Monday, August 27, 2012

Random Munching

Here's a question. Why is it that every year there are hurricanes in Florida and every year the news here shows desperate homeowners filling sandbags? Can you not save your sandbags from the last 97 hurricanes and use them again? It's not unlikely to happen, in fact you can be pretty sure it will. Personally I think I would use decoratively colored sandbags and make them part of my landscaping. Also, I think every house in Florida should have wheels. Miami mansions included. Drive that sucka on out.

I make grandmas cry. Apparently with just a wave of the hand or a tilt of the head. My mother is freaking out that we put Teena on Concerta. She is with the Scientologists (I'll be expecting the 3am visit, lol) on the whole issue (even though she is Catholic), and she cried at the horror of the choice I made. The Husbands mother got pissed off with me over a non existent slight and took it out on the girls with some nasty comments. I called her out on those  comments and she had to repeat them for her son and husband to hear. Then, she cried.

Genea is rockin' it this summer. I was able to find and schedule her for schools and camps and such for most of the school break. Having a routine has made an enormous difference. Yet, I find myself feeling guilty. Like, she is a messed up kid who needs help and I should be helping her, not sending her away. Also the relief from her chaos is lovely and I cannot pretend otherwise. Of course she is having fun and enjoying it and it is helping her immensely. My mom saw her launch a level 2 tantrum this weekend (scale 1-10) and said to me.... "do you drink? Or do drugs?" ha ha. NO, I don't, because I need every brain cell on full alert. I can't let some of them relax!

Now we are in that last week before school starts and all the kids programs are over. Sweet mother of xanax.

Am I the only one who had an epic WTF moment watching the opening of the Olympics? Maybe since England has a much longer history than America they needed to take longer. Or something. I really liked China's opening. Having said that, I'm sorry y'all, so very sorry, but the Olympics are boring. Watching paint dry boring. Pluck your leg hairs by hand boring. Sheesh. They took America's Got Talent off the air to show it all and now that it's back I'm lost. I really like the opera singer with the crazytown eyes, I hope he wins.

If school doesn't start soon I'm going to call up the Vatican and request an exorcism.

I got older.

Genea's psychologist was pregnant. She planned to have the baby early July and take 6 weeks off to be back mid August. She wound up getting assigned bed rest in late May, cancelling all of our June sessions. I took it upon myself to carefully schedule a shit load of appointments around her estimated return. A few weeks ago I got a call saying she would not be back until September. Oh, and her first available appointment would be September 17. Now I'm all for attachment, for the love of cabbage I am ALL FOR attaching with your baby and all that business but come on!  Strap that baby on and hie thee to your office! I seriously hope it's all great with her baby and nothing went wrong, on the other hand had I known it would be a 4 month break I would have sought help in the middle.

I've noticed several new people have wandered in lately. HELLO NEW PEOPLE! I'm happy to have you!!!

The Mother In Law is on her way tomorrow for a visit. A week long visit. Right. Yes, for those of you on facebook, we were just out in New Mexico to see them in July. No, it doesn't make sense so don't bother looking for the logic. Just listen for my screams. Or hers.

Our cat got out overnight and in the morning we found huge tufts of hair on the ground. We were devastated, and planned how we would tell the kids and such, assuming he had been attacked by another animal and killed. We (I) found him that afternoon hiding in the yard, not responding to us, lethargic and hungry but unharmed.

That's about it.

Except for some totally unrelated cuteness I am sneaking in here simply because I want to.

Genea wanted a short hair cut and so they cut a LOT of hair. People in the salon were passing her chair and pointing at the 3 inch pile of hair on the ground.

Went to Green Meadows, a sort of petting farm, with my mom, sister and her 4 kids. Teena in the kitty pen, finally trapped one. I LOVE kitties! I would have 100 if I could afford a professional litterbox cleaner (as well as a "next to the litterbox" cleaner. sigh. )!

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Evaluating, testing, examining, analyzing

When we last left this issue, Genea's school had agreed to test her learning abilities to potentially put her on an IEP. For us, the IEP was not going to rock our world, just allow for a few little extras that would help keep Genea's mental health needs from mucking up her academics.

So they tested her.
Simultaneously, she was being evaluated by a psychologist referred to us by her pediatrician. The guy who after sitting with us for 20 minutes suggested putting together a team of professionals for her.

