I guess it's good to post here and there.
January 10 has come and gone, and we have learned the excellent news that Em is neither autistic nor Asperger. Instead she's been diagnosed with high anxiety disorder with a good dose of obsessive/compulsive disorder traits. Basically, she has her dad's issues and he found it simply amazing and so helpful for himself as the doctor explained things. We'll be talking with Em's pediatrician to find the right little med to alleviate some of the anxiety and help her function more effectively, maintain counseling time and try to find a friendship group that focuses on kids with similar issues as Em. Jeff? He's going to see his doctor -- it's high time he took care of his anxiety and OCD issues too. Hallelujah!
Sophie's still muddling along. I'm beginning to think her medication isn't as effective or she's finding a way to spit it out. Not sure. She's so opposite of Em -- refusing to acknowledge any sort of need. But she's such an awesome kid and she is starting to ask more questions, which I'm pleased to help her with.
This new year has had a rough little start. My cousin passed away last Sunday. She was 45, and it's hard to believe she's actually gone. I knew in my heart it was only a matter of time... when last I saw her she didn't look healthy at all. It still stuns though.
Cutting this short -- the morning is getting away from me.
Got a phone call from the MIL the other day. Sophie's 12th birthday is coming up on the 19th and Ruth wanted to know what to get Sophie. She asks this every year, I tell her and then she steadfastly refuses to get her what I've suggested. It's the regular routine for us and I laugh about it more than anything. This year I told her that silly, fun novelty socks would be perfect. Knowning Ruth, Sophie will end up with 12 pairs of white Gold Toe socks. Both girls are very typical of other girls their age and love to mix and unmatch their socks at will. I don't mind. I love their expression of personality being exhibited in a fun way that makes people laugh. It also saves time on trying to match their socks when we're folding laundry together. I've already purchased our gifts to Soph: a Barbie Doll (something do with pop stars or something, it has a guitar) because Sophie steadfastly continues to adore her Barbies and knowing where she's at in her maturity, she'll be playing with them for a few more years yet, and an aromatherapy Hippo... you heat it up in the microwave and cuddle it while it gives off the scent of lavender -- totally Sophie. Emily got her a Wizard101 game card -- the $39 one. She's always asking for crowns, and I oblige, but this might calm her for a while, lol.
But that's the happy stuff. The down stuff is the rest of Ruth's call. She kept repeating how she's scared of Sophie. She doesn't like how she talks to Sophie and Sophie just responds with a scowl or a muttered negatory. Ruth thinks Sophie is capable of doing her physical harm. That left me speechless. Yes, admittedly Sophie has threatened violence against her sister in the past and we've had to put kitchen knives away, but with the daily Fluoxetine dosage she is less dark that way. In fact, she's pretty darn balanced and fun again. I know for sure that Ruth has done some pretty major damage with her granddaughter in the past and Sophie is highly capable of carrying grudges and holding onto deep anger against Ruth. Part of me is considering talking with Joan about what we can do in that area... I cringe at the idea of paying for sessions between Ruth and Sophie. I don't think that will work at all right now, but I do feel that one day it will have to happen. Anyway. Ruth has decided I'm scared of Sophie too and told Jeff that. Bwa? Not even close. I know my girl inside and out and am the only one she totally trusts. We have nightly talks and prayers together. I have nothing to fear from my daughter thank you very much.
In other news, we've discontinued speech therapy for a couple of reasons. One, the therapist is returning to St. Luke's up in Boise and two, Sophie doesn't want it. I'm going to watch and wait, but the therapist's recommendation is to get her tested at school and get an IEP going if I can. Meanwhile, I need to wait for Sophie to soften a bit on the speech front before I take further action. She actually does talk and calm down when she's with the therapist, but she's mad the whole time and insists that her rights are being violated. She talks about running away and supporting herself as a waittress. Part of me is guffawing silently over the image of my taciturn, Asperger daughter taking orders from a food patron, the other part is a little frantic over the thought that she could seriously walk out the door one day and keep walking.
In other news... my job duties are changing at work and I have mixed feelings about it. The young woman who ran the refugee and tuberculosis medications programs quit last week. We had thought that another young woman who came to us through a work program would work well as a replacement, but she scored very poorly on her tests. She actually shared the scores with me and I was startled. Soooo... after Cheyenne had her exit interview I was called in and offered those additional work duties which means I will no longer be traveling quite so much, nor will I be able to have the four tens schedule because Cheyenne was also the main "receptionist" if you will. I will still run Twin Falls immunization clinics, but I may not be prepping them. Ironically, I LOVE prepping. I love the mental challenge of assessing records and checking protocols. It's so cool to be able to look at a random shot record and understand it! And I enjoyed the traveling too. I also adored my supervisor, but I'll be switching to her boss as my boss. Mixed feelings on that too as Yvonne is pretty laid back. Once she feels confident that a person can do their job she lets them do their job. Joymae has to have her fingers into everything. For me it will be a matter of learning where to hang back and where to step in with her and I think I can do it. The big reason I'm taking the new duties? I want Yvonne's job eventually. And to do Yvonne's job means I need to know how all the programs work. Knowing refugee, TB control and immunizations is huge to doing that job. I won't need to know family planning so much, and that's fine by me. It's going to be good.
