Thursday, July 31, 2008

Me Again

We have been having many ups and downs over the last many weeks, and I am glad to report that this week has been a good one. After much deliberation, I decided to withdraw all four of my kids from the second session of their summer program. This was a hard decision as it is a 3 week session all morning. Good "mommy alone time" as I like to call it. I was tired of having to wake them up in the morning, and very tired of the battle with Akila each morning to get her to go. Worse than the school year.

So, we have had a good week because we have been keeping really busy; and even better, I have worked out twice. Monday morning we went to the health club (the kids love the child care center, thankfully) and on the way home, stopped at Hezekiah's lake (Lake Calhoun) and were at the beach for over 3 hours. My kids middle names are all after Minneapolis lakes, Hezekiah Calhoun. Fun. On Saturday, I took the kids to Zeke's beach (Cedar Lake) and we stayed for 5 hours, it was amazing. They were all really good. Two minor incidents with Akila as she was convinced that Zeke had stolen some of the rocks she had collected. I think the folks at the beach were bored and enjoyed the little entertainment show that she put on for them as she raged over a rock. But it was short lived, and I can deal with that.

Now today, it is stormy outside and Akila has been pretty good so far, and it is 10 am. I'm hoping it doesn't get too stormy, as she will lose it then. I signed the kids up for 3 field trips each last night, Akila for 4. That is a total of 13 field trips, and the average cost was $6.70/field trip. Not bad. They're going to a Twins baseball game, Lake Elmo Lake Reserve, a pool and Akila will be going to Wild Mountain water park as well. Imani told me she didn't want to go on all of them so she and the boys could have some non-Akila time. Mature little 8 year old.

All winter I look forward to spring when the kids can get outside and play. Today, I'm almost relieved it is raining so the kids can't play outside with neighbor kids. That by far has been the most challenging thing with Akila this summer. Within our own household, I am constantly having to deal with conflict between Akila and the other 3 kids. Now I get to deal with it between her and about 6-8 neighbor kids and my other 3 kids.

And she rages over the goofiest things. Last week one day, she wanted me to talk to a neighbor kid who was saying "I don't care" to Akila when Akila was bragging that her cousins were coming over. I try to tell my kids not to say "I don't care" and the dreaded "whatever" to other people. I have explained that this is a rude comment and that you just say something like "oh" when someone is telling you something you're not interested in. So Akila thought I should be telling this little girl that it wasn't OK to say that. I explained to Akila that it is something I teach my own kids not to say, but it is not the type of thing I can be reprimanding neighbor kids for. Understand, I probably come off as the neighborhood witchy mom, as I am about the only one who checks on the kids or does any kind of policing. In North Mpls, you don't see much parenting going on, or good parenting I should say.

Anyway, Akila couldn't stand it and went nuts because I wouldn't talk to this little girl. Situations like this happen several times a day, when we are home and playing outside. When it gets to the point where Akila has to come inside to take a break from playing outside, she can't handle it. She wants to sit in the front of the house and yell out the windows at the other kids. And the kids all play in our yard or on the sidewalk in front of our house. On Sunday evening, Akila had been so mean and out of control, that I told this one group of 3 sisters who live at the other end of our block, to go down and play by their house and if they started coming toward our end of the block, I "shooed" them away. I explained several times that I was not doing it because of anything they did, but because Akila was being so mean and I wanted to protect them. I'm pretty sure they thought I was nuts. I was waiting for their folks to come down and ask me who I thought I was to say where their kids could ride on the sidewalk. Thankfully they didn't.

I have partially not had time to blog the last few weeks as I was working on the fall brochure for the dance studio(where I work part-time) and that went out in the mail this week. Now I'm busy fielding calls and taking registrations. Not much fun, but a little extra cash. I have also been enjoying my spare time by spending it on the phone with insurance and pharmaceutical companies. I mentioned that we are probably going to start Akila on growth hormones due to her Turner Syndrome.

