About Me

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I am a below knee amputee. More importantly, I am also Mommy to two boys, a very active 10 year old (Robby) and an mischievous toddler (Timmy). I have learned that being a parent with a disability can create some unusual and sometimes humorous situations. This blogger is available for hire! Let's talk and learn how a blog can expand your business.

Friday, February 28, 2014

Haggling Dentist

Before Scott's recent dental drama, I never realized the frustrations that can arise when working with a dentist. I don't remember the behind closed doors negotiations occurring between my Mom and my childhood dentist as I faced a root canal, cavities etc..  When Robby and I go to the dentist, I have always felt that it was a professional medical exchange.  Scott's dentist puts all of my previously held beliefs to the test. Sitting in her office and listening to her lay out an extensive dental plan, I felt like I was haggling with a used car salesperson instead of seeking dental care.

I appreciate that she is trying to make money for her business. I understand that she is not in the dental profession out of some philanthropic need to improve the smiles in the world. For her, dental care is strictly a business transaction.

I tried to maintain an open mind as she laid out the dental care plan for my husband, but I have to admit that my eyes kept wandering towards the final figure at the bottom of the page. Nearly $18,000, out-of-pocket, to bring his teeth up to her standards. $18,000-wow. I just could not move beyond that final number.

Her plan included many items which I consider to be unnecessary. I love my husband dearly, but braces for him is not a top priority. Of course, it took my persistent cross-examination questioning before she finally admitted that her "teeth moving" recommendation equated to braces. Her rationale, which she maintained each time I scoffed at braces, was that he deserved an "awesome smile."

She also recommended that he have his wisdom teeth removed because they "weren't going to grow and were not doing him any good." The fact that they were not causing any harm was a fact that she was reluctant to admit. After enduring the week long turmoil of simply getting him to face his dentist phobia, I can only imagine what would happen if he required true dental surgery. She knows of his fears, so in my opinion recommending a procedure which was not absolutely necessary surpassed insensitive and bordered on cruel. 

After listening to her lay out her extensive plan to achieve the "awesome smile," Scott was pale and dumbstruck. I finally broke the silence by stating that we were going to have to prioritize and whittle down the list. At this juncture she looked at me square in eyes and accused me of not valuing my husband's medical care. Needless to say, that did not sit well with this hot-headed hormonal woman. 

To my credit, I remained non-confrontational but insistent that the list would have to be prioritized. She continued with her sales pitch, urging Scott to commit to her plan because "prices were going to increase next month and it would be more expensive if we didn't begin work immediately." Needless to say, any professional respect she had been afforded evaporated in that moment. 

We left the office with her proposal and without signing any authorization to begin work. I've been actively searching for a new dentist, somebody who will not try to push unnecessary and expensive services simply because they have the ability. We need somebody whom we can respect and whom I trust is recommending procedures because they are truly needed and not because they need to pay a car payment.  I worry that I might be embarking on mission impossible.

Thursday, February 27, 2014

Officially a Hockey Mom

Monday evening was a big night in our house because Robby finally had an official try-out for the youth hockey team. He has been working towards this goal for the past two years, starting with the Snowplow Sam classes where he learned to balance on the ice. Looking at him skate now it is hard to remember those his first tentative trials on the ice.  In preparation for his try-out, he has been taking the "learn to play hockey" classes for the past year. Scott and I both tried to diminish the pressures, but I knew that Robby had his heart set on finally making the team. By the time he was dressed and took the ice for the try-out, I have to admit that he was more comfortable and confident than his parents.

Scott and I may have been nervous, but Robby was cool as a cucumber as he skated. Although he prefers playing defense, he even managed to score twice during the scrimmage. Incidentally, everybody at the rink knew when Robby scored because he enthusiastically screamed "yee haw" each time. The smile on Robby's face after his brief conference with the coach immediately set my worries at bay. As he triumphantly skated towards us, we knew that he had finally made the team.

With the coach's nod and after I wrote the check for the fees, Robby officially became a hockey player. After going out for a celebratory ice cream cone and calling his Nana, we were on our way home. Of course we had to stop and tell Mr. Bill the good news on the way. Robby went to bed smiling and was still grinning from ear to ear when I peeked in on him early the next morning.

At school on Tuesday Robby told everybody and anybody who would listen that he had made the hockey team. Unbeknownst to Robby, his teacher was planning a class congratulatory celebration for him on Wednesday. I love that his new school is so supportive of the students! That night I made cupcakes for him to share with his classmates, but he remained completely oblivious to the fact that there was going to be a party in his honor.  I suppose we take in treats so often that this gesture did not raise suspicions.

When I picked up Robby yesterday afternoon he was overwhelmed with excitement over his surprise party. His classmates gave him cards, his teacher presented him with a little certificate, and his accomplishment was celebrated by everybody. He was overjoyed that his friends were so happy that he had made the team! 

Robby has been smiling since Monday night, and I'm fairly sure it won't fade for awhile.  I'm so proud of him. I never imagined I would be this excited to be a full-fledged hockey mom.

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Victory was Mine!