Now to enjoy the rest of my day. With the dog.
Yesterday we headed to Boise for an initial evaluation of Emily. We had come close to having to reschedule because the clinic got our insurance mixed up, but it ended up working out. The doctor feels that Em's anxiety levels are high enough to warrant further evaluation and she's been referred to the all-day autism diagnosis clinic. She said that we're right, it's hard to pinpoint precisely what's going on, but there's something there, something a little more subtle than what's going on with Sophie. Em was pretty excited about yesterday and told the doctor straight up that she wants answers and help. I said something similar to the doctor... that I'm not looking to pigeonhole my daughter, but I'm seeking the right tools to be a better parent who can respond better to my daughter. So in another day, perhaps even today, the clinic will call and we'll schedule a Thursday in Boise again. Sophie's incredulous over it all and thinks Em's nuts for wanting to go through all the testing. Love my girl.
Halloween was excellent. This was the first time that we went a little further with our decorations, adding a couple of fog machines, a strobe light, sound effects and even more cobwebs. It was amusing to see how many folks just stopped on the deck to take it all in before remembering to ring the doorbell. Sophie's excitedly planning what she wants to add for next year. The front deck really lends itself to the whole Halloween thing -- so much room for creativity! The only disappointment is that despite it being a record 70 degrees, there were few trick-or-treaters. I think the Trunk-or-Treat and church events are slowly taking over. I ended up letting our few visitors grab what they wanted, but I still have a big bowl of treats -- not that the girls or Jeff mind though.
Working alone in the Gooding office today. I shall wrap this up as I have a bit of data entry to do before I close the office up at noon and head home. My off day was chopped up due to a major school clinic in another office tomorrow. Took six hours yesterday, will take the other four today. No biggie although I'm a little ticked that no one checked about my schedule before rearranging things -- Jeff's scrambling to cover the appointments I would have done for the girls tomorrow. I did let the supervisor who changed the schedule know that while I'm pretty flexible, that was cutting it a little tight for me.
It's November now -- we're slowly heading into the bulk of the holidays, and as usual, I'm looking forward to it. The fun will be in seeing how grinchy Jeff is again... every year the girls and I ask him to put up the Christmas lights and every year he resists, finding one excuse or another to avoid it all. If I had the money I'd hire a service to come do it. Trouble is, we didn't buy enough lights last year (okay, his excuse was semi-valid last year), so we have to work those into the budget. I'll let you all know if we get the lights up this year!
Off to work now.
Today Sophie's speech was evaluated. It's part of the overall evaluation she received through Northwest Neurobehavioral. The therapist is keen to renew Sophie's therapy, but for different reasons now, mostly due to the Asperger Syndrome. We're going to try it for a month. The insurance covers up to 30 visits so... Basically my girl is classic in the Asperger communication department: verbose, monotone... able to be appropriate, but unable to explain why. It's all good.
Emily is also scheduled for her initial evaluation in Boise on Halloween. I just emailed my boss from home because that's an immunization clinic day and since I now run those in Twin that will create a little havoc amongst the clerical staff as we're so shorthanded. Those appointments are hard to get though so I grabbed it. I figure I'd work a half day, drive up to Boise, then work a half day that Friday as all these appointments have sucked up my supply of sick days. Em is a sweetheart. She wants the evaluation. We sat down one day last week and she cried in my arms and asked me when the appointment would be because she wants help so badly. I cried with her and felt so relieved when I got the call from the clinic today. It's going to be okay.
Otherwise... can't believe it's autumn now. The heat is running and we're trying to eke out the last few tomatoes and peppers before we give the plants up for dead. I had quite the little deck garden this summer. We're enjoying the heater -- the central heat and A/C died last fall, leaving us to limp through the winter with sweaters, fire logs and a ridiculously high power bill for lukewarm "heat". That's all fixed now.
Wrote a four-page outline for a short story the other day -- all handwritten, hastily scribbled. It was satisfying. Now to find the time to sit here and type the story itself. Yeah... right...
Until the next time!
Sophie's had one week of medication and it seems to be doing wonders already. A number of folks have asked me if she had started anything because they had certainly noticed a difference. This is excellent news. Yes, it's still a small battle each day to make sure she swallows the stuff, but enough's getting into her it seems.
Had our big meeting with Sophie's team of teachers last Friday and it was awesome. We met to discuss Sophie's diagnosis and what accommodations were needed. The teachers had glowing reports for Sophie while acknowledging that yes, they could see the symptoms and understood the diagnosis and her needs. Academically Sophie is ferociously bright and driven. Most excellent. Her teachers totally rock. How do we keep getting so blessed? Love it! The other cool thing -- Sophie opted to attend the meeting. I think that took a lot of courage.