These injections are pretty spendy and our insurance told Pfizer Pharmaceutical that we don't have prescription coverage. I wondered if this was why I had paid about $115 for Akila's new Rx for acid reflux med a few weeks before, and on the very day Pfizer called, I had been to CVS to pick up a Rx for cold sores that I get from time to time, and it was $207 so I said no thanks. I called Blue Cross up and they told me they weren't being covered as we had not met our deductible. This about sent me in a rage. As you may remember, I celebrated when we met our $3,000 deductible. I calmly explained this to the lady, who put me on and off of hold several times. Then told me that for some reason, the company they subcontract to do the Rx junk, had a system problem that wasn't recognizing that we had met our deductible. They would investigate it over the next 3-5 days and get back to me.

I looked up or benefits and found that after we meet our deductible, they cover between 45-65% of the Rx with a max of $75/Rx. I realized we had been charged too much on probably 4 or 5 Rx's over the last few months. Two weeks later, I finally called these turkeys on Monday as I had not heard back on their "investigation". After being on and off hold forever, they told me it was resolved and I would be getting a refund check. Can't wait.

The best is that on late Monday night, I felt the tingle of a cold sore (again) and I didn't have this stupid Rx as I was waiting for this junk to be resolved. So yesterday I called CVS and had them run it again and it was coming at over $120 now. What!!!!! So I called the company (Medco) that BC contracts, after dinging around on one of those annoying voice activated systems and getting hung up on, they told me it was BC's problem. I dialed BC and then had to break up an Akila fight. Got back to the phone, made the call, entered a thousand ID numbers and waited around, to be told that they were closed. I'm trying to get the strength up right now to call them. Annoying.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Catching Up

I really must get better at blogging. I go too long inbetween and have too many good stories I have forgotten. My goal after school starts will be to get better at being regular about posting.

Well, we spent $3,000 on our mini-van last week. I can't say much more about that without getting really annoyed.

The kids and I went to Willmar last weekend and stayed with the Poss family. It went really well for the most part. My friends from high school, Matt and Joanna Schrupp, came out to the lake and launched their new speed boat, so I got to water ski which once was a passion of mine. Now I do it once a year and pay for about 2 months with major lower back pain. But it is worth it. Kind of. My 3 oldest kids tried to water ski, Imani got really close. It was fun.
Here are the kids from last summer with Grandpa Poss.

Here is Akila this summer.

Here is Zeke at the parade counting his candy.

Imani is fishing, the Poss house is in the background.
Hezekiah is fishing. We caught nothing, but it was fun.

Imani, Hezekiah, Zeke and Emily (neighbor girl) having a bonfire.

We went on Thursday evening so we could go to the 4th of July parade in Spicer and we were staying until Sunday. On Saturday morning, shortly after breakfast, Akila came to sit on my lap. This is a constant challenge for me. She always wants to sit on my lap, for a couple of reasons. One, she just likes to and wants to be close. I had been really struggling with this because she seems too old to be on my lap ALL THE TIME. I of course am OK with that sometimes with all of my kids, but with Akila, it is ALL THE TIME. And she does not sit still. When I remind myself that developmentally, she is closer to being between a three and four year old, I am more calm about her being on my lap.

She also wants to sit on my lap because of her issues with sitting on certain types of chairs. She definitely has OCD (Obsessive Compulsive Disorder) tendencies. I have to put silverware in her bowls or on her plates, they cannot touch the table. She won't use the last spoon in the flatware tray, etc. I can't keep up with her quirks most of the time.

Anyway, she was sitting on my lap and stayed there for a long time. I finally realized that she wasn't feeling well, when I figured out that she had been really quiet and had not had any issues with anger for quite awhile. Sure enough, by noon she was vomiting.

I can't remember how much I have blogged about her vomiting, but it generally happens every 3 or 4 months and it can get quite bad. This one was her worst episode to date. Thankfully, she never misses the toilet or the bucket. What a blessing. She spent the rest of the day in the basement watching TV between vomiting sessions. She handles it really well, amazingly!!! Usually, once it is bedtime and she falls asleep, she doesn't get up to vomit but will still be vomiting the next day sometimes. Usually, if she is still vomiting the next day, that is when we will end up in the ER due to dehydration and need an IV.

