Itty Bitty’s Moving


Hello my friends, I am in the process of transfering my wordpress.com blog to my new website www.ittybittyboomer.com – please check out the new website, and register there to continue following me while I’m in this strange time of transition!

With any luck within a week everything here will be there …

Thank you!

The Itty Bitty Boomer

The Dreaded Phone Interview


The Interview – 11 am today

I hate phone interviews.  Well, interviews at all …. I’ve been so freeking fortunate over my life not to have to interview very often for jobs.  And at this age? It’s not any easier.

I especially dread answering the “on the spot” questions – “So tell me about a situation where you had a client that had a bad experience and you had to resolve it – how did you handle it?”  One of half a dozen similar questions.  The problem is that in working in the same industry for 40 years, you just DO these things – it is automatic.  Problems happen – you deal with them so as to make your client happy without giving away the store.

I sounded nervous to me.  I’m sure I sounded nervous to her.  And you can’t simply say, LOOK, I know I can do this damn job – blindfolded.  Wouldn’t that be nice?

I was told I would hear something probably by Wednesday – but lo and behold, 12:30 – an hour after the phone call I received an email that the property general manager and area director of sales want to meet with me Thursday at 3 pm …. big sigh. Yay!

Son

Son had an appointment with his probation person this morning – his second monthly visit since being assigned from North Carolina to California and getting into the system.  The visits are supposed to be monthly at this time, but she feels he is doing well, being compliant, and meeting all the terms of his probation, so doesn’t need to see him again for two months – that’s good.  I hope it made him feel a little better about himself.

I so worry about him – he is experiencing another episode of mania – manifesting itself in serious insomnia.  Tired body but the brain has no intention of sleeping.  His med Dr. is trying to find a cocktail of meds to balance him out a bit more – it’s a struggle.  But I’ve heard that before – from other people.  Damn anxiety and bi-polar disorders.   I understand it’s not just because he wants to stay awake all night – or that as he recently told me he can’t go to sleep without the light on – as hard as it is I try to accept it and help him best I can – making sure he wakes up when he finally goes to sleep in the early morning hours so that he makes it to WORK and his wellness classes on time.  Hubby gets upset that I wake him up (he’s a “big boy”, he should be able to get himself up – quit enabling him) … I don’t think I’m out of line.

So what started as a stressful day has, half way through, turned into a not so stressful day so far.  I guess it’s having faith …

Namaste, my friends – and don’t give up the faith.

Itty Bitty

 

 

Navigating Indigent Medical Care Systems


The last week has been an exercise on how to navigate Medi-Cal (California’s health insurance for low or no income people) for one of my children with diagnosed  bi-polar disorder.   The last year has been one of rapid and/or mixed cycling.  Life has turned upside down – a full 180 degrees from where it was this time last year.

There was a good, solid outpatient program where he recently lived – but circumstances left no housing options.  I am grateful my child felt safe in coming home.

We have qualified for Medi-Cal insurance which also offers mental health benefits.  Kind of.  What we have learned is that it does not, it seems, cover outpatient programs.  It covers crisis/in patient services … IF you are either homicidal or suicidal.  There are a combined total of 300 beds in mental health facilities in our county – almost always full.  If you require admittance due to a crisis situation, a bed will be found for you – but in the absence of one in our community/county, that bed could be anywhere in the State of California.

 

Bi-Polar Disorder Is A Distorting Place To Live
Bi-Polar Disorder Is A Distorting Place To Live

 

A referral is required to a psychiatrist for medication evaluation and management and therapy.  It could take months.  There is a 10-day supply of meds left.  One of them costs $800 a month.

We are learning the reality that the very people who need these kinds of services the most are often, without advocacy, the least capable of navigating the system.  I am grateful that we are working through it together.

On Friday we will hopefully know more – make more progress towards getting in to see a mental health professional to help maintain a stabilized level and then get into some type of program and continue cognitive behavioral therapy.  Once we can get to a psychiatrist, hopefully we can work on qualifying for SSI disability and medicare – then there will be qualification and coverage for intensive outpatient therapy.   Bi-polar disorder, like many mental health disorders, is debilitating.

In the mean time, I am learning all I can about bi-polar disorder, how it affects my child, how best I can help.  It’s a lot of learning.  My child and a million others need help through no fault of their own.  Why must it be so difficult to obtain without costing atrocious amounts of money?

