Friday, September 27, 2013

*Beep* This!

My house alarm has a light that won't go off.  This light indicates a low battery.  The low battery signals the alarm to let ME know that it is low in battery and needs replacement.  This indicator sounds like a smoke detector alert--beep beep beep beep.  On top of that, the alarm company keeps getting alerts from my system saying there's a problem, so they keep calling me with a recording telling me about the problem.  Phone calls every half hour, beeping every thirty seconds. 
Finally, the alarm company comes out to fix it.  Only for it to start beeping again.  The alarm company comes back out again to fix it.  This time, it sounds like the alarm tech is calling someone in China from a loud touch-tone phone--beep beep beep beep boop boop beep beep  boop beep...he's in my living room at the entry of my home beeping and booping, and that went on for three hours straight until he finally realized the outlet the alarm was using didn't have a constant charge and was thus triggering the alert.  If that had been my only problem--but let's..
Add to that, my oldest son makes a comment about a boy at school who's kind of a jerk.  He even did a foot plant off my son's back.  My son is new to his school, in for about a week since we transferred him there, and I'm a little ticked that some punk is messing with my baby.  I'm agitated now, wanting to save my son from Lumpy and wanting to pant-chuck the alarm guy out my front door (I know it's not his fault, he's trying to help, but beeeeeeeeep!!!)
Add to my functional skills program I have just been told I'm getting a new student.  He's a teenage boy who's been suspended twenty (20) times for hitting a teacher.  Hoo-RAY...I feel for the parents, I really really do, but C-R-A-P...crap.  The unknown of what is to be my fate begins to fill me with dread.  I want to quit my job, karate chop Lumpy, and punch the alarm system flat...
Add to that my younger son.  He has five hundred pages of math that he doesn't understand.  I can't teach him math.  He's an artist, I'm an analyzer...we don't mix well learning together.  It's obvious to me what to do, it's like reading Chinese for him.  I want to tear the math book with my teeth, quit my job, do a clothes line on Lumpy, and let the robbers come take what they want from my house.
Add to that--I'm standing in my kitchen looking for dinner, trying to tune out beep boop boop beep just feet from me, my sons in crises of their own, and they both look up and say, "Mom, why is there a crack in our ceiling?"  I look up to find a pressure crack coming towards my face above my head.  I'm looking at the bottom of my bathroom from upstairs, the exact place where my tub and shower are.  I get on a chair to touch it, see what it does.  Crumble into my hand, so now I have a 3-4" hold in my ceiling.  Terrific.   I get online to my home owner's insurance.  I call in to make a claim.  In the meantime I wondering who's life should I risk to empty the dishwasher because that is exactly where the bathroom will drop if it so chooses. 
My stomach is churning...beep beep beep...Kindsay comes in, "Mom!  Why is the ceiling cracking?  Is it going to break?  What is for dinner?  What are you making?"  I feel defeated so I tell her she can make dinner.  "I don't know how.  You know how, you make it."  I will tell you what to do, I calmly tell her.   Having seen this girl in action, I know what she is capable of.  The box of mashed potatoes she made at midnight one night and left untouched, the frozen lasagnas she bakes when I tell her I don't have dinner planned, the millions of boxes of mac n cheese she's cooked...and on and on.  I give her step by step for making shepherd's pie.  She cooks the meat, the mashed potatoes, stirs, sprinkles, mixes, fills the pan, oven on...then as she is setting the pan in the oven she moves her hand up too high and burns it on the top burner.  And of course, it's my fault.  "Mom!  Look what you made me do!  If you had just cooked dinner I would not have burnt myself!"  I grab cold water, flour, you name it to get some relief to her.  The burn is white on her skin.  Instead of dipping it in cold water or flour, she starts peeling the burned skin back and exposing the raw skin.  Now she's really in pain and letting the world know.  Beep beep boop boop all along. 
Between the hole in my ceiling, my boys' personal crises, the singed skin...If I hear "Mom" again, I'm changing my name.  Then my oldest calls--
MOM...I'm coming home!  I'm done!...sobbing in my ear.  At that moment my husband comes home to find Wife of the Year with all the fun to myself for the last two hours--"Waaaaaa!  Mom burned my hand!"  "Dad! Dad!  Look at the hole Mom put in the ceiling!"  "How come I have all this homework and no one else does! Not fair!"  Beep beeeeeeep beeeeeeeeeeeeeep.
I sit in my lounger, blank expression.  Daughter packing her car to come home, daughter peeling her burned skin, son with friend I need to beat up, other son with inability to do math and pass...I'm imagining the relief I may get if my new student just punches me out clean.  My husband assesses the status of the house, and after five minutes--"Wow, that beeping is annoying.  I'm ready for that to end."  He didn't earn the darts coming out of my eyes, but he got them. 
If only I used curse words.  I'd have my own censor to bleep out my words...until 6:00 P.M. that is, when three hours later the alarm guy finally just unplugged the dang system and left. 

