Friday, September 26, 2008

I'm Glad Their Priorities are Straight...

I debated posting this, since it was so short, and since I should really be focusing on the current financial crisis and the bailout proposal. But since Sen. McCain can debate tonight, I guess I can post a quick post:

Linda got a call from the school today, went something like this:

"Yes, Linda, this is the nurse from Grace's school. We wanted to let you know that Grace ate a piece of crayon today. But please, rest assured that they ARE Gluten/Casein free. Another child had eaten a whole crayon and her mother checked up on it and found out they are indeed GF/CF."

I'm just glad to see that we first have them properly trained on GF/CF protocol and that they are working hard to make sure that all foreign objects my children eat will meet their dietary requirements. I'll also be happy if they minimize stimming on bagel knives and redirecting fixations on small house fires...

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

More Sleep Deprivation

I scanned back through my old blogs to see how long it's been since I complained about not getting enough sleep. It's been long enough, time to vent again:

The past month, basically since before school started, we've been having the tag team twins of early morning madness keeping us on our toes (and stubbing them in the dark!). It seems like the past 3 weeks it has been every...single...night. Sometimes, it's Liv; other times it's Grace. Sometimes, one kicks off the other and we get both in the ring at the same time (I have to check the WWE rulebook, I'm sure two in the ring at the same time is not allowed).

All this leads to some pretty unorthodox sleeping arrangements. Grace is a restless sleeper and it's not uncommon for her foot to wind up in my face or for her to fall asleep sprawled out over the both of us. Our remedy is to send her out to the living room on a kid's futon with Linda on the couch. On more than one occasion I wake Linda up in the morning, looking for Grace, only to realize that she's curled up at her head like a cat or scrunched behind her wedged like a puppy in a brood.

Liv is another animal. We do have and use Clonidine to calm her down if she wakes up, but we like to leave a gap of at least 4 hours before she has to wake up. So before 3:30, we can use it, after that; one of us has to deal with her antics because she will often go 2-3 hours before konking out. I'm usually the one taking the hit on that, Linda escapes to the couch. It's interesting trying to sleep while holding on to a toe or holding her in place. Interestingly enough, she has the most 'pop outs' during the night and she will frequently go through her list of words she knows and I will respond in kind. "Da da, juuu" "No, I'm sorry honey no juice, go back to sleep".

The only other saving grace is that Liv will not open the door and come out. Grace though, will open the door and will request the door be open whenever she's conscious. So, it'll be Grace that will show up at our door in the middle of the night like a ghost. Liv will just take advantage of the opportunity to get out as well. Her preference though, is to go in the living room and turn on the lights and TV (THAT'S a wild wake-up call!).

A week or two ago, I heard Liv on the monitor, went to open the door, only to find both up like Pop Tarts (uh ooh better explain that reference to a link, in case Pop Tarts are not a global thingy). I stood there for a minute trying to get my logistical brain to function. "Two girls up, where should Livie go? Is it past 3:30? Are there any potty accidents to consider?". I can't remember much about that night, I only know that Linda and I had two different bedmates in the morning...

It really sets a bad tone in the morning, being down 2-3 hours, especially when Linda has her bursts of energy after they go to bed and winds up staying up late catching up. This morning, it was Grace who was up at 5; getting her to rise at 7:15 is like raising the dead, since she can sleep on anything in any position. I took away her movement. I stood her up; she leans back on the couch and sleeps half standing. Finally the thing that aroused her was "Grace, do you want pink game?" Grace is absolutely addicted to Nintendo DS and we try to limit her; but these are the occasions you hold it back for, and we did get her up and ready for the school bus.

Sometimes there are reasons, like Grace having an ear infection 3 weeks ago; sometimes we just scratch our heads as to why and what is causing them to wake up. We certainly hope that it's just a restless spirit and not a pain and discomfort reason. What makes it difficult is always the lack of communication to tell us when there is something really wrong; when it's just a nightmare, or a bathroom urge or a thirst or whatever. Jason will wake up probably more than once a month, but we usually get the scoop (although sometimes he's a walking zombie talking nonsense).

Friday, September 19, 2008

Humina Swajusay Huh?

I'd like to take comic license on a recent conversation with our insurance company. The conversation isn't entirely true, but the gist is here:

We had found out in the summer about a program where another insurance company was offering grants to help pay for therapy expenses not covered by our insurance company. We applied for a grant to cover Liv's occupational therapies, since they don't consider covering 'chronic' conditions. The deadline for completion was September 30th and we submitted around the 4th of July. We received notification in the beginning of September that grant needed amongst other things, a denial letter for Liv's apraxia, since that is how we worded the application, we only had a denial for autism.

