Family

Update, Part 5. My son’s struggles with anxiety and depression.

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While in PHP (the partial hospitalization program) we would get a sheet home at the end of the day.  On it, they score E on his participation in each element of the program each day.  Sometimes he didn’t participate.  Other times he was crying or upset.  Sometimes he did a great job.  A typical 11 year old. I wrongly assumed that they were working on getting him to participate.  They were the experts right?

On one of the last days before discharge we were brought in for family therapy. To be honest there was not therapy.  It was just talking, a Q and A. They told us that discharge was happening in a week and we needed to make other arrangements. They then proceeded to list what we should be looking for.  I could only think “Why didn’t you tell us he would need more therapy when he first started.”  Programs for children his age are few and far between. When you find one to take him, the waiting list is usually weeks long.  What to do?

We (the school district and I) decided to start E back to school on a partial day.  We would then work up to a full day.  I did alert the school that he had not received a lot of therapy and coping skills.  I was hopeful that by the end of the school year in early June he could go to class for three hours.

The first day we got into the building and sat in the office for the third period.  I congratulated him. I asked him if maybe he could try five minutes of class the next day.  We got back to  school the next day and he made it to class for third hour.  The teacher said he did great.

I was so pleased.  I was sure that he would go again tomorrow. Tomorrow came and E was so nervous.  He didn’t want to go to school. I was able to get him there. We go inside and for twenty minutes we are in the main office.  I try to encourage him to go to class.  He has a meltdown. So we sat in the office with him clinging to me and whimpering.  We left early.  The day after he refused to go at all. I was able to convince him to let me drive him to the parking lot and we would sit in the car. So we did the care for 15 minutes.

The next day we increased our car in the parking lot time to 25 minutes, then so on.  When the next week came we started going into the building and sitting in the counseling office.  First for 5 minutes again and then the rest of the time in the car.  I also did the increase as this week went.

We also found time to sign E up for next year. He chose computer classes for his elective.   I am hoping he will be attend class. He has now been able to sit in the counseling center for the entire 3rd period.  He has been able to do it for 3 days in a row.  For the first 2 days, he had panic attacks at the end of the time.  He wanted to leave, but I wouldn’t let him.  He finally was able to get a hold of his anxiety. I am hoping if we can still go next week.

Next week, we are going to an intake meeting for a new day treatment program.  It should be a half day program in the Summer.  I’m not sure what good it will do.  It is with a different counseling center than what we have been dealing with. I hope it will be helpful.  I feel like he hasn’t gotten any help yet.  We were told by the PHP that this is a step down in care.  I’m not sure. He hasn’t had any care yet and I am concerned.  If they enroll him right away we will not be able to try to go to school again.

There isn’t much time left.  School is ending soon.  I had hoped to be further along in his recovery from  anxiety and depression. I just have to take it as it comes.  I would prefer things to be more planned.  I’m not able to plan too much as I have to rely on other people. (doctors/therapists)

I did send some flowers to E’s case manager/teacher.  She has been super helpful. I have always been amazed how accommodating the school has been.  It is a complete difference from my experience with his elementary school. I’m really grateful that they have been so accommodating.  The stress would have been so much greater than if they were not helpful.

I have also made the decision to break ties with E’s old therapist and have gotten him a new one.  I told my son the new therapist is closer to home. Which is true, but not the main reason.  We really have to see more concrete effort.  It has been months and he has gotten worse. I have high hopes for this new therapist. It will take E awhile to warm up to them.

I have also arranged tutoring for E this summer.  So he will be caught up academically by next year.  We also went back to see his old Psychiatrist.  The Psychiatrist said he would increase E’s medication slightly but he is concerned that he hasn’t made any progress.  So I told him about the new therapist and other things.  I also created a plan to help him for the summer.  I am hoping that it will help him overcome his anxiety and depression.  I am hoping he can make it next year.  I only have 3 months to help him.

There are so many things that I need to do in regards to E. I can only do so many things at once.  The big thing is to get him in control of his anxiety and depression.  After that is done I can address other things.

 

 

 

 

 

Self · Uncategorized

Some Things to Know About Migraines

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Migraines are a chronic condition that can last for years or for a lifetime.  Triggers can include: hormones, foods, drinks, stress and exercise. Other causes include environmental factors such as weather and a genetic predisposition.  Symptoms include throbbing in one area that can vary in intensity, nausea and sensitivity to light, sound and smell. Migraines are common in families and women.

