The $40 Argument

I took Jeffrey to be tested for food sensitivities this morning. It didn’t happen. When I called to make the appointment, I specifically asked the receptionist (and yes, I realize she’s the receptionist, not a nurse or doctor) if they did blood testing for food sensitivities. I explained that I was not looking for a food *allergy* test, but a food *sensitivity* test. I told her I didn’t want to get in there and pay my $40 co-pay only to find out that they can’t do what I want. (Can you guess where this post is going?) She put me on hold and came back after a couple minutes and said that yes, they do blood testing for food sensitivities in the office, but the only treatment is avoidance. That was fine with me and certainly sounded like they knew what I was talking about. So I made the appointment.

My first clue that this visit might be a problem was when I had to print out the new-patient paperwork this morning because they didn’t mail it as promised. I didn’t realize until last night that we hadn’t received it. We got there five minutes before our appointment time (10 AM) and waited about 10 minutes in the waiting room. Then we waited until almost 10:40 to see the doctor. How can they be 40 minutes behind that early in the day? Anyway, I could tell right away that he was going to be difficult. Some doctors just can’t deal with patients (or their mothers) who dare to ask questions or have thoughts of their own. I tried to be polite and explain why I was there. After he made a few notes and checked Jeffrey’s ears, nose and throat, he sat down and said something like, “Most people don’t understand food allergies and food sensitivities.” I told him I do understand the difference and Jeffrey had a skin-prick test 4 years ago that said he was not allergic to anything. (An excruciating skin-prick test that had my child *climbing* up me to escape the needles. Short of him breaking out in hives, we are never repeating that experience.) And that since then I had seen no evidence to make me believe that he had developed any food allergies (or any other allergies). Then he goes on to tell me that food “sensitivity” tests are not scientific. Isn’t it funny how they seem to be accurate for so many kids, though? I mean, they stop eating the foods these unscientific tests say are a problem and they start feeling better.

Me: “So you’re saying you can’t help me. I specifically asked when I made the appointment if you do blood tests for food-sensitivity here so I wouldn’t pay my co-pay only to find out you can’t do what I want. So I’ve waited 40 minutes for you to come in here and tell me now that you can’t do it?”

Doctor: “You can’t expect the staff to know the difference between allergies and sensitivities.” Really? The staff at an allergist’s office doesn’t understand the terminology of allergies and sensitivities? And he was going to educate *me*?

Me: “Maybe you should educate your staff, then. If you can’t help me, we’re leaving. I’m sorry I wasted your time.”

Doctor: “You aren’t wasting my time.”

Me: “Well, you’re wasting mine.”

Doctor, as he jerks open the door: “You need to get a new attitude.” Probably, but I hadn’t said anything rude to him at that point, so this was really inappropriate.

Me: “No, I need to get a new doctor. And I want my co-pay back since I was told before I made the appointment that your office could do what I specifically asked about and now you tell me you can’t.”

Doctor: “You’re not getting your co-pay back after the significant time I spent with you.”

Me: “Significant time? I waited for you for 40 minutes and you were in there for 10 minutes. That’s NOT significant time.”

I left and came home and called the insurance company. Because I did have contact with him, it qualifies as an office visit and we (and they) have to pay. I did, however, file a complaint with the insurance company that will also be filed with the state. I will not mention the doctor’s name here because I’m not sure if there are any legal ramifications of saying something like this about someone in public. These days, who knows? If you’re in the Atlanta area, and you want to avoid this doctor in the future, you can email me (you can email me through my profile) and I’ll give you his name privately.

It’s not that I couldn’t bend him to my will, although Jedi mind tricks would have been handy. It was his rude, patronizing attitude through the whole visit. When are doctors going to acknowledge that you don’t have to be a medical professional to have a brain?

“Say ‘Photosynthesis’.”

This morning, as I do most mornings, I took Bennett with me when I went to wake Jeffrey up. Bennett’s latest obsession is Mr. Potato Head and he can usually be seen carrying various body parts around the house. This morning, he had a nose and eyes. Jeffrey was pretending to be asleep when we went in and Bennett kept poking him on the top of the head with the nose. Jeffrey started giggling and I told him, “Wake up or Bennett’s going to stick an ear in your ear.” Now, right now, Bennett isn’t really talking much. He uses about 10-15 words and most of those are one syllable, so we’re always encouraging him to use new words. Jeffrey looked up and saw that Bennett was actually poking him with the nose. He said, “That’s not an ear. It’s a nose.” Then to Bennett, “Say ‘nose’,” and without skipping a beat, “Say ‘photosynthesis’.”  What did I do for entertainment before I had kids?