Monday, April 15, 2013

Dr. Obvious

So, my next appointment with our new psychiatrist was only two weeks after the first, since we're changing meds.  She feels that the meds Kindsay's been on since she was 5 or 6 are the culprits of her emotionally disturbed levels of anxiety.  Week by week she has been decreasing, with hopes that Kindsay will forever be changed and ready to face the world.  How's this working for you doctor?  I had to pick her up from school last week because she was threatening to "kill" herself if she had to go to the special education dance at another high school with her class.  She'd never really kill herself, but her threats are still coming, her anxiety is still through the roof, and she is getting more and more difficult with getting her to leave the house at all.

The doctor is bent on fixing this kid.  I'm all for trying, heck, but let's face it...I've been raising this kid for what....16 plus years?  I think I know her well enough to be able to move on to higher levels of treatment, whatever they may be.  At least, higher than the doc was aiming for.

To show her how very nervous Kindsay is, I tell her that Kindsay will go to lengths of nervousness by biting her toe nails.  She pulls her leg up to her mouth and chews.  She gnaws, better yet.  The doctor looks over at Kindsay.
Doctor:  Kindsay, if you need to cut your toenails, just get some clippers.
Kindsay: (nodding)
Me:  What?  We have LOTS of clippers.
D:  Do you know what you are putting in your mouth?  It isn't safe to chew on your toenails.
***Please be using a heavy Indian accent so you can feel the depth of the cultural chasm**
Me:  I don't think Kindsay is worried about what germs she is putting in her mouth.
D: (ignoring me)  Kindsay, you really need to use clippers, on your nails and toenails.
Me:  (grabbing Kindsay's hand and putting it close to the doctor's eyeballs)  See this?  See how her nails are chewed to the skin?  When she runs out of nails, she puts her foot in her mouth and starts on those.  This isn't a hygiene issue, it's a nervous issue.  We HAVE clippers.  And you should see what she puts in her mouth.  Germs from the ground are the least of her worries, in fact, they are cleaner than all the bodily stuff she picks at and sticks in her mouth.
....okay, so I was a little frustrated, and I held my tone together so as to keep the frustration in check...
Moving on, the doctor makes a couple of notes...
Then I tell her Kindsay never wears clothing either.  She walks around our house in her underwear with her queen-sized comforter over her head like a big green ghost. 
D:  Kindsay, you must wear clothing.  (Looking at me)  You must insist she wear clothing.
D:  Kindsay, it isn't polite to walk around in your underwear.
Me:  (now why didn't I think of telling her to get dressed?  that's so simple..der)
K:  (nodding furiously now and getting more nervous by the second)
Me:  Kindsay doesn't care who sees her, she walks around in front of any one like that, except perfect strangers, but even then she doesn't rush to dress.
D:  Kindsay, you cannot walk around...(yes, she did go through the do's and don'ts of walking around in front of strangers)  Why don't you give her some rewards for putting on her clothes?
Me:  (now why didn't I think of using rewards???)
D:  Kindsay, maybe your mom and dad should give you a reward for wearing clothes.  and if you don't, maybe they should take something away.
Me:  (Now this is what I get for starting parenting yesterday.)  We actually do use incentives for good behavior.  She just doesn't care after a while.  She's more interested in living how she wants, rules don't apply to her in her mind.
--Kindsay is looking at her phone and giggling.
D:  Kindsay, what is funny?  Is something funny?
M:  When Kindsay is unmedicated, she begins to think everything is funny.  It's like when a person is high on something they get this paranoid laugh, and it really stems from nothing except the nerves. 
D:  Well, clearly something is funny on her phone.  She is laughing.
--I'm looking at her phone.  I see her icons sitting neatly on her wallpaper.  Kindsay is just looking at her phone and the giggles are getting worses. 
M:  No, there's nothing on her phone that is funny.
D:  She thinks it is funny.
--I take her phone and show the doctor, again inches from her eyeballs.
M:  See?  There's nothing.
Kindsay then looks up at the clock on the wall, an ordinary school clock, and she starts giggling more and more.
D:  Kindsay, what is so funny about the clock?
Me:  Nothing is funny, she isn't laughing with humor.  This is what she does when her meds wear off, it turns to mania after a while. 
--The doctor is so perplexed.  How can her mother know her so well?  How can she know what Kindsay is doing and why?  Heaven knows how I know my own child.  If clippers and a pack of stickers was all I needed to get this kid to behave like a normal person, I would've wiped Walgreens out a long time ago.
Finally, I'm frustrated and I let her know.
M:  I don't usually bring this up, but I think it might help for you to know that I have been trained to work with kids with behavior issues.  I teach children with special needs for a living.  This isn't my first day on the job.  I'm trying to tell you that her behaviors aren't triggered by anything externally.  This is something on the inside.  This is why she struggles with sleeping, this is why she eats around the clock, this is why she won't leave the house, this is why she chews her nails clean off and digs into her skin.  We Need Meds.
D: (writing the prescription at last) Okay, Kindsay, we are going to lower your Concerta and I want to see you in 3 weeks.
--Ah, lower, great...sounds like the obvious answer.  LOWER the meds, duh.  I mean, we're on the verge of medical breakthroughs here, there's nothing to see but typical teenager and crazy mom.  Lower her meds, but increase mine...isn't that what we REALLY need to do? 
Our next appointment is Thursday night.  Can't wait.  I wonder if she'll tell me that if I just fix dinner, she won't get into the fridge at night.  If I wash her clothes, she'll wear them.  If I put her in the car, she'll leave the house.  Easy breezy!!
Problem solved.

