Wednesday, October 17, 2007

I AM SO UPSET......(long post ahead, you have been forwarned)










A.D.H.D...My eight year old has it...





He was diagnosed last year, about this time.
Up until his diagnosis, I just thought he was a normal, but highly energetic little boy. I had no idea what we were actually dealing with. I seriously did not think other wise...until Aaron started kindergarten....then the problems began to surface. Every 9 weeks, we were met with poor progress reports...."Aaron, does not listen or follow instructions"..."Aaron reminds me of the absentminded professor"....
"Aaron loses focus"....."Work not completed"...."Won't sit still"...."Talks too much".....etc, etc....the list could go on and on...On top of that, his grades were about as poor as they could get....I worked with him every evening for 45 minutes or so...(optimal amount of time I could get from him, before we both had a breakdown) and there were just not any improvements...I felt like his kindergarten teacher did not care, or had any interest in helping him. I felt like Aaron was not trying..he would cry, tell me how much he hated school. Many mornings, "a Stomachache" prevailed....Every morning, he would cry when woke up to get ready for school.

At this point, I felt like I was failing him and the school system was failing him. At the end of the school year, I met for the final/parent teacher conference...his teacher told me that she did not feel that Aaron should continue on to first grade, he just wasn't ready. But, unfortunately, the school corporation would not hold him back, he would be sent on to first grade. I was at my wit's end. I met with the principal, he agreed with the teacher, but did discuss with me the possibility of Aaron having some sort of learning disability...that they would have him tested in the first grade. Meanwhile, I could not fathom this. I mean, I was always an excellent student in school, my two older children always made honor roll...I did not know how to handle this situation. I felt I was doing all that I could, but not once did ADHD cross my mind.


Summer time came, Aaron was my sweet happy little boy again...still as energetic has ever, but seemed much more light-hearted. August came, we started shopping for school supplies...I noticed Aaron's anxiety from the get-go. I assured him that this school year was going to be better...it was going to be fun. I don't know who I was trying to convince...him or me.

In kindergarten, grades are based on plus/minuses....satisfactory/unsatisfactory...Aaron was almost always minuses and unsatisfactory....First grade, the letter grading system was implemented. All of Aaron's anxieties began again...homework became a nightly battle of wills..the first nine week report came home...ALL F'S.....every single one. Aaron was back to crying when awoken for school...making comments like "I HATE SCHOOL"..."I WISH I WERE DEAD" .... at this point I was like, Oh, My God...what are we going to do? What can I do to help my son? I gave him so much love and attention that it was taking away time I could spend with his little brother Max...I was about ready for a nervous breakdown myself. It is hard to hear your seven year old tell you he just wished he were dead....I had many sleepless nights over that, let me tell you. I got the counselor at school involved immediately. I was willing to even take him to a therapist...I wanted to do all that I could to get my happy little boy back.

Within the first two weeks of first grade, I got a phone call, Aaron had flipped out in the classroom, on the teacher...screaming at her, crying....sent to the Principal's office. I freaked...this is not my son...this isn't normal. Up until this point, Aaron had always been a loving little boy, not prone to this type of behavior. He had never acted out like this...I met with the teacher/principal...to discuss Aaron's behavior.
His teacher pointed out that with every assignment Aaron would struggle. If it was ten problems to be done in 15 minutes...Aaron would complete one; Aaron would often look around the room, copy what the other kids were doing....and on and on. If asked to read, Aaron never knew where they were, never could repeat back instructions given, etc..... This particular situation, the teacher..Miss R...said she stooped down beside Aaron's desk, just to ask him Why he did not follow the directions given for that particular assignment, why did he only have part of his work done?...that is when Aaron "lost it"...screaming at her, full of anxiety, crying and at this point, also giving himself a nose bleed...
I was shocked. I started crying as well...What can we do to help Aaron?!! It was then Miss R and the principal suggested I have Aaron evaluated for ADHD or a similar problem...I met with the teacher/principal/school guidance counselor/social worker...we came up with an action plan to help Aaron, (Let me interject here...that thoughout this entire ordeal, the school was absolutely amazing....aside from his kindergarten teacher he had, they are a wonderful, caring group of people, who totally have the kids interests and well being at heart)Which started with my taking Aaron to a pediatrician that specialized in treating children with ADHD....we set up Aaron with weekly meetings with the guidance counselor (thinking it might help with any anxieties he may be having...i.e...issues with my divorce from his father/moving 80 miles away from his dad/problems with school, etc...); after the pediatrician visit, we would meet again to discuss further options.

