Tuesday, October 21, 2014

The neti pot failure....

This week my right ear has decided to be an asshole. I’m used to the left ear doing crazy ass shit with the clogging up and the hearing loss and the constant ringing, but this week the right ear decides to get in on the action. I’ve had two severe vertigo attacks that were immediately preceded by a clogged ear and I’m starting to get a little worried. The ENT is useless when it comes to inner ear crap – totally useless – and the amazing Rebecca sent me the information to contact her amazing doctor but I just haven’t had time to make it happen.

One thing I’ve been hearing a lot about is the neti pot. I won’t lie – the thing scares me. I look at it and have to ask – “I’m supposed to fill that with WHAT and stick it WHERE????” But suddenly my ear clogs up and I’m too scared to move and I figure it’s time to give it a try – just in case.

I haul my ass out to CVS at 9 PM because that’s where I want to spend my evening – and I wander through the cold remedy aisle. I’m not a fan of most cold medicines because they make me tired or wired and let’s face it – I’ve got enough crap to deal with without chemical highs and lows. I find the selection of neti and neti-type pots and find myself a little perturbed that there is a large selection. I then spend about 30 minutes sitting on a floor in CVS because I just can’t make a choice. After reading all of the boxes thoroughly I decide to go with the CVS brand because truth be told, I’m just cheap.

CVS Sinus Wash Neti Pot Kit

I get home and stare at the package for a bit, still trying to get over the whole I’m supposed to stick that WHERE (don’t worry folks – I promise I will never be trying an enema) and decide to man up. I then realize that I forgot to buy super special water. Not a problem – look around the kitchen and grab a bottle of drinking water and decide to call it good. I mix the packet with 8 ounces, stare at the directions a little more, position myself over the kitchen sink – JUST like in the picture – stick the bottle in my right nostril and tilt my head.

The solution flows into my right nostril – and out of my left nostril – just like the instructions said they would. I’m quite excited at this point because I have saline solution squirting out my nose. I’m not sure if it’s going to do anything wonderful other than squirt out of my nose, but at least it’s working. After letting it flow and blowing my nose, I decide it’s time to take on the other nostril.

You know the point in the horror movie where you want to start screaming at the screen “DON’T GO FOR A WALK DOWN THAT DARK DESERTED PATH ALONE”. That’s the point we are at here. I was filled with confidence – I knew I had it – I figured I was invincible. I was so so very wrong.

I mounted the pot in my left nostril, just like the right. I leaned over the sink and assumed the position. No not that position – you sicko – the one from the instructions. I was ready to go. I stuck the pot in my nose and tilted my head. The saline water began to flow up through the left nostril – but wait – what’s going on. It’s not flowing out my right nostril. I’m confused now, because I’m not tasting saline water, where is this all going? I’m tilting, I can hear the water going in, but it’s NOT COMING OUT.

A smarter woman would stop. Again, brutal facts, I’m not a smart woman. I keep going, pouring water up through my left nostril, waiting patiently for it to shoot out my right nostril – but nothing happens. I continue to pour saline solution into my head, desperate to find relief from the ear issues I have – but the solution isn’t coming out. If the definition of insanity is doing something over and over while expecting different results, then I am completely and totally insane. I poured about 4 oz of saline into my head, I emptied that damn neti pot, and the saline never came out.

At this point, I can hear the water swishing around in my head. At least I convince myself that I can hear it, it may have just all been in my head. I don’t know. I can’t find kleenix so I’m grabbing paper towels so I can try to blow all of this out. I blow and blow but my head still feels like it’s swimming. I swear I can feel this stuff dripping out of my ear, even though my ear is dry on the outside.  I'm jumping around the kitchen, shaking my head, trying to get the fluid to move.  I'm snorting and blowing in every direction and I feel a little bit of saline dripping down my throat, and I'm gagging and starting to cough, but it's just a little bit of the saline - not enough to give me any relief.  The inside of my right ear is burning and itching like crazy and I want to scratch it – but don’t know how. I break the cardinal rule of ears and grab a q-tip and stick it into my ear canal – trying to get at the itch – but there’s no relief. I blow my nose again and again but still nothing. After about 30 minutes of constant nose blowing, I have a nose that looks like Rudolph’s and my right ear is clogged, burning and itching. And the left ear is still being an asshole.

 Right now, 12 hours later, I think I’m worse off than when I started. My ear is still clogged. It still itches. It still feels wet. I can’t see myself ever willingly inflicting that on myself again unless I can figure out where I went wrong. And part of me thinks that was buying the damn thing in the first place. Will there be any relief from my asshole ears? Doubt it. In the meantime I’m going to have to assume that the neti pot is a quack failure or I’m a neti pot failure…..