Over 15% of the world’s population suffers from migraines.  The earliest mention of migraines in writing is in the Ebers papyrus in 1500 BCE.

There are four phases of migraines. Phase 1, called Prodromephase.  It is marked by mood changes, irritability, depression, fatigue, cravings, stiff muscles, constipation and/or diarrhea, and sensitivity to light and smell.

Phase 2 is called the Aura. It is where you can experience vision disturbance, pins and needles feelings, numbness, speech and language issues, the world spins, and weakness.

Phase 3 is the Pain Phase. It can last as long as 4-72 hours of pain for adults. You can have several migraines in a lifetime or several in a single week. Neck pain is common. Also during this time you can experience nausea (90% of suffers), vomiting (a third of people), sensitivity to a variety of things, irritability, fatigue, sweating, confusion, light head, and the world can spin.

Phase 4 is called Postdrome. The final phase, often in conjunction with menstruation, involves fatigue, muscle soreness, hunger, and stress.

According to the International Headache Society there are seven subcategories.

Category One, Migraine without aura.  It is the most common form of migraine.

Category Two is a migraine with aura.

Category three is Childhood Periodic Syndromes which includes vertigo, abdominal migraine, cyclical vomiting.

Four is Retinal Migraine has a hallmark of visual disturbances.

Category five is complications of migraine, including long or frequent migraines and can be associated with seizure or a brain lesion.

Category 6 is Probable migraine which has the characteristics of migraine but not enough to diagnose, common medication overuse.

Seven is Chronic Migraine.  Chronic Migraine is greater than 15+ days month for more than three months. Chronic migraines effect 1.5-2.2% of the population.

How do you prevent migraines?  It’s hard. A variety of things help to improve migraines such as medication, nutrition, lifestyle alterations, and surgery. It is best to check with your doctor to find out what approach is best for you.

 

Information taken from: Web MD, International Headache Society, and Wikipedia.

 

 

 

Self

Dealing with the Pain, Migraines and Me, Part 2

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This post is the second part to an earlier post dated May 3rd about my struggles with pain and migraines.

The next few days I went home and started my new medicine.  It would take several weeks according to my neurologist for the medicine to take effect.  I may also experience side effects. Unfortunately, they neglected to tell me the most important side effect.  Weight gain.  I went from a size 14 to a size 22. Ugh.  I also noticed that I would get dizzy real fast.  I have to be careful when I get up not to move so fast.

Finally, my body aches stopped. I was able to walk and get out of bed.  Eventually, the migraines eased to.  They went from coming everyday to only occurring about four days a month.  It was so much better.  When I did get them, the two medicines they gave me for migraine attacks would clear them in two to three hours.

It feels so strange to have such freedom now.  To be pain free for the most part has been wonderful.  It even makes the terrible weight gain worth it. I can watch tv.  I can read.  I can eat dinner with my family.  I can go to the grocery store.  So many little things were major things with pain.  I guess I have learned a valuable lesson.

You need to get second opinions all the time and keep looking for things to help you.

The only part that is not that great in terms of migraines is my insurance.  They don’t like the medicine the doctor prescribed for me.  They want me to  take a more common migraine medicine.  I have taken it before.  It didn’t help with the migraines and made me sick to my stomach.

I am only allowed four pills every seven days.  My copay is over $200.00 US for the four pills. A few weeks ago, I had horrible migraines.  I had to take pills each day for 4 days in a row.  I called on the 5th day to get a refill.  Unfortunately, I was denied.  I could only hope the migraine did not return the following day or later in the week.  I tried to call the insurance company to ask them to grant refills on a need basis.  They refused.  They told me to try the old medicine that made me sick to my stomach.  I told them that I could not use it.  They said it comes in a nasal spray and that won’t irritate my stomach. Honestly, what idiots.

No matter what I asked they would not budge. My doctor could not provide me with any help either.  He gave me some coupons etc but according to my pharmacy I cannot use them with my insurance.  Not the frustration I need.  I figure I am getting more migraines due to my son’s  issues.  They are not going to let up any time soon.  Meanwhile, I have decided that if it ever comes up that I have no refills and a migraine I will go to the emergency room.  Let insurance pay for that.

Have you ever had trouble with prescriptions? Insurance?  Let us know below.

 

Self · Uncategorized

A few words…

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I was clicking through Pinterest and came across this quote.  It was by a character on the television show “Grey’s Anatomy.”  To be honest, I’ve never seen the show.  I’ve never even had an interest in seeing the show but this quote really spoke to me.  I hope it speaks to you too.

