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

Never Say Never Again


I haven’t posted in a while – mostly because IF I GET TIRED OF LISTENING TO MY DRAMA I’m sure others do too.  It’s exhausting.

Yes, I still deal daily with my adult children’s chronic mental and physical health issues – yes, I’m still dealing with my divorce… and the resulting anxiety and minor depressions.  And once again it has become crystal clear that, as much as I hoot and hollar to other women that we must always take care of ourselves first if we are to take care of others, I have been ignoring my own health.  Or, at least, not paying attention to it.   No. Ignoring it.

I went to the doctor this week for the first time in about 2 years.  After seven years and multiple health insurance changes, I was finally able to get back in to see the coolest doctor I’ve ever had.  I had to wait almost an hour past my appointment time, which normally would have driven me up the wall, but then she spent forty-five minutes with me.  Well beyond the expected ten minutes in and out crap that most doctors manage.  She listens.   She responds.  She’s intuitive.  She picked up right away on my anxiety and low grade depression issues.  She recognized my self-medicating with wine (better than Zanex, I argued) and suggested we try something that might be more helpful and less harmful.   She acknowledged my concern about regain after my gastric bypass surgery 10 years ago and the psychology around it – the stressors in my life and how they  are impacting my health.  Within that 45 minutes, she started the following processes:

  • Ordered immediate blood work to check hemoglobin for diabetes indicators, and thyroid functioning (done that day)
  • Referral for mammogram (done yesterday) and colonoscopy (scheduled for May)
  • Referral to a local bariatric center that, besides doing surgeries, offers post-op medical/lab support, support groups,  psychological counseling and regain weight loss programs designed for post-op patients.  (intake appointment next Thursday)
  • Rx for a low dose of prozac to calm me down and help me cope with my day-to-day shit. (started Wednesday)
  • A follow-up appointment in a month to check on me and see how I am doing

I walked out of her office feeling better and stronger already simply because I finally felt like I have someone in my corner – rooting for me – not just telling me to lose weight and get therapy.

That’s a long way around to NEVER SAY NEVER AGAIN.   In 2008, I weighed 147 pounds – 3 years post op and 10 lbs up from my happy weight of 135-ish.  In 2009, it was 151.  Not bad, four  pounds.  This week I weighed in at 187.

I was one of those post-ops who swore NEVER AGAIN.  I’m never going back “there” again. The reality is that without vigilance, without continuing to always work on our HEAD BATTLES along with our FOOD BATTLES, we can easily regain the weight we so painstakingly lost. We can … and we do.

But our tool is always there – our pouchies for us RNY gastric bypass post-ops.  I’m back at that sick and tired of being sick and tired point.  I’m not beating myself up nor am I full of self-loathing for having regained.  I am concerned that the very issues I sought to avoid in 2005 are again realistic concerns … a very strong family history of heart disease, stroke and diabetes.  I’ve been lucky so far, but I fear the possibilities.

So next Thursday I begin a medically supervised fasting weight loss program designed and administered by a medical group that specializes in weight loss surgery and support.  I am grateful that my health insurance covers it. I will take advantage of this as long as i have this insurance (pending my divorce becoming final) or can afford a subsequent medicare supplement that also covers this service.

I’m putting myself out there for the benefit of others on this journey.   It’s real, this path we take.   Never the easy way out, always requiring care and vigilance.  But don’t ever give up.

Namaste …..

I honor your journey –

IttyBitty

 

 

 

One Day At A Time …


It’s a landmark day for me anyway, and hopefully for my son …

I’m preparing to take him to drop him off at work – and when I pick him up at 1:30-ish, will be taking him to enter a cocaine detox program for 5 days.  Some may think, well, duh …  but it’s taken me two years to get this far with him.

At first, he used to quell his anxiety attacks when his bi-polar meds weren’t calming him enough.  And, of course, the seductress drew him in.   He’s tried on his own and relapsed.  It hasn’t helped that his “girlfriend” I believe (no proof) uses with him.

Ranting and raving and mom temper tantrums haven’t accomplished anything – and I’m sure added to his anxiety levels- one of which is dealing with confrontation.  He doesn’t – he withdraws.  He doesn’t “fight back”, he shuts down (a defense he developed when dealing with his verbally and psychologically abusive father when my son was a teen).  Fighting back, sticking up for your self resulted in a tirade.