Have you had experience in dealing with “the system”?  Any suggestions?

Namaste my friends – and hope, love and support to you if you or a loved one struggles … I honor your struggle …

Itty Bitty

 

In Which Itty Bitty Reaches Out For Help


My appointment with my new PCP was precipitated sooner than I had anticipated due to escalating insomnia issues and anxiety levels.  While I have always been the “strong one” in the family – the one to hold everything together in times of crisis – to help everyone else through their crisis – and remain calm and steadfast, the fact is that this just isn’t workin’ for me this time.

As a bit of background, my kids’ father was mentally ill.  He passed away in 1992 of a heart attack, the on-set symptoms starting a solid 18 hours before the attack. He refused to go to the doctor – we did not have health insurance at the time because we could not afford the family premiums even though I was working full time, and he had a home-based business.   He was classically bi-polar if he had been diagnosed in this day and age:  Manic highs, extreme low depressions, instant spirals into rage or depression with little or no cause.  There were abandonment issues, verbal and psychological abuse towards our kids and me.  He suffered from intense migraines, and was a prototype addictive personality.

Unfortunately, both of our children (now adults in their 30’s and 40’s) genetically inherited his bi-polar disorder.  At least one (if not both) of my grandsons has inherited bi-polar disorder, along with other social behavioral disorders.

My daughter (in her 40’s) also has genetically inherited (from her father’s biological mother) IGA deficiency – a blood immuno-deficiency factor that leaves one subject to infections. She also has migraines and fibromyalgia. The bi-polar disorder causes not only the normal highs and lows, but also addictive tendencies and she is OCD (she has been “in the rooms” for 22 years). She also has epilepsy (mostly night seizures with stress as the major trigger) for which she takes seizure meds.  She is a single parent of two teenage boys, a 15-year old who was diagnosed as bi-polar as a child and is on meds and in an ED special ed program at school).  The 18-year old is ADD/ADHD (non-medicated).

My son (in his 30’s) was 16 years old and unfortunately alone with his father when he had his heart attack and died on our living room floor.  Though he participated in his funeral service and attended youth grief counseling after for a year or so, he pretty much pushed the trauma down.  He got his first apartment at barely 18 (he was graduated from high school and working full time) because he didn’t want to be a financial burden on me (not that I ever told him he was).  Five years (1998) later he moved to Brooklyn to be with his now wife, and they have lived there since. About six or seven years ago he started therapy due to a growing problem with depression.  It was at that time that he was diagnosed as bi-polar and placed on mood stabilizers and anti-depressants.  Over the last two or three years, there have been a series of serious issues in his and his wife’s life and marriage including a serious injury to her, a job change for him that was suppose to be a promotion (at a different company) but turned out to be a disaster from the first day, and increasing stress in their lives that finally last spring started him on a depressive spiral.  Nine months later he is still in a deep depression – and we are looking at inpatient mental health services that treat not only mental illness, but also addiction issues.

Mama isn’t coping so well these days.  I know that their genetic illnesses are not my fault.  But the three of us are all we have.  There is no father, no grandparents, no other siblings ….. just me and my son and daughter.  That he is being non-communicative with me (we have always been close) and is 2000+ miles away rips my heart out.  His wife has taken the role of caretaker (not so much wife any more) in trying to see him through this episode – the FIRST one he has had.  She works full time and is trying desperately to take care of the pieces of their life.  He is not doing well and I am lost – I cannot get my head around what is going on with him.

Result?  Seven months of insomnia – anxiety – tears always just under the surface – terrified the phone will ring and it will be the worst possible news.  I need to understand.  I need to learn – I need help getting through this … me … who never asks for help – who is always the helper.

My PCP prescribed me Xanax last week – I take half the dose he recommended so I can sleep.  As soon as it wears off, the ripping ache in my gut returns.  I don’t take it, I don’t sleep. At all.

Monday I see a therapist for the first time since my kid’s dad and I did joint counseling back in 1990.  My fear is that there are still unresolved issues for me from his dysfunctional life and our dysfunctional marriage and family.  And then, maybe I can begin to cope with the wreckage that continues to reveal itself in our children so that I can help them the best I can.

Namaste – I honor any of you who silently deal with similar issues. It’s ok to get help – to reach out to professionals to help you sort out and understand.  I never made the time for myself before now – I was too busy fixing.  It’s time to fix myself.

Itty Bitty