High Friends in High Places

Woo Hoo! I’m IN!!

One hour in the pediatrician’s office proved to me that my YEARS of working as a pediatric nurse for this particular practice may have paid off in more ways than one.

Background: For fifteen years I worked in a large and growing Pediatric practice. This group specialized in well child care as well as sick child care. We had a little ER and were open each night until all the kids were taken care of. Night after night we’d work until 11:00 or later if we had to, making sure all the sickness and illness….stitches, breathing problems and poop issues were resolved.  This group of physicians also specializes in ADD/ADHD and other behavioral issues (above and beyond the norm for MDs).

My life as a nurse there was wonderful. Nights spent torturing kids with immunizations and breathing treatments. Inserting catheters, IVs, stitches, throat cultures and ear currettes. Giving out stickers, hugs, kisses and cookies. I spent weekends with a beeper on my belt answering calls from parents worried about their sick babies or out of control teenagers. I saw my own patients for Asthma/allergy teaching. Now…I’m being paid back.

One year, I left that office and went to work for a local non-profit outpatient facility called Philhaven. I worked for a wonderful physician treating kids in intensive group therapies if they weren’t able to mainstream into school. I dispensed meds and advice to children with ODD, ADD, ADHD, PDD-NOS, Autism, Asperger’s, aggression and anger. Then I went back to the relative calm of the crazy pediatric clinic/office/home.

Today I took my son to the pediatrician at the above mentioned “office.” I haven’t been on staff there for nearly four years. The doc. I saw was one I worked with many nights. We like each other and respect each other’s clinical skills. This was the man who diagnosed Colin with SID nearly 6 months ago. Since then, his recommendation to a neuropsych resulted in an Asperger’s diagnosis.

For an hour I sat talking with him. Colin was there and happily played with his Hotwheels cars making tracks and trails over doc’s pants, shoes, folders and computer. Doc complied, occupied and laughed with him. (love this man.)  He concurs with the AS diagnosis.

A few weeks ago, he asked me to call a specialist, who also happens to be the psychiatrist I worked with at Philhaven. Apprently this man has recently opened a Center for Autism and Behavioral Disabilities about five minutes from home. I called them (managed to drop that I’d worked for head physician in the past but that didn’t work) and was put on a waiting list. Next POSSIBLE appointment? August, 2010.

I want to go there. Colin NEEDS to go there. I need to go there to find out how best to parent this guy, but August??????  Really?!

So today, pedi doc says…”No meds unless the psych at Philhaven says so.  I don’t think we’ve got ADHD, but maybe, maybe some anti-anxiety meds will help with school.”

I say: “But I’ve got to wait until August, cause Psychiatrist (name omitted) has this waiting list. I was hoping that because he knew me and I worked with him, that someone would be impressed and I’d have an ‘in.’ ”

Him: “You have an IN with me, girl. This boy needs help now and so do you. I’ll call Mike today and you’ll have an appointment so fast!”

Yeah!!!

High friends in High Places.

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Extra Measure of Grace

Wow! Almost a week since I last posted something on this fine blog! I feel a little starved…like an addict looking for a fix. I have been reading blogs, just not writing anything. So, now I’ll probably spew out more than one post to make up for it.

That’s because…it’s been stimulation overload around here. Way too busy around here planning and prepping for Christmas, all the while trying to maintain order and control in a house ruled by disorder. Problem is, one of our children demands a constant, predictable routine and if he doesn’t get that…well…hell….

It started last week with Christmas anticipation. Everyone’s excited. Colin has no idea why he’s excited except that Christmas is coming (which means presents and “secrets”) and all the lights in people’s yards are really fascinating. There is not much structure to the Kindergarten day lately. Coupled with the fact that his teacher was off for two days and he had a substitute, well, that mean that the tailspin began last week on Monday!  If ONE, LITtle thing is out of sync, there is a literal Tailspin. Butt in the air…spinning in circles. Yep.

Here’s the order of things during the week:
1. Wake up at 7:00 a.m.
2. Eat breakfast.
3. Brush teeth.
4. Get dressed (and if you do it all by yourself, you get to mark your chart).
5. NOW you can watch cartoons.
6. 7:55 walk to the bus (but at least five minutes before that, you’ll have to struggle with your coat, hat, gloves, backpack and turning OFF the TV.)

Here’s the order of things on the weekend.
1. Wake up (but don’t get out of bed until someone comes to tell you it’s okay. If you’re awake before ‘someone’ then just kick your legs against the wall long enough and loud enough that they’ll hear you and come get you up.)
2. Whatever. Really. Whatever. If it’s Saturday or Sunday, you can do “whatever” until ‘someone’ is awake enough to feed you breakfast and then the weekday rules start.

Here’s the thing. We got some snow. About 13″ of snow on Saturday. Hence, we were stuck in the house Saturday and most of Sunday doing ‘nothing’. Well, we made cookies, decorated the tree, listened to Christmas music, played in the snow…whatever the mood dictated. So Colin had a very, very unstructured weekend. RED FLAG number ONE.

This morning…”Two Hour Delay with Modified Kindergarten!” Meaning, he won’t go to school at all. If he did, he’d get there about 15 minutes before I’d have to pick him up for a doctor appointment and he’d miss the rest. Easier to keep him home…maybe.

One hour of kicking, screaming, sobbing, rolling around and generally tantruming (is that a word?) because “It’s Monday! It’s Cycle Day 3! It’s school!!!”  He does this thing with any transition that doesn’t go his way. Then he ‘shakes it off’ by literally shaking his whole head around and announcing “I’m done now.”

We went on to the doctor’s appointment and on with our day, but what a morning!

When Colin was diagnosed with Asperger’s Syndrome, Andy and I had about an hour’s time to talk to the Neuropsychologist who worked with him. More than anything he said or recommended, I remember this part.

He said that Colin will always struggle. It’s our job to teach him how to cope. He will always behave differently, it’s our job to help him know what’s okay and what’s not.  It’s our job to discipline his misbehavior, but….BUT…he will always need “an extra measure of grace”.

That hit me hard. No professional psycho anyone had ever suggested that my child was human before now. But this man understood that Colin needed a little leeway…a little grace sometimes. Today was one of those times.

Yep. Yep. Yep.