There is this person

inside my head. She’s brilliant,

capable, she’s me.

Only so much better! And I’m afraid

I’ll never become that person.

-Meredith Gray, character on Grey’s Anatomy

 

Family

Some Quick Ways to Save Money.

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Money.  We all need it.  We all want it.  Yet, it seems to be depleted in record time.

I’m always looking for ways to save money.  A penny here, fifty cents there, maybe five dollars if I’m lucky.  My son says “Mom, what don’t you do one thing that saves $100. Then you don’t have to look for deals.”  True, large savings would be helpful.

I would love to have several things that I could simply do and save a ton of money. Who wouldn’t?  Life isn’t like that is it?  To save money you have to look at everything. You can save a few cents here, a few dollars there, get a discount or a BOGO and you are on your way. It’s the accumulation of actions, not the execution of one actions that brings results. So in my quest to hopefully save enough money, I am going to be writing a few blog articles on “Ways to Save.”  This way what I learn I can pass onto you.

Some of my solutions will be no brainers.  Some will be old advice.  As I get further and further into the topic I hope I will be able to present you with some unique advice or ideas to put into practice in your own life.

Below is my first post on some ways to save money.  This first one is pretty basic right? That’s my foundation.  Hopefully we can expand on this topic well into the year.  What are some ways you save money?  Let us know in the comments.

1. Keep a wish list.  I learned this when I had a kid.  It helps to prevent impulse buying.  Write it down and look at it later.  The desire to have it may be gone.

2. Keep a basic maintenance schedule. Servicing things like your car or air conditioner can help prolong its life.  Spotting problems and maintaining your things will help you save money.  As someone who had to replace a washer, air conditioner, and furnace due to previous owner neglect, maintenance is the way to go!

3. Invest those pennies!  Take a small amount and invest it.  While it isn’t saving money, it can help you make money. Money is what were after right?

4.Record Expenses. This is one simple method that is really effective.  I personally found this method to be the most revolutionary of all the ways you can save money. It will also help you set up a budget. If you do one thing on this list, this is it!

5. Barter.  Not a common way to save money, but it can be done. Can you trade one skill for another?  Can you mow you neighbors lawn and can they give you a free haircut in exchange?  Something to think about.

6. Insulate. Yup, getting rid of drafts in your home.  Keeping the heat in, or the cool air can save you lots.  Yes, there is a minor outlay of cash, but the end result will be worth it.

7. Used vs New. When I was younger I hated using used items. To me it was gross.  I was a bit germaphobic when I was young. What I came to realize is that used clothes and Ikea furniture is great when you are starting out.  You can save a lot more money in the long run.  I bought all new furniture when my husband and I got married.  Then we had our son.  He threw up on it, spilled stuff on it, you get the idea. Then we got a dog.  Well I’m sure you know how that goes.  Almost all our things were damaged by the time our son was 8. If I had used furniture or Ikea stuff it would have been much cheaper and easier to get rid of.

8. Corporate Discounts. Does your work, university alumni office or other organization offer discounts. Save on your gym membership or insurance.  Check with your HR department and see what they offer.

9. Lower Temperature.  This is my brother’s big tip. I’ll be honest.  For most of my life I’ve been freezing.  I like my temperature to be around 72 degrees Fahrenheit.  My brother prefers 67 degrees.  He does save on his electric bill.  He also does a payment plan to help space out evenly the bill.  It helps him not to have a large bill in the winter or a small one in summer.  It is evenly spaced out during the year (bills).

10. Air Dry your clothes. I didn’t know the savings would add up for this!  I read in a magazine a few years ago that using your dryer costs up to $16.98 a month to run.  That can add up too.

Do you have some tips to save money? Let me know below.

Family · Uncategorized

What’s going on, in May. Part 4.

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What is going on now.  Things are still stressful. I’m still physically and mentally exhausted. Honestly, I am so angry over the last two months.  I am really angry at the mental health clinic that has been treating my son in one form or another.  Where to start?

If you remember from my last update, we were trying to get E tutoring from the school district. We were able to secure tutoring for E after school. A teacher would come after school for an hour each day.   Fortunately, my son really liked his tutor.  They covered several pages in his math book.

As I also said in the last update post E was on the waiting list for the PHP he last attended.  While we were waiting I was able to get E twice weekly therapist appointments. We also started him on his third medication.  We are seeing a slight improvement in him.  I fear that his dose is too low.  Unfortunately, with children you cannot increase as fast as in adults.  It’s an extremely long road. I’m still exhausted and depressed myself.

