Monday, February 27, 2012

Getting a diagnosis: Part Two

Part one is here.

I spent several hours last week dealing with doctors and insurance companies. We called to schedule the testing that Cooper's pediatrician recommended. The highly regarded specialist in our town who does this testing with children doesn't take our insurance. If we want to have it done anyway, it's $2600 out of pocket. Goodbye plans to fence the backyard this summer.

So, I called my insurance company and asked if there was someone in-network who performed these services. They put me on hold for a while and then told me that they don't cover that procedure at all until ADHD has been ruled out as a diagnosis. So, I have to get ADHD ruled out before they will authorize anyone to perform the examinations. It doesn't matter if ADHD is co-occuring with other disorders, they won't authorize it at all at this point.

So they send me back to their website to pick a provider to do a psych eval to determine if Cooper has ADHD. I finally found one person who specializes in psychiatric diagnostics rather than in counseling, and he can't get Cooper in until the end of April.  The specialist I was referred to could have gotten him in this week.

To make this even more fun, my insurance ends when I resign this summer, and we'll be switching to GeekBoy's insurance. GeekBoy's insurance covers this procedure with no hoops to jump through. But we can't swap to his insurance unless there is a "life change" like loss of insurance coverage someplace else. But I can't voluntarily terminate my insurance so we can get on his insurance.

At this point, I'm seriously considering just trying Cooper out on medication, and waiting until August when we are on the new insurance to get him properly assessed by a specialist, rather than paying for an ADHD diagnosis twice.

Things like this are why I support single payer health insurance.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Getting a Diagnosis: Part One

We met with Cooper's pediatrician today, who said he is presenting like a textbook case of ADHD. He said we have one of two options at this point, 1. Test him for any other conditions that mimic the symptoms of ADHD to rule out anything else, or any co-occurring disorders, or 2. Put him on meds and see what happens. I went for one. He'll refer us to a group that does diagnostic work with little kids and they will do a full screen of IQ, learning disorders, developmental or sensory disorders, and psychiatric conditions. We should be expecting a call from them this week. Can I say that I just love Cooper's pediatrician? I know so many people who have to fight to get their kids the treatment they need and proper assessments done, and we have a doctor that's completely on board with letting us determine what course to pursue.

Monday, February 20, 2012

Wouldn't want life to get too easy

Cooper's preschool teachers talked to GeekBoy Thursday about some problems Cooper is having in class. He's not paying attention, he won't sit still, he can't focus, it takes him forever to do a worksheet because he can't remember things short term, he doesn't follow directions he hits or pulls hair or lifts shirts of other kids, especially during circle time, etc. This was at the end of a week where Cooper lost all of his tickets - they get three tickets at the beginning of each day and lose one when they break a rule - every day.

When GeekBoy told me this, I felt like someone had stomped on my heart. No one wants to hear that their child is struggling in school. Discussing these symptoms, which we had also noticed at home, but to a lesser extent since he is an only child and doesn't have to sit still often, I brought up the idea of ADHD. This wasn't a huge surprise because GeekBoy has had ADHD(undiagnosed) for his whole life, and finally got diagnosed last month and went on medication to treat it. It's made a big difference in his behavior. We probably wouldn't have immediately jumped there if he hadn't sought treatment last month. Looking at the diagnostic criteria for ADHD, Cooper demonstrates 17 out of the 19 criteria, many (most?) of them to a degree that affect his functioning to the point where he is demonstrating some sort of deficit in the classroom.

If it turns out that Cooper has ADHD, it will be a lifestyle change for us. But I think we've been prepared for this. It is easier to see now why I have felt so impressed to home school. All the things that he is struggling with right now are just going to be a bigger part of his school life if we put him in a standard classroom. GeekBoy finally sought out treatment for his ADHD so we were looking for that connection.

So we've scheduled an initial evaluation with his pediatrician for tomorrow. We've sent a functional assessment checklist to his teacher to fill out so we can take that with us tomorrow as well. And, to the surprise of absolutely no one who knows me, I spent the weekend researching and reading everything I can get my hands on about parenting, teaching and ADHD. We are increasing the protein in his breakfast. I've researched the legal rights of children with ADHD. I wrote my first letter requesting accommodation for my child last night and sent it to school this morning. We roleplayed with him what to say when he gets frustrated, and how to ask for help, rather than hitting.

And today he kept two of his tickets. Whether it was a fluke or because of the work we did with him, it felt like someone saying, "You can do this. And so can he."

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

This is not a Valentine's Day post

Twelve years ago, I had no idea that when I sat at my sister's computer, inputting a handful of search terms into a website that has long since disappeared into the ether, that I was going to change my life forever.

But then I hit enter, and within a few seconds up popped a list of matches, and there he was, at the very top, as if the internet gods had conspired together over cables and pixels to say, "You don't need to search any further. We have the sum of all knowledge here in the folds of our servers, and we know, and soon, you will know."