Had a good meeting with Joan -- Sophie's sand tray was hugely different from the trays she's created in the past. It was pretty exciting to see. More good stuff.
Em did a sand tray too -- the good thing here is that yes, we're going to proceed with the evaluation with Northwest Neuro for her, and Joan has some ideas to help Em figure out how to learn basic interactions... which she has no clue how to do. I had to brace myself because I know Em is not as aware as I'd like her to be, but emotionally she's at around eight or nine according to the therapist... not an easy thing in a 14-year old body and a high school world. The very good thing is that Em is enjoying her time with Joan and it's easier to be proactive now before Em totally gives up on friendship and having a good experience in high school. Emily loved her time with Joan, and that's good.
Now to find a way to equip Jeff to understand his daughters and how they tick. He's hit his own emotional wall with two adolescent females. Urk.
Sophie's anger management counselor from last year called me up today. She had talked to Sophie this morning and asked her if she'd like to be in "group" again this year. Sophie said she'd think about it, and the counselor followed up with me. I gave my blessing. A very cool thing: this particular counselor knows Sophie well from last year and will be joining the meeting on Friday. She talked more with Sophie and it's been decided that Sophie won't go on Friday... she doesn't want to as it is, and you know, that's okay. She's being hit with enough stuff right now as it is. We'll leave her an open option right up through Friday morning though. I think it was really cool that the woman spoke with Sophie... they had a sit-down time and she explained "advocate" to her. I think Sophie might have liked that explanation.
Em rode her bike to school this morning. I'm wary about the lock she's using -- it's the same little thing she's used since she was seven. I'll have to get her a new one that's a little more effective. Em swears she's doing an experiment to see how long it takes to bike to school. I have a sneaking suspicicion she just didn't want to wait at the bus stop with Sophie who was more than a little vicious this morning. I got her to take most of her medication, but she was awful about it. She takes a half teaspoon of a liquid form of her medication, preferably called Fluoexetine -- very minuscule. The chief side effect I was warned about is that she may initially feel drowsy and I told her that. When she asked if there were more side effects I fished madly through my mental list and came up with a positive one, at least for her: weight loss. She gave me a skeptical glare, but took the medication after that.
Two positives. Sophie's school counselor called yesterday and we're having a big meeting with her, Sophie's team of teachers, Jeff, Sophie and me on Friday at 10:45 a.m. We're going to get things rolling! They've used the past couple of weeks to get to know Sophie and the counselor was pleased that I'd already introduced ourselves to the teachers. Hey, we're our daughter's best advocates, you bet we're going to introduce ourselves and all. So that's the first positive: we're meeting Friday! The second is something that the counselor said that had me grinning. "My grandson has Asperger too and I've seen Sophie. She's brilliant just like he is." Yes, yes she is quite brilliant. Scarily so. It was just cool to hear a stranger, at least at this point, make that statement. The doctors in Boise said the same thing about her too. Additionally, I contacted the speech therapist the pediatrician referred us to. They are looking for the referral and will call me back today. The receptionist cautioned me to call my insurance to make sure we don't get slammed with a big bill. I called and it seems the evaluation will hit us regardless since the deductible hasn't been met. I do not plan to continue therapy services with the person though if it's deemed Sophie has to return to therapy -- we'll add the speech IEP to the school's 504 and use the school district resources instead as we've done before. That's a no-brainer.
My Emster girl told me she is going to visit with a counselor at school too. I read the letter she brought home (an intern is at the school this year), asked Em about it, and feel positive about it. Em likes the woman -- who is fairly young -- and felt she could talk to her about school. I think Emily likes that the intern is someone relatively close to her in age and who might more easily identify with how high school runs these days. I hope to meet her in the next couple of weeks. Again, I hope folks understand that I personally don't think she's Asperger like Sophie. I too actually think she's just incredibly, horribly and painfully shy. I think Joan may revise her opinion after Friday's session. We'll see though. I'm willing to take her to the Boise clinic too, if nothing else but to settle my husband down on the topic.
And yes, I'm home sick again. My supervisor and I texted and it was decided I ought to stay home one more day -- a Mack truck ran me over, folks. I have a very long day of clinic ahead of me tomorrow and I need to be physically ready for it. I know I couldn't have done clinic yesterday and I would have had to travel today to cover two clincs - one in Jerome, the other in Gooding. Yeah, right, while running hot and cold and coughing and sneezing and... no way. The whole week's a wash -- I have time off on Thursday afternoon too for Em's orthodontic appointment, but it's at 1:45 p.m., so I think I can race back to work by no later than three and still get three more hours of work in, but I surely won't be making up any time on Friday, not with the morning appointment scheduled.
Off to start the day -- slowly. Have a good one all.