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Tuesday, March 31, 2009

All better!

The girls and I are finally over the nasty flu and stomach virus that we had for the last three weeks or so. Yay! Hopefully we will stay well for quite some time.

Celest is still on a doodling rampage, drawing on any and every available surface. She even drew on the toilet paper holder. She enjoys drawing on paper towels too. The other morning I went to the kitchen and found a big smiley-faced guy on a piece of paper towel with the word "HAPPY" next to him. Maybe that was for my benefit, so I wouldn't ask her what the picture was. That ticks her off sometimes.

Lotus has been doing better with walking without slumping to the ground, which is great. She still does it a little though.

I've been able to take the girls grocery shopping with me the last two weeks which is also great. I was getting tired of not being able to take them to the store or anywhere else for that matter.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Since I've been gone...

I haven't posted in a while due to a slew of personal *junk* going on in my life. Here's a rundown of the fun I've been having:

* I stayed up until about 5 am working and going to the bathroom (which, with IBS, can be a time consuming thing) on a Wednesday morning. I had to get back up at 7 something to put Celest on the school bus, then put Lotus on her bus at 8:40-ish. After that I decided that I was going to take a nap before I had to leave for work in the afternoon (I had more work to do at home for the job and I had to both tutor and go to a Spinning class). Just as I was nodding off, maybe around 9:30 am, I heard someone beating on my front door. And I mean "beating", not knocking. I was really tired, so I thought hell I'm not answering it. The "knocking" stopped for about half a minute then started back up. I got a bit scared then, as I've never had anyone knock on my door like that.

I got out of bed and peeked out of my window. There wasn't a car parked in my driveway, nor was there one parked alongside the road or even directly across the road from my house. I went back to bed. Then the beating on the door started back up. It was on/off for 5-10 minutes. I didn't really have a good sensee of the time since I was sleepy, but it was definitely in the several minute range. My home phone and cell phone continued to ring like crazy as well. I didn't recognize the number, so I didn't answer it. I figured if it was important they'd leave a message. Well, I finally fell asleep, and I didn't wake up until about 2 pm.

I saw that my mom had tried to call, so I called her back. She said that a man from the Attorney General's office had called my brother's house (the guy thought it was my dad he had called, since they have the same name). My brother isn't one to be pushed around, and I surmise that they didn't have a very cordial conversation. Anyway, without even knowing exactly who he was talking to, the guy said that he was a special investigator and that Laura was being investigated for Medicaid fraud.

My brother asked how he got his phone number, since it is listed in his wife's name. My brother specifically asked if he obtained the number from my phone records and the guy said that he did. I checked my voicemail messages after I got off of the phone with my mom; the guy had left 2 or 3 messages on my cell phone and 2 or 3 on my home phone. That, in addition to beating on my door (and I later discovered, thanks to the snow we had just gotten, that he walked around the side of my house to see if he could see me through my windows!).

When I called him he immediately asked if he could call me back in two minutes. He did, but my phone didn't pick up correctly for some reason, so I called him back. He then asked me to call him back on his office phone. He said that he needed to talk to me about the Medicaid services that my daughters receive. I asked if he needed to see me at my house or if I should come to his office; that's when he said that he had already been at my house but I "obviously" wasn't home.

I told him that I was home, but that I had worked all night so I was sleeping. I assume that this was so he could record our conversation. Still, all he said was that it was regarding the services my daughters receive. I can only assume that it's something bad, because I've never known a government agency to call me up just to see if I'm satisfied with how they are providing services.

The investigator also called my service coordinator through MRDD (who, by the way, called my therapists. He called my therapists and tried to get one of them to meet with him to talk (why he couldn't do this over the phone I don't know). He also threatened to subpoena one of them (this because she was at work and told him that she'd call him back later when she had the time to talk). He also told one of the therapists that it wasn't illegal for her to disclose that he had contacted her, but he'd really appreciate it if she didn't tell me that he had. So, evidentally, it is okay for everyone but me to know that I am under investigation.

Flash forward two months: the case is closed and I was found to have done nothing wrong. I had a face to face interview with the investigator the week after we had our phone call. I was told that I had a complaint filed against me by someone in January of last year. I have a couple ideas of who might have done it. If they would happen to read this I'd like them to remember one thing: karma can be a real b*tch. At least, I fervently hope so! I think that in the past ten years I've paid off anything bad that I've done. (maybe it's just my liberal sense of entitlement, but I really hope some good things start heading my way!)

I was also told that my house was under surveillance for the past year and that they'd be checking my provider time sheets to see if they matched up with the comings and goings of my daughters' therapists. I really think this was a scare tactic because I really don't think the government would invest that kind of time and money into a small case like mine.

Oh, and for the "funny" file: the Attorney General who was in office when my case supposedly began had very recently resigned over sexual harrassment and ethics charges, as well as several others in the top personnel of the office. The business card I was given didn't even have the new AG's info. on it because the changes had been so recent.

* I have been training for a figure competition, but due to training and dieting mishaps I've had to push that back. I was pretty bummed at first, but I'm continuing my training and diet now with a new goal date: May 30! The real kicker is that for the two weeks that I was unable to workout due to the flu I gained about five pounds. :( I can't see my six pack anymore (well, I can see the outer line, but not the inner divisions or the slight definition of my obliques that were beginning to peak through!). I'm not too thrilled about this, but what I am going to do? Other than start back up with training and strict dieting, which I have.