At this point, we were in the middle of the second nine weeks of school. I took Aaron to see Dr. E....I researched and studied ADHD thoroughly before taking him to see her. There were a ton of forms/questionnaires/evaluations for everyone involved in Aaron's well being to fill out/answer. For me, his teacher, his Dad, his step-dad...2 weeks later we went back. Dr. E tested Aaron's hearing, he already wears glasses, has since he was two years old/just had a check-up and new glasses before school started, so we knew it wasn't his eye sight that was a factor. Same with his hearing, it came back fine. We brought all the necessary evaluations/forms back to the doctor, she evaluated them, and Aaron...reviewed his drawings/school work, etc... (In the meantime, Aaron was also being evaluated for learning disabilities by the state/school corp) giving us the evaluation of ADHD...then we moved on to treatment. Now, before anyone jumps on their soapbox, to criticize me for choosing to medicate my son for this problem, please know that I researched and evaluated all the pros/cons associated with this disorder...I did not want to medicate my son unnecessarily...we discussed it at length, I read/absorbed all the information that I could on the disorder...and what medications were out there...the Dr, Aaron's father/step-father and myself, decided to go with a low dosage of the drug Strattera....


25 mg, to be given to him each night before bed. We started the dosage, knowing it would be at least a month before we would begin to notice any changes. In the meantime, the school corporation did determine that Aaron had a small learning disorder, that we would start him in Title 1....put together an action plan, to help Aaron learn and improve...everyone was involved....the teacher/principal/counselors/student aids, myself, etc....

Aaron began taking the medication, at night before bed time....within a few weeks, I began to notice subtle changes in his behavior...he was less wound up at night, seemed to be focusing more in school..he didn't cry as much over school work, It was getting a little easier with the homework issues, etc...(by now, we were well into the third nine weeks)...still, he was struggling...his grades at the beginning of the third nine weeks had improved...but barely. Instead of all F's..he had a couple D's thrown in there...By the end of the third nine weeks...we were up to one C, 2 D's and several F's....parent/teacher conference was held/ of which the principal and guidance counselor attended....we agreed, although Aaron was slowly beginning to make progress, that he was not ready for second grade...he had missed too much during the beginning of the school year....we decided to re-introduce beginning of 1st grade materials to Aaron at the beginning of the last nine weeks of school...and hold him back for the next year...no 2Nd grade, 1st grade all over again....best decision we could have ever made...Aaron started bringing home some B's and C/s...keep in mind, it was for work that had been shown to him the first nine weeks of school, but he was finally starting to get it...those B's and C's were giving him the confidence that he needed....he was actually starting to like school!
We were also having blood work done, to make sure there were no adverse reactions to Aaron's liver from taking the medication. So far, he is fine. I strongly feel that there will not be any problems with it;the drug is safe and effective...there are no signs that it is adversely affecting him in anyway. If there were ever a sign that he may have negative complications from taking it..I will stop the treatment immediately...that is why we have the blood work done. To be safe.

This repeat year in the first grade has been like night and day...He has brought home nothing but A's, with and occasional B thrown in...he is like a different child! He is happier, he seems more well adjusted, homework is a breeze...and as a parent, who medicates her child for this disorder, I feel we made the right decision..Keep in mind, it wasn't an easy decision...there is always some level of uncertainty there....Are we doing the right thing? Yes...I believe we are....we have taken him off the medication, over a weekend, by Sunday night, we see that it is totally needed. So, yes...I feel it is necessary...the changes I and others have noticed in Aaron, shows that his diagnosis and treatment were correct.

It has been a year...a year of struggles and triumphs...I am so proud of my little guy...because he truly is the winner that I knew he was...I also knew he had it in him to succeed...he just needed a little help...

Back to the mediciation thing, thus the title of this post, is that Aaron's medication is not covered by our insurance...it is $6 a pill, out of pocket...for a while, Dr. E would give me samples that she would get from the pharmacutical reps, sometimes 2 months at a time...then I would buy a couple weeks, she would give me another month or so of medication and so on...up until today. Aaron is due for his check-up with her next Thursday...I have noticed that he seems a little more wound up in the evenings, making weird noises that he usally doesn't make, etc...constantly picking fights with his little brother..so, I feel that maybe his 25 mg dosage isn't strong enough, he has grown a lot in the past year, so I feel it does need reevaluated...this I plan on discussing with Dr. E...in the meantime..I really did not want to get 2 or so weeks of medication filled...so, I called the office this morning, to ask Dr. E for a week's sample....her office is a 20 minute drive from where I work, so on my lunch time, I drive over, to pick up the sample..Unfortunately, her head nurse met me, informed me that she is no longer allowed to give out the samples of Strattera....Wow...that was unexpected...For a year now, we have been alternating with the samples/out of pocket...Now, regardless of the medication, we will have to pay out of pocket...it is an outrage to me, that as a mother, trying to help her child, that insurance companies will not pay for ADHD medications....insurance will pay for birth control, bi-polar medication,prozac...etc...etc...but when it comes to my son and his disorder...I get no help...insurance denies the claim. It is proven that the Strattera works, that it is needed...., so why will it not pay? I don't understand....we have really good insurance...but from what I gather, no insurance will cover it. We have been denied assistance from any prescription drug plans; we make too much money according to them. We are not rich by any means, but we are not poor....although, we pretty much live from week to week, we never go without, but we don't have $168 a month for medication...now, my husband is good with our budget..I am sure he will figure something out. There are lot's of things that we can cut out...it just chaps my ass that we pay our taxes, pay our bills, pay our insurance premiums..that there other people that come over to the United States, illegally and get free assistance from our healthcare programs, of which we, as hardworking US citizens are denied. But that is a rant for another day...top it all off...I get absolutely no assistance from Aaron's real Dad...he is a jobless, non child support paying, deadbeat loser.....again, a post for another day....Where does that leave us? Take Aaron off of his medication and hope for the best? No...that is not an option. I mean....we can't get blood out of a turnip...trust me though...I will do whatever it takes, to insure that my son gets what he needs to succeed....we will scrimp, we will save...we will manage.

