Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Finding help in a broken system

As many of you know I have kids, who I love more than life itself even when they drive me insane. This blog is about one of my kids...my 15yr old. Now my son is a wonderfully, amazing, loving child who would give the shirt off his back to help everyone. He hates seeing people upset or mad especially at him. My son has Aspergers along with severe depression, adhd and a few other things. He has struggled with these problems for many years and it sucks trying to get him help with a medical system that seems broken with every turn we go. 

We have Tricare(which we pay a premium for) thanks to my husband's military service but Tricare isn't accepted at a lot of doctors office due to their practices of not paying the doctors a fair amount for their services.  Hence where the problems show up, because doctors can refuse certain insurance companies a lot of doctors that my son needs won't even see him and the ones that do take Tricare are booked as far out as 4 mos. So do we struggle and wait 4 mos or do we pay a ridiculous amount of money to have my son treated...for us it's a struggle to come up with anywhere from $100-225 a month to cover medical treatment that is desperately needed for him to have a normal life.  As parents we will figure it out and go with out a lot of the times for our children's well being. 

But let me start at the beginning of our  journey to find help..we started taking my son to a wonderful therapist about a year ago to help him with his problems. We had discussed several times about putting him on meds but I was very worried about him being over medicated after seeing that happen several times. But as we noticed my son didn't get better in fact he continued to slide deeper into depression until his sister noticed that he was cutting himself. After that discovery we decided that for his safety and mental well being we needed to get him in to see someone for medication. We went the correct route with Tricare, referral from our PCM and once we got the approval I called the doctor we were referred to. I called the 1st day, left a message..called the 2nd day, left a message..called the 3rd day. left 2 messages and called the 4th day and left about 5 messages requesting to schedule an appt. to this day that doctors office NEVER called me back. So I called Tricare to get a list of doctors to see if I could schedule something immediately. I called every doctor on that list of about 4 and out of the 4 I left messages for only ONE called me back. So we waited the month to get in and went in to see this doctor's nurse for the initial intake which didn't go to well since my son admitted that he had been feeling suicidal for many years, which had taken us all back because he never told anyone. We left knowing that we needed to discuss this with his therapist which we did and we waited  for the following week to see the actual doctor. Well the day of that appt came and it was a wreck. The doctor REFUSED, yes refused to see my son because "he wasn't stable". So my son felt like he had been abandoned by this man who is supposed to be there to help him. I called our therapist who recommended that I call Coastal Harbor Hospital and take him there. Which I did, after the initial intake from them it was decided that my son be hospitalized for his safety. Let me tell you having to leave my son there was the worst feeling I think I've felt in a very long time. But I knew he needed the help to get better. So my son spent 7 days there working on a good plan to help him heal and start working on himself. Upon his release he had an appt with the doctor that refused to see treat him for medication monitoring....well the following week we went back up there and yet again the doctor REFUSED to see him, he sent his nurse out to talk to us because he couldn't even be bothered to come out and talk with us. So 2 times this man who is supposed to be a professional screwed my kid over. So back to the phones I went, begging and pleading with the doctors on the Tricare list to squeeze my son in for his meds...instead I was being told 3 to 4 mos wait for him to be seen. Did they not understand that my child was in need???? 

I finally broke down after a month trying to find a doctor, any doctor that could get him in and we are now paying out of pocket for my son's medical needs. I sit here knowing that we aren't alone in this process...we have a serious breakdown in the mental health care system and no one seems to care until someone who needed that care harms a group of people. Than it makes the news for a minute and than it's right back to the latest celebrity gossip or some other random thing. When do we have a voice to say enough! We have children in desperate need committing suicide, hurting themselves and others screaming out for help...we have adults who need help and can't afford it and we have families that have to choose either bills or mental health care. What good is having this affordable health care act or insurance when doctors can pick and choose what insurance they'll take?  How do we as parents find help for a our child in a system that is broken and seems to be out for themselves instead of helping their fellow man?

I challenge my state reps in Georgia to step up and help change this practice...I challenge Jack Kingston, John Barrows, Jack Hill and others to help change this. I also challenge Gov Nathan Deal to step up and not allow this to continue in our state...will they hear this? Most likely not but I have to hope I'm not the only voice!

Monday, March 31, 2014

NYC Writers Retreat

I have to say this...I would be the only person in a retreat of 20 women to have some creature climb up from the bowels of hell and latch itself into my stomach. That creature has stopped me from making my pilgrimage to see the fabulous Al Roker, that is super sad for me! One day I will see and take a selfie with Al..one day!

Ok now on to the reason for my trip..I was very fortunate to be selected(is selected the correct word?) to attend this amazing Writers retreat through the Wounded Warrior Project and The Writers Guild of America East. I had stopped writing for almost a year due to my own inability to pull the words out of my brain and put them on paper..err...iPad screen. Maybe it was my insecurity or just me making excuses for my laziness but I received such amazing mentorship and encouragement from several wonderfully inspiring women who have written screen plays, tv shows, award shows and comedy skits how could I not be inspired to write. 

This 2 part trip has shown me that I have a story and I may not want people to see the true me it's a story that might just need to be told. I have a twisted sense of humor but that's how I adapt to my home life. Life or fate has a way of reaching back and bitch slapping you into reality and facing things that sometimes are uncomfortable or even funny. 

I have made life long friends with women who could take on the world, well the VA and the military which if you've ever had the "pleasure" of dealing with them it is the world. One of those women is a published author who has no problem introducing herself to a random stranger on the streets of New York and making friends or even trying to get Denzel Washington to come up our hotel to meet us...which didn't happen but at least she tried! I watched women open up to some very dark and hurtful things and pushed thru with a resiliency (yes there's that word again) that makes them look like super heroes with their invisible capes flapping in the wind. I am in complete awe of these women.

This trip hasn't been all about writing and tears. We were able to explore this jungle of buildings, lights and people. We learned how to get from NYC to Hoboken NJ,on a trek to see THE Cake boss and get some wonderful goodies, sadly Buddy didn't get the memo we were coming so he was on his way to Vegas but his employees were fantastic. We ran in a rain shower 10 city blocks and dodged a see of umbrellas and people. We found the typical New York gift shops filled with random Statue of Liberty figures to the NYC mugs..I think the city has sold herself short on the mug market.

This trip has touched me in ways that I didn't think were possible..I will always look back at this as that pinnacle turning point in my person to try and continue to push. This is MY life..my random thoughts and if you don't like it don't read it.