Sunday, March 10, 2013

Yes, I'm still alive

Why I thought I had posted recently just shows you that I'm either on drugs or not on the right ones.  It's been a hectic winter, a cold one, thank goodness, but crazy.  Kindsay has been her usual self--calling me a child abuser because I want her to stay off of Facebook, passing her gas and telling us how much she loves to smell it, and eating us out of our house.  I told her pediatrician that something has to change.  She's not sleeping at all at night...up and down the stairs, cupboards banging, microwave beeping all night.  But because of her challenges, he said he wanted us to find a psychiatrist.  Problem is this--she's at full height and weight where she will be when she hits eighteen, but alas...she is only there are only a handful of doctors willing to prescribe mood-altering/behavior-modifying medicine.  I've seen them all too.  One stopped taking my insurance, another was so arrogant that I decided I'd rather deal with an unmedicated Kindsay than see him again, another quit the clinic and disappeared, another is so backed up with patients that he doesn't accept any.  Stuck.  I called the mental health people for my insurance and they told me they'd get back when they found one they would pay for.  Usually I'd get a call in 24 hours, but this time it was a week.  It was to a woman, an Indian woman, who was so new to private practice that the office she works in has no physical or visible indication that she exists....which made it a blast to find her when it was time for our first evening appointment. 
I've been around psychiatrists enough to know the ones who have to prove their ever-exceeding knowledge to me versus the ones that just want to write the dang prescription and collect their $125 versus the ones who really want to treat the symptoms.  This doctor is all of them, which makes her a collection of good and bad practice.  At this point, I'm so happy to have a psychiatrist that I ignore many of the warning signs that say--this is just going to jack you up somehow--and make appointments with her.  She really wants to get to know Kindsay.  Now...keep this in mind...Kindsay had been without a nighttime pill for a few months.  The old one made her dizzy and had her screaching down the hall at bedtime, "I'm having a heart attack!"  Good enough sign to flush those.  So over and over Kindsay is hounding me..."when am I going to get new nighttime pills?"  "when do I get new pills?'  "when will I get something for bed?"....always I say---when I find a doctor...when I find a doctor...when I find a doctor...boop beep...repeat.  Finally, I have a doctor so I tell Kindsay--we will be able to get you some new pills so you can stop this incessant wandering around at night eating yourself sick.  Kindsay jumped up to dress and leave for this appointment...only other time she'd jump up and get dressed to leave is if I promise her a bean burrito from Taco Bell, drive-thru only so she doesn't have to be around people, and singles. 
We finally find this unmarked building in the dark after I crept around a parking lot that I knew to be the correct one, just finding the actual office was not I looked like a stalker driving in circles, peering into windows, watching people carefully as they exited a building.  It was quickly getting dark so I sat in the car in front of the office I thought just had to be the one.  No reception, a light, but locked door.  A call comes through to my cell--Uh, is this Kindsay?  I am waiting for you to come to your appointment.  (please, without taking offense, read her words using a strong Indian accent so you understand the cultural and verbal miscommunications that are frequently occuring with this doctor.)  I told her I was sitting in a dark, empty parking lot without any clue as to where she was located.  She comes out of the very door I assumed was it and said, "it is here, I am here."  OK...the locked door really threw me off, and the closed reception window was a bummer too, but how could I have not known she was in her office waiting for me all this time? 