Between the 2 entities, Genea has been tested and evaluated for every possible thing. The school gave her speech and language evaluations, physical therapy evaluation, occupational therapy evaluations, reading, writing, listening, breathing. She met with the school social worker, nurse, psychologist, special education teacher,  and surely I am forgetting some. Oh, me! They all talked to me a lot for background and academic history.

The clinic exams took about 6 weeks. The psychologist spent 2-3 hours with her over several appointments and myself and her school teacher filled out evaluations up the wazoo. We got a new psychiatrist and met with him a few times.

Here is what they found about her learning abilities: Genea is stone cold normal. Average. Regular. Nary a learning disability for miles. Not even an obscure one, like non-verbal learning disorder, or speech apraxia. Zip. Indeed, she tested slightly better than she is performing in school these days. Gotcha.

Honestly I was sort of secretly hoping for one of those nifty labels I could point to and say..... "here, this is why she (fill in the blank)". I got nothing. A learning disability is taken seriously. A mass of mental health diagnosis however, can easily be misinterpreted as "just look at that sucky mom". In that regard, we got a boatload.

After filling out the evaluations and pulling apart the middle to figure out the scores myself (oops! the pages fell apart!) I see that Genea scores well over the cut off for "severe". There were several categories of like, mild, moderate and holy-what- the- fuck and Genea scored at the top end of the latter. Officially known as 1. Reactive Attachment Disorder 2. ADHD 3. Mood Disorder NOS 4. Anxiety Disorder NOS. Also meeting the criteria for Intermittent Explosive Disorder and Oppositional Defiant Disorder but by that time, seriously, the psychologist said this, it hardly matters. Right, I hear ya' dude.

At school then, she met almost no criteria for an IEP except for the ADHD. Every single person who met with her commented elaborately on it, and 9 professionals sat in on our meeting. Ultimately, she qualified based on that finding. For which I was not going to sit there and argue that it is much more likely hypervigilance than attention deficit when the fact is, she cannot focus regardless of label. Whatev.

The occupational therapist was the only one who had a significant finding. She tested Genea's handedness, coordination, gross and fine motor skills etc. She can use scissors brilliantly and trace a line with precision rarely seen, crosses her midline like a superstar. However, when it came to using both hands at once the OT said, it was as if the 2 sides of her body had never met. Not only could she not catch a ball, she could not aim her hands to meet together to do it. Now, that was interesting. We're going to work on that!

When I met with the clinic psychologist to get all of his results, I asked him a question. Genea has Reactive Attachment Disorder, what can we do about that?

His answer went like this, "well, of course you should coordinate with the schools and maintain consistency and integrate a routine and involve the services of ...... oh forget it. There is really just about nothing. There is no specific treatment or therapy that is shown to work. There are a few things you can do that will help, you are already doing them, and maybe try some EMDR, there are early studies showing that helps with kids like Genea".

I tell people that and they gasp, heads ricochet backwards, and they are pissed off for me that I would have to hear something like that. For the love of xanax, I was grateful. To hear the truth. Thankful, I was so thankful to know, I really am doing everything I can. I'm not missing something or hurting her with my ignorance of available treatment. I didn't skip over some crucial element that would have changed everything.

(EMDR is technically Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing. The idea is that trauma is stored in the brain in a reactionary sort of way. Using tapping (HI LISA) sort of things, the person walks back through a difficult time while using bilateral stimulation in some way to move the memory or feeling into a more logical region of the brain to create a new insight. Probably if you are interested you should look it up yourself because my explanation here sucks).

So now we have our IEP, a new psychiatrist and a new psycho- therapist who does EMDR. There has been some forward movement though many areas still stagnate. I remind myself, progress for Genea is measured not in weeks or months, but in years.

Incidentally, the clinic evaluations were all sparked off when I asked our pediatrician to evaluate Teena for ADHD. She wanted to refer us to a psychologist for testing and I balked. Ugh, there is a 3-6 month wait, I knew for a fact. Aha, she tells me, she happens to be sleeping with (my words lol) the best evaluating psychologist available and feels sure she can get us in soon. A few days later her husband called us himself to say he would like to go to work on his upcoming day off to see us, can we make it? YEP!

Teena went through the same series of testing, over about 6 weeks, 2-3 hour evals at a time. The results show she has ADHD. In fact, she is in the 97th percentile of attention deficit. I was shocked it was that bad, I guess I've become acclimated a bit. If you go to your nearest bouncy house or Chuck E and pull out 100 random children, only 2 will have a harder time than Teena with focus. Wow.