With all of my recent health complications, the issue of fighting my insurance appeal has been relegated to nuisance status. Although I remain annoyed that I was denied, and even more outraged by my conversation with Elsie (my insurance adjustor), I simply haven't had the reserves to invest a lot of mental energy into fueling my ire. The fact that I haven't spent a lot of time stewing over the issue is in no way a reflection on my willingness to fight the battle. We prepared a textbook appeal providing Elsie with ironclad rebuttals to all of her denial points. Once the paperwork was submitted, I was able to put the denial out of my mind and began to focus on more pressing issues.

Of course, much of my ability to put the prosthetic denial on the back burner of my worry-list lies with the benevolence of Elliot, my prosthetist. Knowing that I was uncomfortable, he went ahead and built me a socket to fit my new pregnancy shape.  If I had spent the past few weeks trying to make due with a painful socket, I'm sure that my insurance battle would have remained at the forefront of my thoughts. I am grateful that he provided me with the tools that I need to continue to live a pain-free existence, but the fact that he had to proceed without authorization is a sign that the system is broken.

Yesterday afternoon I received a call from Elsie. Seeing the caller ID, I took a deep breath and vowed to remain calm. Our last exchange did not end constructively with my responding to her request that I abstain from procreating with a not-so-polite suggestion that she refrain from being a heartless b*tch. Don't get me wrong, I don't regret my suggestion. But I do wish that I had remained some level of professionalism during our exchange. Resorting to juvenile name calling is never productive although sometimes it is cathartic!

When I answered the phone and I heard my forced and overly enthusiastic "hello" I realized that I needed to tone it down a bit. I needed to convey myself in cordial professional voice, not a fake Mary Poppins "I want to be your best friend" tone. I really detest this woman, and I find speaking to her in a natural voice almost impossible. After all, how do you converse with somebody whom you wish a lifetime of misery? At that moment, I decided that brevity would be my salvation.

Immediately I could tell that she was more annoyed at having to make the call than I was having to answer the phone. I was quickly informed that my appeal has been accepted and that the new leg was approved. She was sending the paperwork to the facility echoing her verbal approval.  She even complimented the thorough appeal which was submitted.

My heart wanted to gleefully scream "in your face b*tch" but this time I maintained my composure. I thanked her for the information and hung up the phone before she overheard my happy dance tapping through the receiver. Dealing with Elsie is a bear, but I have learned to relish each and every victory. I am not ashamed to admit that envisioning her sitting in her little barren cubicle, alone and slumped over in defeat as she was overwhelmed with feeling the despair which only comes from living a solitary existence, brought me a great deal of pleasure. 

In the battle of the pregnancy leg, victory was mine!

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Sleep Deprived

I have come to the unfortunate conclusion that achieving a good night sleep is something which will occur only in my memories. I have traded my insomnia for discomfort. As soon as the discomfort is resolved, I'll face a new obstacle who will demand to be fed, changed and entertained at the most inopportune hours. 

On the positive side, I no longer wake up because my mind is stirring with overwhelming anxiety. Instead, I am awakened by my bladder. Most pregnant women can just waddle out of bed in a quasi-slumber state and use the restroom, returning to their warm covers and comfortable mattress with ease. I have to put on my liner, which is shockingly cold, and don my leg before walking to the bathroom. By the time I make sure that everything is safe and secure, I am wide awake.

Knowing that I will be fully awake when I finally commit to emptying my bladder, I try to put it off as long as possible. I toss and turn, trying to find a position which helps to minimize the urge. Sometimes it works, but most of the time the movement only results in increasing the urgency. I inevitably end up surrendering and begin the process for wearing my leg. I estimate that I habitually waste 20-30 minutes lamenting and debating the need to get up. 

Moments like these, in the middle of the night when I simply want to sleep, I resent being an amputee. I hate that I have to go through putting on my liner and leg simply because I want to walk. In the scheme of things, I realize that this complaint is trivial. But when I'm sleep deprived, it is a frustrating reality.

Monday, February 24, 2014

Tokens for Quiet

After a rather difficult week health-wise, I was looking forward to spending a Friday evening at home. I wanted nothing more than to slip my leg off, curl on the couch and watch Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs for the 50th time.  Things rarely go as planned. 

It turns out that Friday afternoon was Montessori School Night" at Chuck E. Cheese, and all of Robby's classmates were attending. The excitement of his classmates was palpable, and I knew my evening curled up on the couch was not going to happen! Instead of relaxing at home, I spent the evening in the midst of kids mayhem at Chuck E. Cheese.

While I was sitting in the booth at the chaotic kids paradise, I realized that there were great similarities between the arcade games and me.  Robby fed the games tokens in the hopes of winning some tickets. I constantly fed Robby coins with the goal of achieving continued quiet and peace. A single token only yielded a few tickets for Robby and only supplied me with a mere minute of solitude.

Although spending hours at a pizza arcade was not my preferred activity, Robby had an absolute blast playing with his friends. Keeping him steadily supplied with tokens, I was able to keep my physical activity to a minimum. I wouldn't go so far as to qualify the evening as restful, but I did not end up overexerting myself. In the end, the only thing that really felt the toll of spending hours at Chuck E. Cheese was my bank account.