Adventures in Potty Land

How many potty-training methods can we use in one day? Apparently, I was trying to set some kind of record today. Bennett just decided suddenly that he was tired of diapers. Works for me. He does great in the morning, then it’s like he gets tired in the afternoon and just doesn’t want to deal with it anymore. (I sound like we’ve been doing this for weeks. Yesterday was his first full day.) So yesterday evening, I bought him two pairs of training pants. I only bought two because I wasn’t sure he would wear them. Jeffrey wouldn’t, but Bennett doesn’t seem to have Jeffrey’s sensory issues. They actually only had the one pack, but I was going to buy more and just open one pack at first. So, I guess that’s really why I only bought two, but whatever…

He stayed dry all night (in a diaper – I’m not tempting fate just yet) and this morning, we headed straight to the potty.  Afterward, I tried to put the training pants on him, but he was having none of that. I told him we weren’t wasting pull-ups and he could either do the training pants or a diaper. He hates diapers now and I didn’t really want to go back and forth anyway, so when he refused the training pants, I decided to try the naked-baby method for a little while. And he did pretty good for a while. Once I heard him run into the bathroom and yell, “Mommy!”, so of course, I followed. Then we had a couple of incidents when he didn’t quite make it. Didn’t seem to be trying to make it, really. Two is my (and the carpet’s) limit for the day, so I told him it was either the diaper or the training pants. He wore the training pants. He also soaked the training pants. We took those off and put the second pair on. When I put the pull-up on him to take Jeffrey to karate two hours later, his pants were still dry. He’s had the pull-ups on since 4:30; it’s 9:30 now and he’s still dry. Yay!

So we did nekky-baby, training pants and pull-ups all in one day. And he seems to have survived it. And we still have that early afternoon window when he won’t use the potty. I have no idea what that’s about. But all-in-all, it’s much easier when the kid decides it’s time to ditch the diapers. Not that I know any other way. Jeffrey did it on his own too, although he was closer to 2 1/2. But really, months potty-training or a couple of weeks? Seems like an easy choice to me. Just wait until the kid’s ready.

Why Do We Need Thumbs Anyway?

I remember one of my elementary school teachers taping our thumbs down so we could see how hard it is to function without them. I don’t remember which grade it was, so I don’t know which teacher, but that was one of those hands-on (pardon the pun) things I enjoyed and remember from school. Jeffrey asked me a few weeks ago, “Why do we need thumbs anyway?” I tried to explain to him, but he wasn’t convinced. We were in the car (why do they always ask the good questions in the car where you can’t look things up?) so I couldn’t do more than that. Today, it was actually part of his science lesson. We don’t do all the experiments, and we laughed and joked about this one. He was convinced that we don’t need our thumbs for anything and I told him that, in that case, it wouldn’t matter if they were taped down. He argued that he “might” need them. We went back and forth and he finally decided to do it. It took him about three seconds to decide he might need those thumbs after all.

Have you ever tried to use a mouse without your thumbs?

Of course, Bennett had to get in on the action. That lasted about three seconds, too. I didn’t try to tape his thumbs down. I just lightly put a piece of tape on his hand. He didn’t approve.

Then we went into the playroom so Jeffrey could try the MegaBlocks. (Jeffrey has oodles of real Legos, but in the interest of the baby not eating the toys, we’re using MegaBlocks right now.) Putting them together wasn’t much of a problem, but taking them apart was. Too bad I missed that shot. He was using his feet.

I reminded him that he wouldn’t be able to play video games without his thumbs. “That’s right! I could use my pointer fingers – or index fingers – but it would be a lot harder.” And even after all that, when we took the tape off, he said, “I still don’t see why we need thumbs.” *sigh*

An Up-and-Down Kind of Day

I don’t even know where to start. I usually have some sort of plan when I start writing, but tonight, I just needed to write. It’s been an up-and-down day. My mom called this morning to tell me that my dad has Hodgkin’s Lymphoma. Almost exactly a year ago, he was diagnosed with colon cancer. After chemo, radiation, surgery and more chemo (and I think more radiation), he was recently pronounced cancer free. Except now he’s not. The doctor says this is much less serious than the colon cancer and that they’ve caught it early enough that they can treat it with more chemo. Oh, well, goody. Don’t get me wrong, I’m glad they believe it can be taken care of. My dad isn’t even 60 yet, and he has two grandsons to watch grow up. Not to mention that I’ve always been a “Daddy’s girl” and I’m pretty fond of him. I’m just irritated that they’re throwing more chemo at this. One of the causes of Hodgkin’s is a weakened immune system. There aren’t many things that weaken an immune system more than chemotherapy. So I’m back to feeling helpless and mad and too far away. I’m in Georgia and my parents are in Arkansas.