Friday, March 9, 2012

Meds- The Invention of Satan

My mother feels strongly that psychiatric medication was invented by Satan himself to create an endless source of money for greedy bastards, off the "so called problems" of others. Therapy, that's what you need. Talk about your problems and they will go away. Woosh!

She is not alone. Lots of folks believe that the act of buying prescribed medication puts cash directly into the hands of terrorists. Particularly when it comes to medication for children, there are tons of people out there who believe that a good spanking and some structure will cure all emotional and behavioral disorders. There is the Holier Than Thou group that says "I would NEVER drug my child, I will LOVE my child". Then there is the You are a Lazy Parent group. Parents who put their children on meds just don't want to discipline. They want to watch Real Housewives of Idaho without having to get up to pour water on the fire the child just started in the carpet.

Here is what irritates me..... I am consistently hearing or reading statements like "everyone agrees medications are over-perscribed" or "we all know these meds are over used" etc, and where I find these statements are directly following a persons explanation of why they are using psych meds themselves or with their children. It has become the common disclaimer. "Well, I use them but I agree that too many people rely on them".



As much as I love and adore the Motherlode blog at the New York Times, I found similar comments in a blog post there. It seems every time an article is written about the over use of medication or the (pseudo) reasons they really don't work, the people who rush to defend the use feel compelled to say it. Meds saved my life but are given out too quickly.

Again, who exactly are those others?

Not you of course.

Clearly there are people out there who abuse medications. There are people who abuse cough syrup. There are people who abuse spray paint. There are people who abuse the dusting stuff in a can for your computer keyboard. There is the abomination of people who trick doctors into diagnosing their child with a mental or physical illness in order to obtain cash in the form of SSI. It happens. It is child abuse. Wherever there is a system to help people there will always be jackasses who take advantage in ugly ways. 

So for the people who believe that all doctors do is prescribe medication, I have this to say. That's their job. You go to a doctor for a problem, who has spent a thousand years getting that degree, and if there is a medication to help that problem, you will probably get a prescription to take home with you.

Here is the problem as I see it. You hired the wrong person to consult with.

If you are looking for a treatment for your child's symptoms of mental illness, see a therapist.

If you are looking for help with your child's behavior, see a Behavior Management professional.

If you are looking for information about the effects of food on your child, see a nutritionist.

If you want information on vitamin supplements for your child, go into any vitamin store and the staff will talk the ears right off your head.

If you want to know about alternatives such as acupuncture, find an acupuncturist!

If you think your child is over-medicated, tell the doctor NO. NO more meds, NO more of this med. NO thank you I don't want meds.

If you want to complain that too many children are diagnosed with a mental illness, behavior/emotional issues etc, I will absolutely agree with you. However, to attribute the issue to the doctor who identified the disorder is just pure jackassery. If you feel the need to complain about the rate of occurrence look around you.

What the hell is causing our children so many problems?

Did you know that fruit pesticides are known to cause ADHD? Did you know that those pesticides are in the bodies of over 90% of all children in this country? Of course if you take that child with ADHD symptoms to a psychiatrist you will probably get a script. If you take that child to a nutritionist you will likely get a recommendation to buy only organic fruit and use and Omega 3-6-9 supplement. If you take the child to a Behavior Specialist you will get a list of things to do such as keep a quiet, dimly lit area with minimal decor for your child to decompress when hyper.

100 years ago, children were not diagnosed with ADHD. 100 years ago, mothers did not have jet fuel show up in their breast milk. 100 years ago you could walk out to just about any body of water in this country and swim in it. You could fish in it and then eat the fish. Pink Slime was not yet invented.

I guess in previous generations people believed that doctors knew everything. In the year 2012, it has become so incredibly complex and multifaceted, no single person or profession is going to have expertise on all of it. Tremendous leaps happen every day in all domains of human biology. We have to stop expecting to be told. We also have to stop blaming the person we can see and start thinking about the gargantuan environmental mess we have made.

("YOU" refers to all the complainers, blamers, diminishers, people who do not take responsibility for their health care, or wait to be told what to do. "YOU" does not refer to the reader here) .

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

She LOVES me!