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

The saga of my cervix....

I have periods from hell. Like call Grissom and Sara or Dexter and Debra CSI scene worthy periods. Like soak through a heavy duty pad and heavy duty tampon on the 1 hour it takes me to get to work periods. They've been horrific for about 10 years now, and they really jack up my life. It usually starts with a night of PMS where I just can't sleep. Then I get a day with a raging headache from not sleeping the night before. And then - then it follows with the horrific cramps and the gushing flow - which lasts for about 2 days, followed by a couple days of lighter flow, followed by another bad day or two, followed by a couple days of spotting. It's just not fun.

Last year I decided to do something about it and I went to my primary care doctor and discussed this during my physical. I told her that birth control isn't an issue as my husband was snipped after Mikey was born, but the misery was just taking too much of a toll on my life. After an oh so fun pelvic exam she wrote me a referral to an OB/GYN in my area. I then scheduled an appointment with the OB/GYN and got to repeat the fun of the pelvic exam. My options were an Mirena IUD or ablation. I decided to try the IUD.

The doctor needed to get authorization for the IUD so she handed me a few samples of Nuva Rings to try and sent me on my way. A few weeks later I went to follow up on the authorization - since Tricare was switching management companies for the western region they had a period where all referrals were automatically authorized. Unfortunately the OB/GYN office had FORGOTTEN to put in my referral and the free for all period had just ended. They put in another authorization but it was determined that since the Navy Hospital had availability, I had to go there, almost an hour out of my way, to get the device inserted. After another pelvic exam of course.

So there I was, outside my work, screaming into the phone "How many people are going to have to stick their hand up my vagina before I can get some period relief". The girl on the phone wouldn't budge. Finally I gave in and asked when they could schedule me. She then explained that due to sequestration cuts, the soonest appointment was 4 months out. At this point I've taken several hours of PTO, driven all over the place, I'm frustrated and I'm still bleeding like a stuck pig every month. I am not sure what I told her but I'm hoping she's heard worse. I decided to let it go and just suck it up and deal with it.

A year later I've forgotten the horror from last year and I decide to start the process over again.  The NuvaRing was a total failure that led to constant spotting, just like the minipill and I need this to change.  I go back to my primary doctor who writes the referral and says "Make sure you say it's for birth control and not period relief". A few days later I get a call from a local OB/GYN who has offices by my home and by my work and appointments available within the next few weeks.

Everything is working out great. I got to the OB/GYNs office and she puts in the order for the device and an ultrasound just in case I have something or another growing in my uterus - cysts? Who knows. I just know the end is in sight for the unwanted monthly visitor - I don't even mind that she's running an hour late at 8:30 AM.... The authorization goes through and they schedule me to go in. I take yet another afternoon off work to get the damn device implanted. I'm excited because I'm at the tail end of another period from hell and when I bought the last box of pads I was hoping it was the last box I would ever have to buy.

I get to the doctors office on time. I sit and wait in the waiting room and she's running late just like last time, and I don't care. I'm singing in my head "No period no period". I get called back and get naked from the waist down and it doesn't even bother me. She comes in and has me put my feet in the stirrups. She explains that there's going to be a local anesthetic that may make my heart race a little. That's fine - I think to myself. Just get this over with.

And then..... Then she goes to implant the IUD. Just a little cramp she says. Well it hurts like hell. She's trying to put in a guide and then the IUD goes in through the guide. But it's not going in. She tries again. And again. And again. For almost 20 minutes she's trying to get this in. Oh hey - guess what. I have a curved cervix. I had no idea but that thing bends like a drain pipe I guess. So she pulls out the ultrasound and I'm there with the feet in the stirrups, the whatever it's called stretching my hoohaa open and she's blasting sonar waves up my vagina in every direction. The assistant is standing over, and the two of them are making puzzled and confused faces as they try to determine exactly which way my cervix curves. I'm going to say this again. I had no freaking clue my cervix turns. 4 kids, multiple visits to various OB/GYNs and no one bothered to tell me my cervix is crookeder than a career politician.

She says she can try one more time. I think about it, think about the freaking cramps and misery and tell her to go for it. I try to relax my cervix, because you can relax that right? I try to think of happy places. I tell myself it's still not as bad as the cramps I had last week. I try to think about anything other than having the inner sanctum of my inner sanctum violated. I'm trying to focus on the end result and not lose my mind. And she says she just can't get it in.