And within two months - two months of emails and messages and phone calls that stretched for hours put passed in seconds - I knew.

I knew that I was in love.

I had no idea what that meant, though I thought at the time that I knew fully and completely what it was to love. But in those twelve(!) years, I have loved more and deeper and with a painful awareness of failure and loss that ultimately - if you can outlast it - strengthens what it tears at and creates something new and old and wonderful and terrifying in its significance.

He told me on that first date, a little over two months after that impulsive search, "I'm not a patient man. I'm going to kiss you now." And he did. And part of me knew in that instant that my life was different now. Part of me - the part that makes lists and had been accepted to law school and believed in organization and planning - would hold out for almost another week before it too saw what the beautifully irrational part of me that lived on fairy tales and iridescent dreams had already realized. I was in love with this man.

And so a few months later we married. Technically it was on our fifth date, but we spent every night on the phone together. I changed my parents' long distance plan to save me money. We tried to limit it to an hour a night, but it was impossible. One hour became two, and sometimes three, and to the chagrin of both sets of parents occasionally four.

And now, we spend each night together. He is my protector - some times from others, some times from myself - and my best friend. And he hasn't gotten any better at being patient. He still has to kiss me, and I see in his eyes today a greater fulness of what I thought was complete twelve years ago. He loves me beyond any correlation to my worthiness or deserving. He loves me. Me. Flawed and fragile me.

Somehow, he thinks he is the lucky one in this relationship. I'm not sure how someone so smart can make such a basic error of logic. I am the one that has the luck in this relationship. I won the jackpot in the online dating lottery, and it's still paying dividends.

I love you, GeekBoy. Thank you for loving me.

Sunday, February 12, 2012

That's what you get for going to the bathroom in the middle of the night

Apparently on my way back to bed this morning at 4:00am, I tripped, fell over, landed on GeekBoy, told him he was a campfire, and made him go get some water. Then, while I was drinking the water, I rambled on about My Little Ponies, whether or not you could make french toast with cinnamon rolls, and a conspiracy by the business community to strip my high school basketball team of all of its championships.

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Seven for Saturday: February 11, 2012

1. I asked to be released from doing a visiting teaching route and to be put in charge of writing letters to people who have asked for that to be their only contact. Being proactive in taking charge of my health and recognizing my limits is a big step for me.

2. We found one of the vitamins that I am prescribed in glass bottles rather than plastic. Also, the bottles are full rather than mostly empty. Yay for reduced waste.

3. Donut holes for breakfast. Yum.

4. GeekBoy is currently massaging my feet. This is not an unusual occurrence.

5. Cooper is in a phase where he only wants to watch the fourth episode of his favorite TV shows.

6. I have been falling in love with the poetry of Mary Oliver. I keep telling myself to slow down and portion out how many I read at one sitting, but it is so difficult.

7. My political ecology class is traumatizing my students. I've had one give up meat already.

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Moments worth remembering...or not

Stepped barefoot in barf last night. That's a true badge of motherhood.

Was teaching Rousseau's The Social Contract today. I'm working the students through the part where Rousseau argues for the need to overthrow existing corrupt, master-slaved dominated, enslaving society to move towards liberated man in a free society. I was exclaiming rather loudly, "We have to overthrow the government," when I realized my classroom door was open, so I asked a student to shut it. A few seconds later a student from out in the hall re-opened the door. He apologized and said, "We're rather enjoying the lecture and want to see where you're going with it."

We also now have a class pencil named Steve. Don't ask.

I ordered 35 perennials to put in the flower bed that we planted 400+ bulbs in last fall. I have really high hopes that this is going to end up being beautiful. Also, it was snowing while I was ordering plants. Flower catalogs are gardener porn.

Cooper lied to me for the first time. He told me GeekBoy had told him he could do something when I had heard GeekBoy tell him the exact opposite.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Sick. Again. Boo.

I used to get strep infections about every other month. Super painful wouldn't respond to normal anti-biotics strep infections. My doctor finally told me that I needed to get my tonsils out or I was just going to keep getting them.

Sunday night my throat started hurting. That's usually the sign that I'm going to get a cold in the next 24 hours or so. This morning my throat was still hurting and it was getting worse. I went to the local drop-in health clinic to see if I had managed to get a strep infection regardless of my tonsilless status.

It turns out I do not have strep, but I am running a fever and have some sort of probably viral infection. The doctor doesn't know what it is, but he gave me a scrip for antibiotics and said if it doesn't clear up in the next few days, fill the prescription.

I want to know why we have the technology to make an invisibility cloak/Romulan cloaking device (choose your flavor of geek) but still can't identify what is living in my throat.

Powered by Blogger.