Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Some of what you've missed

The kids are on spring break this week.

And sadly, all of Joseph's friends are out of town, making for a somewhat quiet few days.

To remedy this situation, we're heading out tomorrow for an impromptu visit to Chicago. Three days of traipsing around our old neighborhood, of taking in some sights... Millennium Park, the Art Institute, the Lincoln Park Zoo. Oh yes, and eating awesome Thai food, maybe some sushi.

It's gonna be great.

Now, while I'm here... I realize my posting has fallen way the heck off. And I'm sorry.


I can't make any promises, but if you're still out there reading, I will try to post more often.

In the meantime, a few short updates:

The shoulder is better -- much better. Not a hundred percent, but I made about 20 "backboard shots" playing one-on-one with Joseph on our driveway yesterday.

So, yeah.

The job has been crazy, but still pretty great.

Parenting a teenager has been a learning experience for us all. Sometimes it feels like I'm parenting two teenagers, Evan is just that savvy.

And then there's the diabetes.

Still there, still throwing us curves every once in a while. But (thankfully) nothing like it did this past fall.

Joseph continues to take ownership of more and more of his diabetes management. Last night, for example, when he finished eating a big plate of pesto pasta, he got up and cleared his plate while Ryan, Evan and I were all still eating. I turned to remind him to bolus, but before the words got out of my mouth, I saw him leaning over the kitchen counter, diabetes supplies laid out in front of him.

"What are you doing, Bud?"

"Oh, it's a set change day... I'm just gonna put in a new set before I bolus."

"Good thinking, Bud-- nice job."

"Mom, I'm getting pretty good at this stuff, you know."

"Yes, you are," I said. "And I'm getting pretty good at sitting on my hands."

At that, his head came right up-- and then, flashing me that wonderful grin of his:

"Yes-- yes, you are."

To fill in still more gaps, I thought I'd share some images/a bit of video footage from this fall and winter -- for example, giving you all a glimpse of what the kids wore on Halloween, a peek at some night sledding on this year's backyard hill, my fabulous makeover... and really, just how much the kids have grown over the last six months.


Monday, March 22, 2010

In which we frighten one of Joseph's friends

"Mom, Liam doesn't think you like him."

"Bud, why would he think that? I don't even know him."

"Remember when you met him at the high school orientation night, when I was kidding with him and said, 'Dude, my mom doesn't like you'... well I think that's why."

Then Joseph's eyes take on a slightly evil glint. "Hey, I have an idea... since Liam's coming over after school tomorrow, why don't you act like you really don't like him? It'll be funny."

"I don't know, Bud... "

"C'mon, Mom-- it'll be funny."

So the next day, I'm heading up our block on the way to get Evan after school when I spot Joseph and Liam walking toward me.

"Hey Bud," I say, then turning to his friend, "Hello-- Liam," I spit out, before turning my head quickly away -- like I just smelled something really bad.

When I turn back toward the boys, Liam's blue eyes are huge; his face, drawn up in fear.

"Liam, hey.... I was just kidding."

Even though his expression melts into one full of relief, I immediately regret our little prank.

"Mom, don't worry," Joseph says, noting my concern, "I told him you were gonna do that when we saw you coming-- but you were really convincing. That was great!"

So we all have a good laugh before going our separate ways.

Fast forward to one week later -- the morning after Liam has his first sleepover at our house.

I come downstairs to the smell of fresh coffee, orange pancakes and bacon. Ryan is standing in the middle of the kitchen, spatula in hand, yuckin' it up with Joseph and Liam as both boys sit at the counter, ready for another round of pancakes.

"So Liam, how did you sleep?"

He looks up at me as if at a loss for words.

Then they all start laughing.

"What? What?"

"Okay, so I go in to check the boy last night," Ryan begins, "and remember how he sat up a few nights ago when I was checking him-- he wasn't awake, but he kept pulling away like he didn't know what I was doing?"

"Oh no," I say.

He smiles and continues.

"Well, last night I reach up to the top bunk, take Joseph's hand-- and he pulls it away. I try again, and he says, 'please... please... stop!' I finally grab hold of it a third time and tell him, 'Mister, I have to check you.' That's when he sits up and I see his face."

"It was Liam," I say.

Absolutely horrified.

Quickly I look down at the boys and (thank god) they're both laughing.

"Oh, Ryan-- how could you make that mistake?"

"I know," he says, shaking his head, "I just forgot the boy was in the bottom bunk."

Later, I ask Joseph if his friend was really okay.

"Mom, he's fine."

"And how do you feel? I mean, do you feel bad or embarrassed about what happened?"

"No, Mom. Not at all. Actually it gave us a funny story to tell... believe me, it's all good."

I'm glad they found it funny. But still, what Liam must have thought when Ryan came at him with that lancet...

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Spring Thaw

Wow... three months. I can't believe it's been that long.

Well, we're still here -- and it looks like we've made it through yet another Wisconsin winter. The sun is shining, it's 60 degrees, and (Hallelujah!) I can move my arm again -- still limited, but way, way better than when I last posted to the blog.

Look how high I can reach with that arm... Hurray!

This, despite one major setback in early January.

When my insurance company decided that because I wasn't making "significant progress" with each and every visit to physical therapy, these visits now fell under the category of "maintenance" -- and as such, would no longer be covered by our plan.

No. Way.

So this is what went down: I called my case manager, and within two minutes discovered she was clueless about adhesive capsulitis (aka "frozen shoulder"). I'd barely hung up the phone when I was back on with my orthopedic specialist and PT.

Both wrote letters educating her about the condition; explaining that progress is slow and physical therapy, crucial.

And then I waited.

Four weeks.

During which time I experienced much regression (i.e., more pain, less motion).

Until finally, I called my case manager yet again:

"Have you received the letters from my doctor and physical therapist?" I ask her.

"No, I don't believe we've received any letters... but let me take a look."

"Wait a minute-- these were sent over three weeks ago."

The sound of paper shuffling on the other end.

"Oh yes, here they are.... hmmm... we'll have to review these and get back to you."

"Get back to me!? It's been FOUR WEEKS! And this thing is getting worse-- again! I'm back to waking up every night in pain... "

And then I just lose it.

"... I can't reach my back pocket! I can barely dress myself... this is INSANE! I've had this thing since early fall, finally get the right diagnosis, finally start making progress... and now because of some arbitrary decision -- a decision my DOCTOR does NOT agree with -- I'm back to where I was in November." I pause, tears now streaming into the receiver.

Silence. No response.

So I continue.

"What is your FULL name? I want to know exactly who is responsible for this decision."

"I-I... well... um... I will walk your file down for review right now," the case manager says. "I'll write 'priority' on it."

And then she pauses for maybe a second before saying, "I'm so sorry."

The next morning I get a call from my PT.

"Sandra, your insurance company just faxed approval for another 12 visits. We're back in business!"

So there you have it.

Six weeks later, I'm still doing my exercises, still going to PT-- which continues to be ridiculously painful (but I get back a little range of motion with each visit, so it's unbelievably worth it), and according to my doc, I am now in the third and final stage of this thing-- the thawing phase.

Hurray, indeed.