*I've been sick almost non-stop for the past two months. Stress has caused my IBS to be really bad. It's hard to get anything done when you spend a quarter of your day in the bathroom and another quarter lying around being miserable and unable to concentrate on anything other than your cramping stomach and moody pre-teen children (see puberty post!). Right as my stomach was starting to become more managable I got a nasty flu. First Lotus got sick with an earache and fever, then I started getting achy and congested, and finally Celest started feeling sick. We all ended up with a fever for at least four days. The girls both missed five days of school. I missed work for a week and ended up staying pretty sick for eleven days. :( I am still fighting off a sinus infection that resulted from the flu congestion. My left sinus is prone to getting infected, and I'm hoping that over the counter meds can keep the inflammation down so that it can clear up on its own. If not I'll have to take antibiotics, and that'll get my IBS all funked up again. Argh!

* Celest scratched her eye, I think with a pointer that is used for group reading (a plastic stick with a hand / pointy index finger on the end), on a Sunday evening. Her eye was a little red when I sent her to school on Monday. School starts around 9:00 in the morning, and at 9:06 I received a call from the school nurse. She told me that Celest was acting as if she was in great pain. Also she didn't think that Celest was going to be able to focus on her work. I talked her into waiting to see how Celest would do before I went to pick her up. She agreed after some silence. In an hour I received a call that I should pick her up as she was rubbing her eye continuously, seemed in pain, and wasn't able to concentrate on her work.

When I went to the classroom to pick her up, Celest was happily working with her teacher, not touching her eye. Her teacher said that she hadn't personally seen her touch or bother her eye at all. Hmm... Why wasn't I surprised?

The trip to the doctor was the usual frustrating experience. You'd think that a doctor we'd seen before at a practice where we've been seen for the past six years would remember that my daughter has autism. Well, you'd have thought wrong.

The doctor approached her with his light to look at her eye and talked to her as he would any child. My child responded in her typical fashion; she hid her eye and tried to get away from him. He turned to me and said, "She has a problem?" I was thinking, yeah, apparently you are her problem, but I said, "Yes, she has autism." His response was, "Well, you need to tell me these things." I played it off with a light comment, but I was thinking that the chart he had in his hands just a minute before could have apprised him of this fact if his memory didn't.

I held Celest's arms so that she couldn't swat away the light, but she decided to try to kick his seat, which had wheels, away. He went flying backwards and I thought she'd kicked him or the seat really hard. Turns out he was just trying to protect his man-bits in a theatrical move that belied his years.

He then told Celest that if she didn't let him look at her eye he would just send up to the opthamologist. Passing the buck or idly threatening? I don't know, but I was thinking that he maybe should've been worried about someone else harming his delicate spot because I was getting pretty tired of things.

I should probably mention at this point something that happened while we were waiting to be seen: Celest had an accident and soiled her panties (no, it wasn't pee) a little. I had to take her to the bathroom and clean her up. I didn't have spare undies so she had to go commando until we got home. She wasn't too happy about this, so by the time the doctor showed up she was already getting a "mood" worked up.

Anyway, we got a prescription for antibiotic drops and her eye cleared up within two days. Maybe it would've anyway, but who knows?

Anyway, that's the abbreviated version of the fun the girls and I have been up to. Yes, there's been plenty more that I don't feel like talking about. Grrr...

TV Monster

This picture is of a "tv monster". It is also a girl. In addition to the other symptoms of puberty I talked about earlier, Celest seems to have had a huge surge in creativity and her desire to express it. The past weekend she's been on an art binge: she's drawn literally hundreds of pictures. Mostly they are animals, monsters, light bulbs, food, cowboys, and pop (Pepsi and "red" pop). She sometimes labels her pictures, and I have to be delicate when I ask her what she's written if it isn't spelled right. She gets a bit offended when I ask her what something says (or what it is for that matter).

She spelled Pepsi something like this: peecisee. That's not exactly it, but I didn't keep that drawing so I can't check. I feel bad getting rid of her work, but I already have a box full of the girls' older art projects from school and home in addition to several folders and piles of newer works.

Lotus isn't much interested in drawing yet, but it is an emerging interest. She mainly likes to obliterate whatever is on a page by drawing thick lines over its entire surface. Sometimes she will draw little shapes though. She hates fine motor work, so she tires quickly of controlling the writing instrument in an intentional pattern (yes, she hates writing as well!).

Anyway, enjoy the TV Monster girl with her anarchy symbol for a nose!

The Three P's of Puberty: Pimples, Pubes, and PMS

I've been treated to some of the initial signs of puberty over the last few years, but they seem to be picking up in frequency and quantity lately. I can't say that I'm too excited about this. The girls are going to turn eleven this summer; I was desperately hoping that they'd be "late bloomers" and maybe not start these things until around sixteen or so. No such luck.

The first two P's are pretty self explanatory, but PMS is a little more complicated. I always thought of the more concrete symptoms, like cramping, bloating, extra pimples, and grouchiness. Watching one of my daughters, who seems to be having a harder time with things, I started remembering all of the other symptoms: crying for little or no reason, getting really ticked off for little or no reason, lying around not wanting to move or do anything, and craving salty snack foods.

Since I share lots of personal info about my daughters, I'll share some about me too (I'm not much for secrets- my memory isn't that good and I just don't see the point in keeping secrets about some things...). I have been on depo provera for about ten years now, and, as a side effect, I haven't had a period in about nine years. I only have PMS every three months when it is about time for me to get my next injection. Even then the symptoms are much milder than they were when I was having a regular cycle.

So, I'm relearning and remembering the less palatable symptoms as I watch my daughters struggle with them. It's hard enough to explain to a ten year old what is going on in her body and the changes she'll have to adapt to for the next forty-plus years; when those ten-year-olds have autism (one is non-verbal) and have difficulty with abstract concepts it is even more challenging.