Our first visit was frustrating.  She wanted to get to know Kindsay, so all her questions were aimed at Kindsay.  Kindsay wanted to shrink into the floor.  She was nervous, unsure, looking at me constantly for help...all the while the doctor would say, "Don't look at your mom or I will have to have her leave.  I want to see what you know, I want to hear your answers." *use accent please.   Kindsay wasn't answering, however, but repeating what she was saying.  It was like the doctor was leading her and getting the answers she wanted to hear because Kindsay was agreeing with everything.  Kindsay just wanted to get her pills and get the bleep out of there. 
Doctor:  What time do you go to bed at night?
Kindsay:  Um...8 or 10
D:  Which is it, 8 or 10?  8?
K:  Yeah, 8.
D:  When do you get up at night to eat?
K:  uummm...10 or 11 or 12
D:  Which is it?  10?
K:  Yeah 10.  (at this point she is sounding and acting like every other teenage girl--aloof, bored, normal...of course the rash goes away when the child is placed in front of the doctor.)
D:  Why are you eating at 10?
K:  Ummmm, I'm hungry.
D:  What time do you eat after you  get home from school?
K:  Uummm I eat dinner at 5.
D:  And do you eat anything else before you go to bed?
K:  uummm..(chewing her hands mind you and not looking up), no.
D:  So you eat dinner at 5 and then get up at 10 for a snack?  (She's thinking, well, crazy is she?  Should I prescribe the strong stuff now or work our way up to it?  Are you just completely unable to control a 10:00 PM snack that you need a doctor??)
K:   ummm, yeah.
D:  So maybe you just need a snack, huh?
K:  yeah.
Me:  (I am now done with Kindsay appearing to be the poster girl for every American teen.)  Okay, so do you want to hear the real answers to those questions?
D:  (looking at me with a smile but not a happy smile...more like an inconvenienced smile.)  Yes of course.
Me:  She gets home at 3 PM and then she eats every hour after that until she is put to bed at 8, then I fall asleep at 9 and then she eats another 2-3 more until the crack of dawn comes and she comes into my room looking for Pop Tarts that her dad keeps on his nightstand so he can control when she gets those, which she is promised she gets one a day.  So, she eats all day and night, and doesn't ever get a good night's sleep.
D:  (Looking over at Kindsay now)  Do you need to take a pill to go to bed every night?
K:  um, maybe, yes, um, no, not every night, sometimes, maybe three or five nights.
D:  So you don't need one every night?
K:  no, no, no I don't.
(at this point I am dumbfounded...prescribe ME the pills lady and let's get this over with.)
Ultimately we leave with a new prescription for her daytime pills, a DECREASE from what she is normally taking, and NO nighttime pills.  I'm waiting for it..waiting....waiting...waiting...
WHERE ARE MY NIGHTTIME PILLS??  is the first question she has when we are driving to the pharmacy for her new dosage. 
Kindsay, I say, you told her you DIDN'T NEED THEM. 
I'm dumb, I don't know what to say, I don't know, why did I say that?  I need nighttime pills!  I have to get nighttime pills!  When am I getting nighttime pills? 
I'm clutching the steering wheel, which of course already has my hand indentations from previous white-knuckle drives with an irrational child sitting beside me, inches from my ear but volumes past hearing anything clearly.  The only thing that saved me was the appointment I made for our next visit...then, Kindsay, you will tell her what you need.  She won't listen to me, she wants to hear it from you, and you told her you didn't need them.  What are you going to say next time? 
K:  that I need nighttime pills.
YES...that you DO need help sleeping, EVERY night, not 3 or 5 or 4 or 2 times a week...EVERY night. 
So you think this visit was a disaster...wait until I tell you about the next one. This time I promise I won't be away for long.