In early November I told him I was done with his drug use, he needed to get himself into a rehab program – inpatient or outpatient.  He found an outpatient program that Medi-Cal (California’s medical insurance for indigent and low-income people) recommended.  They don’t cover the cost of mental health/drug addiction treatment programs though IF YOU CAN FIND ONE THAT TAKES MEDI-CAL you might find a sliding scale.

The outpatient/day program requires intakes test clean before accepting them in to the $1100, 12-week program.  He couldn’t stay clean.  The next step is to do the $840, 4 night/5 day detox program, then go on to the $1100 12-week day program.

I’m getting a cashiers check for $840. this morning.  Some how, some way I’ll come up with the $1100.  I am 100% behind him and will do anything in my power to help him be successful.  I have my fears as I’m sure any parent or spouse in my shoes does.  But I am hopeful. I have to be.

I also have conversations with myself about what if it fails?  If it was a simple matter of drug dependence, as hard as it is, it would be easier to lock the door and tough love him.  The added complication of his Bipolar disorder II, rapid cycling and anxiety disorder makes it much more difficult to do that.  His anxieties I fear would overcome him.

It’s hard being a parent in the best of situations, it’s harder when your children, small or adult, have extenuating special needs.

And there always has to be hope.  And we start this day and move forward, one day at a time.  One step at a time.  With hope. And encouragement.  And love.

Namaste – I honor you and send you hope whether struggling with hopelessness, or loving someone and holding onto your hope that they find their way.

Itty Bitty.

Living In Three Worlds …


“The greatest thing in the world is to know how to belong to oneself.”
~ Michel de Montaigne, The Complete Essays

This quote has been sitting in my draft files for about two months now.  I so love what it says – and today while looking through my drafts it hit me.  At this particular time in my life, with where I am physically, emotionally, intellectually … this quote says it ALL.

I am currently living in THREE worlds – how odd does that sound? But it’s true.

World 1 – Mom

My son and I moved into an apartment in mid-June so that I can help him manage his bi-polar disorder in a quiet and de-stressed environment to the  point he/we can manage his anxiety levels.   He doesn’t do well in solitary situations – goes to very dark, depressed places – or I would not necessarily be with him, but would likely subsidize him living on his own.  At almost 40, he doesn’t want to be living with mom, but acknowledges and accepts graciously that he needs the emotional support.

World 2 – Wife

I spend a night or two at my husband’s (not my son’s father) home each week, and meet him for dinner or after work drinks when my son is working the evening shift.  I love my husband, and he is trying very hard to be understanding of the need for me to be with my son.  The two of them living under the same roof did not work.  My husband’s inability to fathom the ramifications of bi-polar disorder and anxiety disorders created an overwhelming amount of ANXIETY for him, my son and me.

World 3 – Me

And what has happened after a year and a half of growing anxieties and animosities is that, now that I have my own place, I have within that world time to belong to ME without the constancy of being on guard for my husband getting upset with my son for perceived problems. I have time to belong to me when my son is doing his world of part-time work, volunteering and spending time with a very select few safe friends.  I HAVE this down time – quiet time – for the first time in years.  I am finding it easier to cope with my anxieties about my son’s mental health, and my husband’s avoidance of dealing with it at all.  My insomnia has lessened (not gone) – especially when sleeping with my 40-year old teddy bear (don’t judge me!).

I have time to truly belong to me.

The thing that I know I will have to deal with at some point is trying to explain this to hubby.  With everything going on in my life, though I love my husband, and stand by my son, and work full-time, and try to remember not to forget my daughter with her own suitcase of chronic physical and mental health issues – I, FOR ONCE am not forgetting that I need to take care of me.  I need to, first and foremost, belong to me.

Without that, I would be utterly useless to anyone and everyone else.

I am more and more believing that we may be one of those couples whose existence is non-traditional – each with our own separate spaces with our lives intertwined.  This isn’t a situation where I want to be with anyone else, or am looking for anyone else – I am fighting for my emotional survival by taking the alone time to keep centered, and focused, on what I have to do.  I need the alone time. The meditative time.  The sanctuary time.

Is it possible?

Namaste – namaste, my friends – I honor you who know how to belong to yourself.

 

Itty Bitty

 

 

 

Turning Of Seasons And Changes


Not a day goes by when I want to post here about something going on in my life. The problem is that I am always concerned about the anonymity of those about which I am compelled to write.  So I don’t.  And I don’t know why anyone would want to read about all my DRAMA!  I get sick of it.

