hurting himself. I can recall that Doodicus has been so upset in the past over a punishment that he wished he hadn’t been born, so it came as a punch to the heart when he confirmed he has more recently thought about self-harm.

My initial concerns for making the appointment – the lack of organization, the oppositional behavior – they are now nothing. This anxiety Doodicus is feeling is not uncommon for children with ADHD and Dr. Ashley mentioned it may or may not be related to the medication, but these emotions are priority. Obviously. It was surreal to be told by his doctor to make sure we remove any instruments he may mention in crisis, because while being ten is old enough to know better about getting into other people’s things, it’s way too fucking young to be so anxious and considering that there’s an extreme solution. I won’t even say the word. I can’t.

It’s a Wrap: Disney Conclusion

Are you bored yet with my Disney updates? C’mon, you can be honest with me. *I* would be bored! It’s the equivalent of sitting through your aunt’s slideshow of the Sequoia National Park (or my sister’s. this, I know.). But trust me: one day YOU may decide to go and if you glean at least one little kernel of wisdom from these past few posts, my job is done.
It’s not a cheap vacation. It averaged out to $750/day which is figuring in a dining plan, plane tickets, resort and park tickets. Laying it out like that seems almost asinine, to be frank. On the other hand, our last vacation was over four years ago. We were due, we deserved it and we would do again. Not next year, mind you, but are already talking about in two years going again.
As for “the next time”, here’s a list of DOs and DON’Ts for me to refer back to in 24 months (Note: this list is specifically for us and not to be considered my suggestions for you if you travel to WDW, but heed my warnings!):
DON’T – rent a car. We put on a whopping 40 miles. That was the roundtrip from the airport. The Disney resort would have provided the transportation of not only ourselves but our luggage. Even BACK to the airport! We just checked our bags at the bell hop’s desk.
DON’T – get the dining plan. That alone was $180/day. We probably spent at least another $200/week out of pocket for food stuffs that were not part of the plan. At just one restaurant, our overages were $75 because we each wanted a salad, in addition to the shot of Bailey’s with my cappuccino. Plus, we felt like we spent too much time determining where to get our food next just so we could obligate some part of the plan. “Quick Serve Restaurant” is a misnomer. Aitch would have been happier with simple snacks, like a muffin, banana, milk and a hot dog every day. Doodicus hated the “weird” theme food at many of the places we ate. He just wanted a simple ham and turkey sandwich on white bread.
DON’T – use my credit card at the park. Use my resort key (which also acted as our park pass and dining plan card). We realized too late into the week that if we had just charged any extras to our room, we could have had a much more accurate tally of our expenses instead of me doling out 20 bucks here or 10 dollars there and a credit card over that. Yes, it works in gift shops and food kiosks alike.
DON’T – buy the autograph books. With that being said….FOR SALE: one blue and one pink Disney autograph books. Never opened. Three year old girl too shy to use hers; ten year old boy too cool to use his.
DO – make sure our connecting flight is in the south. I found flights from Omaha connecting in Houston, Chicago, and even Denver. DENVER!! There’s only three months of the entire year one doesn’t have to consider snow in Denver, and I won’t be traveling to the land of Humidity and Swamp in any of those months.
DO – rent a stroller from an outside company. They have them at the park, but they looked uncomfortable and were bulky. The park stroller would have also meant carrying Aitch from the bus stops to the parks and back again. I think that’s where we did our most walking. The stroller we rented was super clean, easy to fold and they even put her name on it.
DO – take an extra pair of flip-flops/shoes to the park. Even my trusty, over-priced Olukais were uncomfortable by the third hour. The Reefs were cheap and unbelievably comfortable for less than $20 and they easily fit in my bag.
DO – remember to wear my hat. I brought two along, but since most mornings were overcast and cool, I wouldn’t think of
it until about two hours later while at the park after the sun had burned away the haze. We went through onlyone can of sun-screen, which was used on lower arms and legs, the backs of necks and the tops of my feet. I got too much sun on my upper chest. I was very disappointed with my carelessness.
DO – take lots of pictures. LOTS and LOTS of pictures. Photo Pass was not worth it. PP is where a Disney photographer takes your picture with the landmarks or characters. To buy ONE digital download, it’s $15. And since we only had 24 photos through PP, most of them “meh”, it was not worth the $200 to buy the DVD.
Other little things I discovered on my trip? Castmembers call all girls “Princess”. I found this oddly disturbing. I don’t recall that
they addressed boys with anything so specific.
I bought a handpainted, silk, Chinese parasol on one of the sunny days I had forgotten a hat. It is beautiful. But it’s nearly impossible to take pictures, track your kid/stroller and hold a parasol. I actually preferred the parasol over the hat, because it didn’t mess up my hair and it let the breeze cool my brow.
The staff at Wetzel’s Pretzl at Downtown Disney was as rude as they get. I stood in line for SEVERAL minutes craving a soft pretzel only to be told, "We don’t accept Disney’s Dining Plan. Duh!" The "duh" was implied. No smile and apologize. Nothing. After several days of castmembers and employees smiling and cordial, I found this almost intolerable. Wetzel’s Pretzel? You can suck it.
Disney World is clean. I didn’t realize at first what was missing as we walked through the park the first day until I saw a castmember swoop out of the shadows with his broom and dustpan and discretely sweep up a couple of pieces of popcorn and glide ninja-like away. There were no straw wrappers, no errant napkins, no abandoned paper cups. Even the bathrooms were impeccable. As impeccable as a public bathroom that sees thousands of people’s butts every week. The counters were wiped dry. There was no soap dribbling into a nasty goo. There were no unflushed toilets. My first visit to the airport bathroom was almost a culture shock after all The Neatness.
Take some down-time. I was advised to, but didn’t. And I regret it. Even if it’s to spend a couple hours at the resort’s pool. Doodicus and Aitch begged us every day to go, but we didn’t. The swimsuits didn’t see the light of day. I just thought since we had these park tickets, then damnit we were going to the parks! A late afternoon sitting under a pool umbrella NOT walking while the kids played to exhaustion would have been a nice treat for everyone. I’ll confess, I have major regrets over that.
I’m glad we went. I’m glad to be home. I’ll be anticipating our next trip.