NEVER throw down the gauntlet in front of my wife. Less than 30 days, getting the required paperwork. Coordination and insurance document acquisition is her specialty. Got the info from the Ped Neurologist, from the therapist; got a package of all the info needed to send to the insurance company and sent out the fax; probably took less than a week. Now comes the fun part; the call from the completely baffled clerk who wound up with this on her desk:

Ins Clerk: Hello, yes I'm calling about the fax we received yesterday regarding your daughter, Olivia
Linda: Yes
Ins Clerk: I wanted to let you know that we have to send this in for review, but occupational therapies are not usually covered for chronic conditions.
Linda:Yes, I know that I was looking for you to deny it.
Ins Clerk: I'm sorry, you want us to deny this? (Clearly, 'thank you sir, may I have another' is not covered in the "How to screw the Client" manual)
Linda: Yes, I am 99% sure you will deny this, we need a denial letter in order to apply for a grant for non-covered insurance expenses. We need it quickly as we have a Sept 30 deadline to apply.
Ins Clerk: We I uh....the review process has to go to another department and it usually takes 10-15 business days.
Linda: That's if you are evaluating it on whether it is going to be covered, I'm asking that you DENY it. (I mean, this is something that they do with deadly efficiency normally; it's page one of the playbook: DENY)
Ins Clerk: I'll see if I can get the adjuster to look at it, you DO want it denied, right?
Linda (somewhat exasperated, but remaining cool): Listen, you can either PAY it or deny it. Since I'm almost certain you are going to deny it, I only ask that you do it quickly (Lady, I'm painting a target on my chest and yelling 'KILL ME NOW', just do it!)
Ins Clerk: Well, uh, alright, I'll give you a call back

She gets the call back yesterday to say that indeed they were denying it (sorry, I don't have the strength to try and reproduce the conversation between the clerk and the adjuster). We're awaiting a fax copy of the letter. Of course, it's delayed, you couldn't expect them to have reprisocity ( I have to leave that bad spelling of reciprocity in, it made me laugh!) and make OUR lives easier after giving THEM such a slow pitch!

My wife is currently reviewing back issue of Soldier of Fortune Magazine, in case these yo yo's screw this up. It's bad enough that they don't give me THEIR money, but if they deny us the ability to get money from others WATCH OUT!

Thursday, September 11, 2008

It was a day like any/no other...

It was a starkly beautiful day, blue on blue skies probably average for the time of year. It was primary day I remember. I was in the throws of the latest project at work, whatever it must have been. I remember the internet was unusually slow as I tried to find out about what my wife had called me about. Pictures were just starting to become available on the internet, in a format that didn't take 2 hours to load at least. I remember hearing more and realizing that something was terribly wrong.

I remember the person who told me the South Tower had collapsed; I remember telling people about the Pentagon. I remember them calling us into the largest meeting room we had and saying we should all go home, be safe...and pray.

When I got home, I remember finding a dead kitten in the road in front of our house and being so numb to it as I moved it into the bushes. I remember telling my kids what had happened and saying that what happened today could never be underestimated. I worried about my family, they country and the world.

I remember all the firefighters, so many firefighters, that were lost. I remember the candle I set out on a rock outside every night for days on end in the hopes that it might help find someone alive in the rubble. I remember finding out about Father Mychal Judge from the picture of him being carried out of the rubble; the priest only trying to minister to the injured and giving last rights to the firefighters he worked with. I saw hundreds upon hundreds of picture that disturbed me to the bone; of the attack, of the people, of the masses of humanity dazed, bewildered and obviously changed.

I remember the quiet at night from the lack of planes in the sky over the following weeks. I remember the static I heard instead of radio station which had lost their signal that was on the radio tower. I remember the lack of Channel 13 on TV for the same reason and the total lack of commercials for weeks. I remember the eerie quiet at night from the lack of airplane activity, and the times I did hear the sounds of F16's. I remember averting my eyes from the skyline when I drove to spots where I could see a gap in the way I expected to see it.

I guess this is not much of a tribute to those who lost their lives that day, God knows I've never looked at firefighters the same way again. I just wanted to put down what will probably be ingrained in my mind for the rest of my life, for the rest of all our lives. God Bless America and never forget...

Monday, September 08, 2008

It's the Most Wonderful Time of the Year

Getting them back to school that is. I really think that song should be reallocated to back to school. Let's start with some random thoughts:

  1. Book Sox- anyone want to lynch the person who's marketing these? Between Book Sox and scientific calculators, these two items took up probably the majority of the near 200 dollars we spent at Staples for back to school supplies (OUCH!).
  2. Nervous/depressed kids- I don't know about any of you adults out there, but in retrospect, I LIKE to learn new things; but my oldest daughter referred to school as a subversive plot to imprison the masses of children this morning.
  3. Back to school night- otherwise known in our household as "How are we going to clone ourselves THIS year? I do like to meet the new teachers but, as far as the school systems in our town, we're old pros, not like these 'amateurs' with one or two kids that want to see what the cafeteria looks like. We should have some kind of easy pass where we can go to the front of the line and get out to the next one...
  4. Paperwork- The amount of information they are asking from us nowadays borders on encroachment of privacy. If you think one of two kids in school is hard, try 5! Linda was up until one in the morning answering questions on the 'getting to know you' page like 'what's your child's favorite TV show.' Grace's teacher wants BIOGRAPHY! I just think we need in boxes and outboxes; I know, my office mentality showing.
Well good news is that the girls are in a school with good programs, Jason's in LOVE with his teacher (shhh, don't say we told!); Aly's has all her friends in the same lunch; and Dillan yet again has an opportunity to become Mr Popularity (he only knows a couple of kids from previous years, but this kid gets along with ANYONE, he'd make friends with the Grinch after 3 weeks in class).

Linda has 5 glorious hours of freedom between when the last one leaves and the first one gets back. Of course the law of linear sicknesses will have at least one kid home roughly half the school year, but we won't reminder her of that eventuality. Heck, we might even get caught up before the fist wave starts. Hope your school start is going as well as ours, and those without kids can stop laughing now, yea, nothing to do and all day to do it...hammock comfy?