After my internal 12 year old boy gets a good giggle, we discuss the options. I can go back and take a pill the night before that will relax my cervix. Because it just wasn't relaxed enough. Or I can go with the ablation. Or - I can try taking birth control pills and just not take the placebos. Now - I've tried this with the minipill and the NuvaRing and I just spotted non stop for months - and lets face it - I'm not the best with taking pills since half my kids were pill babies - but my cervix is begging for mercy, I've been there for over an hour and I want to get out of there.

I left the office with antibiotics, sample packs of pills and broken dreams. Seems to be the story of my life right now. 

Thursday, October 9, 2014

More fun with IEPs

This year the girl child is in 5th grade.  Her last year in elementary school.  Excuse me while I shed a tear over that. 

Ok I'm over it.  4th grade was a year from hell.  The teacher change helped but the homework load was insane and she was just falling behind. 

After hiring an advocate, we went into this year prepared for the worst but hoping for the best.  Luckily, the girl child got a great teacher and overall organization of the 5th grade program was much better.  Even with minimal services she is doing well and having a good year.  She was the one who I felt was critical but she seems to be doing ok.

The boy child on the other hand has been struggling to get by.  Like his sister, he is very bright.  He tests in the top 2-3 percentile in everything.  But he just can't focus.  He can't keep still.  He crawls under the desk.  He wanders the school grounds.

The IEP this year included some support for writing and a behavior chart.  The goal of the behavior chart was to break the day into parts, to give us some tracking to see if some subjects were a bigger problem than others, and to reward him if he behaved in 8/10 sections.  Sometimes we get to see real gems.  Yes folks - my child is the one who had the whoopie cushion in class.  

It's only been in place for a few weeks.  We will see if it works in the long term.  With this child, things tend to work at first, then they stop working.  He keeps us all on our toes.

SO - the kids both have IEPs.  They seem to be working so far.  But we will see how they work in the long term.

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

And the band played on...

Last year I put in an IEP request for Mikey. I painstakingly drew up the letter using all the best advice from the web. I talked to my teacher friends.  I talked to my special ed expert friends.  I spent days writing the letter.  And after all of that effort, not to mention the fun of taking hours of my precious pto, the request was denied.  Apparently his ability was average but his achievement was all above average.  I'm still not sure how a kid with an average iq could be performing in the top percentile when he wanders around, curls up under his desk and ignores the teacher but that's all water under the bridge.  They told me they would set up a meeting to develop a 504 plan and sent us on our way.

By the spring of first grade it was obvious that he needed a lot more help than he was getting.  He was disruptive, caused issues, refused to go to lunch, wandered around the campus and was an all around pain in the butt.  His behavior escalated to the point where he wasn't learning and he was keeping other kids from learning.  After several months I emailed the school asking about the promised 504 plan meeting and we were able to get one set up.

The 504 plan coordinator was a 4th grade teacher who apparently had experience as an administrator.  I know this because she kept mentioning it over and over.  "When I was a VP at a middle school we would...." and part of me really wanted to ask why she wasn't in administration any more.  We decided that we would address Mikey's defiance with the 504 plan.  Any time he refused to do what the teacher said, he would be sent to the principals office.  The teacher mentioned that Mikey loves talking to the principal and the office staff, and he might enjoy that too much.  The coordinator said they would instruct the office staff not to talk to him.  So I'm here trying to figure out how sending the kid to the office whenever he didn't want to do his work, and not talking to him was going to address his issues in class.  It seemed like she wanted to give my 6 year old an old fashioned Amish shunning.

A week into the plan, Mikey had been in the principals office 3 times.  His behavior wasn't improving.  And he wasn't learning.  Sorry lady - it may work with 6th graders, but not 6 year olds.  At the same time, Dani's issues in school were escalating and she was in tears over her homework and school work every day.  The breaking point was the day Mikey dropped a deuce on the playground.  Yes folks -my son decided the bathroom was too smelly and somehow the pavement was a better choice.  When the principal questioned his actions, he got upset and screamed that he hated his life.  That turned into he wished he wasn't alive.  And that turned into me having to run to the school to pick up my child and sign the district suicide threat release form.  Good times here. 

So I hired a special ed advocate.  Mikey's new therapist had diagnosed him with Aspergers because he apparently has classic symptoms.  The diagnosis was helpful because it gave his behavior a name.  Even though his Aspergers is very different than Dani's Aspergers, there are a lot of pieces that are the same.  Armed with the diagnosis and the advocate I sent in the IEP request letter for Mikey again and requested a review of Dani's IEP.

It's amazing what a difference an advocate can make.  To be continued.....