Around 2 am, when I was up with her as she vomited, there was some blood mixed in with the vomit and also green vomit coming up (two of the things they say to watch for). Sorry for the graphics. This entire bout of vomiting, was also the most severe, it seemed quite painful for her and she was heaving a lot. Around 5 am, I almost left with her to go into the local hospital. She fell back asleep and I didn't.
When she gets like this, I have tried everything in the book to help her stop vomiting. We only do the little sips of water, popsicle, pop, whatever the dr.'s have recommended we try. A tiny sip makes her heave uncontrollably. Her Pediatician and I have talked about seeing a Gastro specialist, but I have been putting it off. Oops.
I just don't like the idea of needing another Dr. We have a zillion. Just last week, she saw an Endocrinologist for the first time because of her Turner Syndrome. We are going to start her on daily growth hormone injections sometime soon. Girls with TS have an average adult height of 4 ft 8 inches. With growth hormones, they can get an extra 8 inches. The side effects are minimal so we're going to give it a try. So she has a Pediatrician, a Developmental Pediatrician, a Cardiologist, a Psychologist, a Neuro-Psychologist, an Endocrinologist, and now a Gastrologist (or whatever they're called). We have an appt in August to see the gastro Dr.
When we got back in town on Sunday, we ended up having to go to the ER and get an IV. She gets so dehydrated, hadn't urinated in over 24 hours (you're suppose to take them in after 8-12 hours of no urination, but I always push it as sometimes we are able to recover).
So, it was a weird ending to a great mini-vacation. We love the Poss family and are blessed that they let us visit them.

Thursday, July 3, 2008

A Good Day

Yesterday was a great day and I am so relieved!!! The kids and I went to an event called "Music in Plymouth". It is basically an outdoor concert with fireworks that the MN Orchestra plays at along with other musical groups. We have gone for the last 3 years and we go with my friend Juli and her kids, and her parents. The event starts at 5:00, with fireworks at 10:00.

Parking is a huge challenge as is getting a spot. People go there in the morning and pin down tarps with their names on them to save their spots, it is a huge tradition for many families. Juli's dad did this for our group. We decided to go to the Lifetime Fitness pool which is next door to the concert, in the afternoon to swim so we would have good parking. Juli and her kids were also swimming. We arrived at the pool about 1:30. We swam until about 4:30 when we got ready to go to the concert. The swimming went well, no issues.

This is how I have found that I measure things- by how many issues we have. Sad. Anyway, before we got to the concert, we had a family huddle and I made it clear that if anyone was out of control or not listening, I would bring that child home as daddy would probably be home after awhile (he has been working late a lot lately). The biggest challenge with this event (which is so much fun), is that you care crammed like sardines. Literally there are maybe 4 inches between tarps and picnic blankets.

The kids did great, especially Akila. It was so awesome. Juli's mom, whom I call mom and my kids call grandma, told me when it was over how proud she was of Akila and was amazed at how well she did. She said that she would have never known that Akila was any different. And believe me, she knows as she has been witness to many odd behaviors and meltdowns. It was great, and a huge relief. Especially as we go into this weekend that I am a bit apprehensive about.

We are going to Willmar, my home town, to stay with the Poss family. I grew up on Eagle Lake in Willmar, and I can't tell you how much I miss the lake life. The Poss family were our neighbors and a family I always loved and respected. Dr. and Mrs. Poss have invited us to stay for a weekend each summer and we have done so for the last 3 years. The kids love it, it is like going to a lake resort only much better, and much cheaper!!! They have every type of lake toy imaginable and Dr. Poss plays with the kids a lot. He fished with them, made home made bottle rockets with them, etc.

They have a huge basement with all the same toys I played with when I was a child, including a doll house with furniture that Dr. Poss made for his girls. Akila loves it!! I also have some friends from high school who are going to hang out with us and a friend who lived across the lake who will be in town who I haven't seen in years. So I am very excited, and again, a bit apprehensive. Last year, Akila had been a bit challenging and we had some pretty big battles. This was before she was as challenging as she is now.

I am praying that it will go well, as I love this annual tradition. It is very peaceful and a beautiful feeling to be back on my lake. It is filled with amazing memories and lots of love. It does make me think a lot of both of my parents and how much I miss them both. I always take a little time to myself and go for a walk in the old neighborhood. The Poss family have actually built a new home about a half mile away from our old neighborhood. Anyway, I am mostly looking forward to the weekend and after last night, I am a bit hopeful that Akila will hold it together. Although that isn't very realistic to expect for the entire weekend. But a girl can hope.