This blog is my place to vent and share resources with other parents of children of trauma. I try to be open and honest about my feelings in order to help others know they are not alone. Therapeutic parenting of adopted teenagers with RAD and other severe mental illnesses and issues (plus "neurotypical" teens) , is not easy, and there are time when I say what I feel... at the moment. We're all human!

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Going to the doctor with Bear

Bear called me at 7am stating that his hand was "distorted and purple" and he needed to go to the doctor. His friend would take him to school, but didn't have the gas money to drop him off at our house for me to take him in for an appointment. I discovered that he'd injured his hand on Thursday (5 days before!), but he hadn't bothered to tell us or show us when he'd picked up his meds Friday or Monday night (Grandma didn't know any better and let him take most of his weekend meds on Friday - Hubby and I were in Houston when he dropped by to pick them up). He said he hadn't mentioned it because it was "fine" most of the time, but it "fluctuated." It just really hurt this morning.

On the way to the school to pick him up as arranged, I called the doctor's office and the earliest I could get an appointment wasn't until after 11am. So he'd have plenty of time to go to first period of the day, Philosophy, which he's failing... but he'd decided he "couldn't make it." He did look exhausted. He told me he wasn't sleeping well (denied it later to the doctor though).

He also said we "should probably talk," but didn't say much, except to ramble about "getting a fresh start" in Hawaii*. He pointed out he’s been gone for 3 weeks and is doing OK… then just dropped the conversation. Later he was "bragging" that he'd made $147 this week (which he was using to pay for rent and gas money to his work). I pointed out that if he didn’t have health insurance (Medicaid) this visit to the doctor would have cost well over $300.

After looking at his hand, I could tell it hurt, but it didn't seem anything like he'd described, "broken, purple and distorted..." I insisted he put ice on it (he didn't like that because it made it hurt - doctor later told him to put ice on it 2-3 times a day even though it hurt a little at first. I really liked this new doctor!). The nurse asked him if he was coming in for "that old injury."

Bear told me the school athletic trainer had reset it when he did it on Thursday (apparently fooling around with friends and it got slammed in a car door), and it had had to be reset again later... I have no idea whether that was true. He claimed sometimes it hurt and sometimes it was better and that was not why he did not tell me sooner.

He told the school nurse that he hadn't eaten since making a steak lunch for his girlfriend on Sunday (this was Tuesday morning!) so I said we'd stop by the house and pick up some food since we had plenty of time before going to the doctor. He refused, claiming he wasn't hungry in the morning. So I figured if we weren't going home, then I've been putting off going grocery shopping for over a week, and asked if he was OK with that. He agreed so we did a major shopping trip.

During the shopping trip, Bear started to ask me for vitamins to make up for the food he’s not eating (apparently someone is telling him he might be anemic?), but we got interrupted by the mom of one of Ponito's friends – I did bring it up again and tell him he already takes a multi vitamin.

We got back to the house and he helped unload groceries without my having to ask (he likes to carry in as many bags as possible). Then while I unpacked the groceries, he continued texting who knows how many people, like he'd been doing most of the time in the store and car, then fell asleep. I got him to drink a yogurt drink on the way out the door, and after the doctor appointment, on the way to get x-rays, I stopped by a fast food restaurant and bought him a meal... but he didn't finish all of it.

He reeks of cigarettes. When the nurse asked if he smoked, he replied, "No," and I made a derisive noise. After the nurse left, he asked why I'd laughed and I said, "Because you told her you don't smoke." He said, "I don't smoke. I just dip." {I already knew this, but still, Eewww!!} I told him that I know that's not true, and he paused (probably trying to figure out how I knew) and then said, "Well, smoking every now and then doesn't count." I assured him that yes, it does count, and the correct response would have been, "Yes, occasionally." We talked briefly about asthma, the effect of smoking on his nerves/ pain, how bad it is for the body...

Scariest part of the visit?! He's lost 18lbs in 3 weeks!!! We talked about how important eating is for his meds to work, for him to stay healthy, for his overworked kidneys to get what they need... and how weight loss this rapid could be a sign there's something wrong. Once I pointed out the weigh loss to the doctor (who's never seen him before), she became concerned about his weight loss too (although she mentioned it wasn't all bad since he was very overweight before), and seemed to focus in on it possibly being due to an increase in his Conc*rta (which can inhibit appetite) or depression.

She recommended a finger splint (didn't have time to go home and get one), an x-ray (should get results back tomorrow morning), moving up his next psychiatrist appointment (appointment on Thursday afternoon - don't know if I can get him to miss work or taking Senior Pictures, which he'd hoped to schedule for that day). She also fussed at him a little for not taking care of himself and questionned him about why he'd moved out of the house. {Yea!}

I got him back to school just in time for him to go to "work." He didn't come by and pick up his meds this evening.

I hate this. I'm still stressed from dealing with him all day.

*Hawaii - Bear told me he wants a “fresh start” - Is thinking about moving to Hawaii after graduation to “work for a landscaping company”that might want to hire him. Says it’s $1500 for rent/ $500 utilities. After questioning what he needed a "fresh start from?" (no answer), I pointed out he didn’t add food into the equation (expensive!) and a plane ticket out there.

He was asking if the SSI would transfer to Hawaii. I informed him that if he has a job (that makes more than $650/mo) he can’t get SSI. If he doesn’t have SSI or a full-time job with health insurance, then he can't afford meds (which are over $2K a month, and even with just co-pays would be prohibitive). No answer.


jwg said...

Just out of curiosity here-- What is the legal situation with Bear? Can you have him declared incompetent and have yourselves made guardians? Would you want to do that if you could?

marythemom said...

jwg - Bear's IQ is low average. He will probably qualify for SSI when he turns 19 and is considered a legal adult by the state that provices his adoption subsidy (at which point it stops), because he is severely mentally ill and not mentally competent to MAINTAIN a job.

However, his psychiatrist is very conservative and will NOT sign any papers saying he's incompetent (required for legal guardianship). The pdoc suggested waiting to pick up the pieces after Bear falls on his face (assuming there are any left).

Therefore we can't get legal guardianship. Do we want it? I don't know. We've gone back and forth about it alot (see past blog posts). Probably it's not what's best for the family.