My existence continues in flux – all areas of it, it seems.

Work/Income/Self Esteem

My little Villa has now closed after two years – the owner deciding to sell for personal reasons – so I spent the summer wrapping up the last of 8 or so weddings, the last one being November 1.  That chapter of my life is now closed.

While I would love to develop my wedding planning & coordinating business as I have been toying with over the last 6 months to continue on in the wedding/special event industry,  the reality is that my social security income (which I filed for in April) is just not enough to sustain me or allow me to feel productive and contributing to my home.

I have begun applying for hotel management positions once again.  At 64, and in an industry full of youngsters, it will be challenging.  One application (for which I was recommended) went totally unanswered.

A second application has resulted, at least, in a phone interview tomorrow with a corporate HR person.  We shall see how it goes ….

Family

And while trying to carry on with some semblance of a normal life, much of my time has been consumed with nudging my youngest (39) through the maze of recovering to the extent he can from a year and a half of a mixed-state manic/depressive bi-polar episode.  He is working to pick up the pieces of a life fallen apart.  He is dealing with probation as a result of a substance abuse issue he works daily to keep at bay.  He engages 3-4 days a week with a wellness recovery program that deals with mental illness issues on a broad scale and works 3-4 days a week at a minimum wage job (restaurant server) after 10 years of earning $75-$90K a year.  His anxiety levels and mania make it impossible for him to return to his former career path at this time.

As busy as he is, he doesn’t sleep many nights (mania) and efforts by his mental health support team to find the right “cocktail” of meds is a slow process.  We know they are trying, and it IS proving a slow process.

Marriage

And to make it all more challenging, my husband’s home-based environmental consulting business is at 60% of what it was last year, he is stressing about money, and for whatever reasons, he seems incapable of motivating himself to develop the diversification he wants to do to increase business.

In additions to his stresses about money, I was hopeful that he would be my rock emotionally to help me guide my son through his issues. It has become quite clear that hubby has no understanding (or willingness to learn, engage, show compassion) of mental illness – anxiety disorders – bipolar disorders – and how they affect individuals dealing with these.  He sees a 39 year old male who used to earn big bucks, and must simply be mooching off of us, taking advantage of the situation and simply being lazy.

The arguments and frustrations on both our parts have at times made me wonder if I can stay in this marriage.

My son has never in his adult life asked for a thing from me, and been totally self-sufficient since he was 17 years old.   Both he and my daughter (43) suffer from anxiety disorders and genetic pre-disposition to bi-polar disorder and he is in need of emotional (and yes, a little financial support if in no other way than a roof over his head and guaranteed food in his belly) while he finds his way.

My life once again is in flux as it is wont to do … and again I am feeling that old feeling of realizing I can truly count on no one but myself.

Maybe it’s just the changing seasons.  Or the changing seasons of life.

Time for more reflection, introspection and setting a plan for the future.

Namaste and peace to all who are in the midst of change …

Itty Bitty

 

Mommy’s Advocacy, Inc.


Or it seems like that should be my profession …. at least this last week.

So I think we are settling down with the boy child’s needs – we have him enrolled in a MediCal managed health care plan and it should fall into place tomorrow. We will call so he can choose a primary care physician.  We also finally found a source for an interim script for his meds till he receives a referral to a psychiatrist for medication management for his bi-polar disorder. He got one of his meds yesterday and the other one today. We are hopeful that he has fond employment, albeit part time.  At least he will have some income to take care of his life and car insurance and his cell phone and a little left for spending money.

We moved forward this week with applying for SSI disability and engaged a friend’s son who is an attorney specializing in SSDI.  He’s giving us guidance at this point pro-bono, and if we get an initial denial he will step in and file an appeal for us.  If we don’t get a denial, he is kind enough to just help us through the process and review forms for completeness. Soon now hopefully we can get him in a program for his dual-diagnosis. One day at a time.  His mood seems to have stabilized a little and he is laughing a little more and showing affection.  Baby steps.

Take A Number ….

Last Friday my daughter was laid off her job of two and a half years due to the company she was employed by (and adored her job) experiencing financial difficulties.  She is also diagnosed with bipolar disorder, as well as being epileptic, OCD, ADD/ADHD, has fibromyalgia, and suffers migraines on a regular basis (especially during summer).