After having the tutor over to our home for one week when I get a phone call.  It is the PHP (partial hospitalization program).  They have a spot for E.  He can start the following week.  Ugh.  Of course, when I got the tutor up and going he would get into the PHP.  I am hoping that he can get some coping skills this time. I am hoping he will talk about hurting himself less.

For the first couple of days back at PHP E is sad.  His friend Johnny would not be there and he missed her.  I can’t lose any more friends he would cry to me.  E has lost a large number of friends in his short life.  All of them have moved away.  I count about 6 or 7 friends  who moved.  E is very, painfully shy.  While he makes friends easily he also feels their loss deeply. My son is a nerd, polite, shy, self conscious, friendly and helpful.  Many kids have said so.  Even though in PHP there are different rules than outside.  You can’t be in contact with people from the group.  I’m sure it had to due with confidentiality and safety.  How do you explain that to an 11 year old?  I tried to tell him it was not about him or his friends.  This was the rules for everyone.  Even with that it caused him so much pain.

This time round he made another friend named S. S likes video games and anime like E does. She has also got him into drawing.  I have tried for years to get my son to do artistic things. It’s not his thing.  Until now.  I’m glad he loves drawing like I do. I know he missed S.  They are very much alike.  I’m sad that he has to deal with another loss.

In about four days after he started back at PHP I get a phone call from his social worker. “We think E is doing great.”  “He is not acting like he did before he went into lockdown. We think we may discharge him” she said.  Huh?  He hasn’t even been there a week.  He has anxiety through the roof, crying fits and talks about hurting himself.  To that they said “He isn’t doing that here.”  All I could think is of course he isn’t. He doesn’t want to go back to lockdown.  It’s one of his major fears.  He is terrified of being taken away from us again.

Here’s the kicker.  Our insurance doesn’t want him discharged!  Never had an insurance company want a person to have more treatment. The staff at the PHP is thinking that he should go to a special academy or day treatment program.  They told us to start investigating them.  We have no idea how to start. We do know of one academy. However, it’s over $30,000 a year.  Kiss retirement and college goodbye.  I also don’t think that pulling him out of school for a year to attend school at a day treatment program or special academy is the answer.  If anything it would cause him more harm. He could also lose many of his friends.

To be continued…

 

Family · Home · Self

What to Bring on a Flight.

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Air travel has become a common occurrence.  There are more of us spending entire days on airplanes as we travel from one state to another.  Even today, going from one country to another is becoming more and more common. As home on the road becomes the norm what is it you need to have in your bag to make the journey better? Check out my list and see what you need.

1. Decent Headphones.  I am partial to Beats myself.  I like the fact that they also block outside noise really well.

2. Small notebook and pen. I know a lot of people say you can keep notes on your I-Phone but there is something about writing things down for me.  I keep a small journal so that is my go to for all things written.

3. Sweater.  A lot of people say bring a scarf.  I like something a bit more substantial and softer.  It helps me to relax more.

4. A neck pillow.  Yes, you really need one.  I think neck pillows are one of the greatest inventions of modern man! Not kidding.  I have injured my neck and back before over long vacations.  Now I always have a neck pillow.  If I forget it, I buy one.  I need it that much.

5. Important numbers and documents. Again, you would think modern technology would replace the written piece of paper but it doesn’t. Devices can be stolen, you can lose your charge and then what do you do?

6. Refillable water container. So many airports and other travel hubs have a drinking fountain that allows you to fill your water bottle right there. Save money and the planet at the same time.

7. Snacks.  Who wants to pay $3.00 for a candy bar? Not this woman!  Enough said.

8. Medication.  Take both prescription and over the counter meds on with you. Take your prescription in case you cannot get a refill where you are. OTC meds should also be taken.  We all have our favorite brands. On vacation is not the time to try new brands that you are unfamiliar with.

9. Reading Materials. Sort of self explanatory right?

10. Hand wipes and lotion.  Who wants to wait in that long line for the bathroom to wash their hands?

11. Tissues. Something you don’t want to be caught without.

12. Chapstick.  Planes can be very dry places.  A little chapstick can make you feel a lot better.

13. Hair brush.  This one could be considered optional.  It depends on your hair.  They make really small compact ones that don’t take up a lot of space.  Look in your travel section of your big box retailer.

14. Emery Board. This to me is one of the most important things besides the neck pillow. I hate it when my nail gets caught on fabric. I drives me nuts! It’s something that can become a preoccupation unless it is dealt with.

What things are on your must have list for travel?