I was starting to feel depressed last fall about the responses I never got from Oprah. I spent a good number of years trying to get her attention. Nothing. Over and over and over I filled out little surveys and questionnaires, audience applications,  and wrote essays about myself, my love for Oprah and my love/need of a good makeover.

I stalked her website and took every opportunity for a "last minute" reservation ever listed. I got her magazine and tried to live my best life while simultaneously maintaining my pathetic self "as is". Make no mistake, that sort of thing is tricky. Fortunately I am not all that ambitious and watching reality TV while on the couch sort of covered it.

I entered sweepstakes, contests and whatever the hell else I could find. I bugged my friends and family to think of who they might know that could help (useless).

Alas, Oprah did hear me not.

Truthfully, I was getting a bit annoyed. How many times did I need to type out my crappy life story? How pitiful does a person need to be? I mean, as far as shit that sucks, I got it going on! Pa. Thet. Ic!!!

Not only did Oprah hear me not, she never answered me either. Then, her show ended and with it all my dreams of a best life.

I wondered if I had gotten myself on some sort of shit- list.  

BUT WAIT, Oprah is so magical and awesome and omniscient, she started her OWN TV channel! Wow, talk about living the dream.  Alas, The Mighty Dish Network of Asshats appear to decide on a daily basis whether our household will have access to OWN, or not. Sometimes it's there, mostly there is a big ugly hole staring at me from where Ope should be. Of course I could take money out of my daughters college funds and upgrade our satellite package but that just doesn't seem like a responsible- adult thing to do. I don't think Ope would approve. I have no problem selling some of my husbands ugly crap to raise money but he is starting to catch on. Besides, do you know how much ugly crap goes for these days? The recession has even destroyed the market for ugly crap! Al Gore surely had some hand in that, just ask my Dad.

Shortly after the death of The Oprah Show, I got no less than 2 emails from excited readers pointing me to her website where she was starting some sort of on line Be The Best You kind of thing. She would gather all the people she thinks are awesome, and have them talk at you for like, 16 hours. Mostly her guest choices were not  people I thought of as the coolest, but obviously I was wrong because Oprah said so. Whatever. You had to sign up all official like to view this show and the first million signer uppers would get a FREE journal straight from the hands of Ope!

I applied.


I was supposed to receive my happiness journal in 6-8 weeks. Which, of course, went by with another 3-4 weeks of nothing happening as well. Now I'm starting to get angry. It just so happened that I was online, on her website when that journal giveaway hit. I SAW IT COME ON. So I KNOW without a doubt that I was one of the first few people to request that journal. Leaving like 999,997 for other people. It never came.

I did some thinking. Exactly how obnoxious does Oprah think I am? Could I have made Oprah so irritated that she personally watched the applications come in so she could strike me from the list? Time for some introspection. I don't especially care for introspection, it gets boring in there.  Nope, gotta' say, I genuinely don't think I ever crossed the line from fan to super scary stalker. Really!

Until one day, magic happened. I pried open my dented victim- of- mailbox- baseball mail box to find a package from Oprah. 


It was a stellar day, because I also received my free sample of Keurig coffee pods. I tell you, I love that little machine but feel like I ought to at least be getting my laundry done for what those pods cost.

*cue virtuous angels caroling from nigh or something*


 (note the gross vile carpet from the 80's as evidence I am not living my best possible life) (too bad there is not smell-o- internets for you)

Here are some very helpful hints from inside the front cover:

Sadly, as I mentioned, my access to OWN is sketchy. But I WOULD watch it, even all the Dr. Phil reruns!

If you are wondering, no, I have not written anything in it. I have not yet discovered anything important enough to memorialize in my Oprah's Lifeclass journal. Certainly I won't be putting my grocery list in it. Maybe I should note my favorite deodorant though, since I bought the wrong kind 4 consecutive times now.

Since Ope only interviews Super Highly Important Untouchable Slightly Boring People now, I am officially giving up. Leaving me with no one to stalk. I can't stalk Ellen, though I'm sure she is a delightful person, her show makes my brain burn. Maybe Dr Phil or Rosie, I have always liked them both. Although that Lisa Ling seems lovely, I would probably get on her nerves fast. I won't mention any other talk show hosts who I might find creepy or too happy on the network.

Okay then, Dr Phil? Or Rosie?

Dr Phil has the advantage that I can actually WATCH his show but Rosie seems more likely to want to give some pitiful midwestern Mom a makeover.

What to do.


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