On the up side, for several days, Bennett has been stripping off his clothes, including his diaper, so he can sit on his potty seat. He only does it once day and he only sits, but I’m a “he’ll start using the potty when he’s ready” kind of parent, so I wasn’t worried about it. I’m more concerned with the mess I’ll have to clean up if he’s not sitting on the potty or wearing a diaper when his lunch reappears, if you know what I mean. This afternoon, he did his strip act and brought me the diaper, which I thought was considerate of him. He got his step-stool and his potty seat and his big brother and climbed onto the seat. He usually just sits there for a few minutes then comes to me to get dressed again. I walked in there to check on him then started to leave the bathroom. Jeffrey said, “Aren’t you going to attend to him? Someone has to.” (Yes, my 8-year-old really talks like that. He talked like that when he was 3.) Since Jeffrey was already dressed for karate, and I was still in my pajamas, I told him I had to get dressed and he could do it. Before I even made it to the bedroom door, Jeffrey was yelling, “He’s doing it! He’s doing it!” I ran back in and he really was! Of course, we made a big deal about it and called Jay to tell him. I have no idea if he knew he needed to go or if it just happened while he was there. We’ll just have to wait and see. But it was still his first time. So that was fun.

A Hypocritical Oath

After I published yesterday’s post, my conscience, or sense of fair play, or maybe it’s just my nit-picky perfectionism… something kicked in. Not long ago, I wrote about not judging others from one snapshot of their life – including a facebook status. I don’t take back anything I said and reading those statuses did make me sad for both the parents and the children. But I can’t assume from one comment that a parent doesn’t enjoy their children. I don’t hold any comments against anyone personally, and in fact, I don’t even remember which parents posted those statuses.

If you were one of those parents, you may want to consider how your public comments sound to others and even how your children would feel if they read or heard about them, even if you love spending every moment with them. If you really don’t enjoy your children, I truly feel sorry for you and them. Our children are our greatest gift.

But… I *like* my kids…

I’ve tried not to “go there” on this blog. “There” being any thing controversial. Sure, I posted about racism, but where’s the controversy there? If you’re racist, you’re an idiot and how many people go around bragging about being an idiot? But I noticed a trend last year on facebook. I ignored it (mostly) and posted on a private group when I couldn’t ignore it anymore. I never made any comments on facebook. Then I decided that my opinion and feelings are just that: mine. That doesn’t mean you have to agree or feel the same.

So this year when school started, so did all the statuses proclaiming to everyone they know that some mothers were thrilled school was finally starting back so they could get rid of their kids. Seriously. That’s when I decided I should be able to share my opinion without worrying about offending anyone. I’m not talking about homeschooling vs. public schooling here. That has absolutely nothing to do with this post.

I also have several friends who were excited when school let out for the summer and were sad when school started again because they had enjoyed their time with their kids over the summer. I *loved* seeing those posts. I don’t care if you send your kids to school. That’s your right to choose and not even the issue here. But why would you even have kids (especially more than one) if you can’t stand to be around them? That’s the impression you’re giving everyone when you announce that the kids are back in school with the same enthusiasm you’d announce that you won the lottery. What message are you sending your kids? I sincerely hope none of the kids mentioned ever saw their mom’s facebook posts, but even if they didn’t, they probably pick up on the feelings. Do you really want your kids feel like they’re an intrusion in your life and you’re happier when you don’t have to be around them?

I like a break as much as anyone. Jeffrey was in Mom’s Morning Out two days a week for three years when he was a toddler/preschooler. It was as much for him to be around as other kids as it was to give me some time on my own. We’re still discussing putting Bennett in a MMO program. Jay frequently takes the boys out for the day on a Saturday and I stay home so I can have a little quiet to get some things done. Or nothing done. But at least it’s quiet.

I’m not a saint or Super-Mom. I’m just a mom like everyone else. And with a *very* busy and opinionated 2-year-old and an 8-year-old with Asperger’s, sometimes I get tired and frustrated and I enjoy some time on my own. In fact, I had to stop in the middle of writing this post to referee. But most of the time, I’m happy to spend time around my kids, because -gasp- I actually *like* my kids.