I just needed to vent, it is unfair....but what can we do? Is there anyone else out there with a simlar situation, anyone that can give me some advise? For now, I guess we just keep on keeping on
Thanks for listening....
Dixiechick...out

9 comments:

Sandra said...

I don't have any experience with the insurance problems you are having, but I want to tell you that I believe you are doing everyting a mother can do to take care of her little boy. Aaron is very blessed to have you as a Mom.

david mcmahon said...

Commenting from the other side of the world as a parent, I don;t know enough about the US drugs or insurance industries, but what I can say is that Aaron is extremely blessed to have a mother who cares.

I have three kids and if I find any information that I think will help you, I'll give you the links.

Adventures In Waitressing said...

I know exactly what you are going through. My 14 year old has ADHD. I don't have insurance at all so I had to take him off of the medications. Were as you son has trouble learning mine excells though. He was reading at a six grade level in the 3rd grade, but getting him to do any work in his younger years was like pulling teeth. I had him medicated at one point, but they would only put him on ridilin (sp?) Though he did his work better on the medication, he was walking around like a zombie. This was not my normal chatterbox of a son. He barely moved. He had counseling and everything, but I think i ended up with people who really didn't care about him. I am personally frustrated myself. His father has insurance on him, but it doesn't cover where he needs to go and what it does cover is not enough to help this single mom out. Insurance companies.. ick.. they truly only care about what they bring in.

I sympathize, but unfortunatly the only advice I can give you is tons of patience, a lot of love and pray.

HUGS
aka Real Life Drama Queen

Daddy Forever said...

So sorry to hear about your son and your insurance situation. I don't understand the insurance industry. Every year they raise my premium and co-pay and cover less of my prescriptions. I hope you find a solution to your problem.

DIXIECHICK said...

Sandra...thank you so much. Just having someone understand helps a lot...

David, thank you for stopping by and for your wonderful compliment as well...yes, please do send me any links if you happen to find them...my email is hatkedonna@gmail.com...Thanks so much!

Drama Queen..aka....waitress...thank you for your insight...so glad your son is able to excel with his work sans mediciation....hopefully it will get to the point that we can totally take Aaron off of it...until then, as I said...we just have to keep on keeping on. We reconfigured our budget, we can pay for the medicine...just means one less time eating out on the weekend...one cheaper meal during the middle of the week, maybe less movie rentals, that sort of thing...we can do it, we will....because all that matters is that Aaron has the tools he needs, be it medicine or whatever, to succeed. Thank you for your prayers and thoughts.

Daddy forever...I am with you...I really am frustrated with the whole insurance thing....overall, ours is not too bad...just doesn't help as much as I think it should when it comes to this situation.

Thanks to all of you for taking the time to read my thoughts and for commenting...

Hugs to you all....
Dixie

SignGurl said...

I'm guessing that this drug is too new to have a generic? It sounds like you are doing everything you can. You are an awesome mother!

DIXIECHICK said...

Thanks signgurl...no, I don't think it has a generic...probably just too expensive for the insuance company to pay on...

The Egel Nest said...

I dealt with this as a child before it was called ADHD...I was just a hyper kid...I was on the god awful drug Ritalin in my teen years...point is...everything turned out fine...and it will for you too :)

Glad to hear your son has made progress :)


Bradley
The Egel Nest

DIXIECHICK said...

Thanks, Bradley..that is what I needed to hear. I know in my heart he will be o.k..I pray that we can totally wean him off of medication, but I don't want him to take it if he doesn't have too. From what I see, you turned out great! I know Aaron will too.
Take care!