So my overlapping project has been helping HER apply for MediCal for her and my grandson, who has developmental disabilities and behavioral issues from oxygen deprivation at birth.  Their monthly medication bill is over $3000 a month without insurance, so it is critical that they get assistance while she is filing for unemployment and seeking employment (which she started doing the afternoon she was laid off)i

She is also filing for food stamps on a temporary basis.  Yes, we are helping her – subsidizing her rent while she forges forward.

Sheesh! I’m exhausted!  But I know my kiddos will be ok … we have always hung together and supported each other in times of need – now is no different.  And the old saying that when you think your life is crap, just look around.  that is so true this week.

And on top of it all …

Two weeks ago a close friend of hubby learned that his 24 year old son had been murdered in South Carolina – shot in the back of the head and left in an abandoned trailer.  The memorial service is this Saturday evening.  Love to you, Drew  – and may your afterlife be free of the pain of substance abuse. And much healing love to your parents.

Then a few days ago, a dear friend of mine lost his darling husband to cancer.  They were together almost 15 years, and married in 2008.  They were wonderful together – Rick and Shawn – one of the sweetest couples I know.  Shawn’s memorial is in three weeks.  I know you are soaring pain free with the Angels, Shawn – God speed.  And dear Ricky …. my heart is always with you.

Yet in spite of it all …

We have reconnected with some old friends, found laughter and joy, and continue forward with open hearts.  We will continue to encourage my son on a path of healthy and engaged living.  My daughter will survive her employment setback.  We will love and embrace our friends who are grieving ….

We will continue on this life, well ….. lived.

Namaste – I honor you – and me …. live well …

Itty Bitty

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Navigating MediCal Part II


A very long and frustrating day.   And another day of learning.

After completing enrollment (with the help of a Covered California consultant) for Kaiser Managed Health Care plan, the MediCal ombudsman’s office was kind enough to agree to expedite the activation of the insurance once we faxed them a “permission letter” from Kaiser accepting his enrollment. Enrollment in KP is possible  because I (as an immediate family member) am already a Kaiser member.  Three different MediCal people I spoke with at different offices/departments told us the same thing.   It’s the only way KP will take MediCal managed care plans.  Very true …. BUT the MediCal beneficiary must be 21 or under …. no one we talked to at MediCal was aware of this.  We found this out when we were at KP to pick up the permission letter from the membership services folks.

Go straight back to square one.

It literally took us four hours to get back in touch with a real person on the phone at the ombudsman’s office.  Oh yes, this new person says …. that would be true.  Only “adults” under 21 can be covered ….  BUT my over 21 child IS fully covered on “regular” (or straight, depending on where you read it or who you talk to) MediCal – he can go to an urgent clinic or a doctor who takes “regular” and get an interim/emergency script for his meds until he gets in to see a psychiatrist through ACCESS, county mental health agency that will refer him to a psychiatrist for medication evaluation.  The,n simply go to a pharmacy that fills MediCal  prescriptions and he will get his meds FREE OF CHARGE! Isn’t that awesome?

GREAT!  That’s easy!  We then spent a minimum of two more hours trying to locate an urgent care clinic that takes “regular” or “straight” MediCal.  They don’t exist.  None of them accept regular MediCal.  There is a non-profit medical clinic downtown – but it’s neither a walk-in clinic or an urgent clinic – you go in, fill out paperwork and they will make an appointment for you.  When we talked to them on the phone about their recovery programs a few days ago, they weren’t even taking phone calls till May 16.

S0 tomorrow will be Day 3 – getting him enrolled in Anthem/Blue Cross MediCal Managed Care insurance after which he will be able to CHOOSE a doctor from the participating providers.  Hopefully I will be able to get BACK in touch with the ombudsman office so they can expedite his plan activation and we can get an appointment with a doctor early next week.

Unless, of course, we find another stone wall waiting around the corner.  I started working on this at 7:30 am this morning – it’s now 7:30 pm – I have just finished dinner – and that is about all I did today.  I am exhausted (didn’t sleep last night worrying about all this and finding a source for his meds and treatment – now going on 39 hours with no sleep) and have another day to go at least.

Don’t get me wrong, the MediCal people I have talked to have been awesome!  They have readily assisted me by expediting a process that under normal circumstances takes about two months.  I am truly grateful!

And it’s ok – I’d walk to the moon for my kids – he is participating and I want to keep him engaged in his recovery whatever it takes.

Namaste – today I honor all those souls who have no one to advocate for them and, as my hubby said tonight, it’s no wonder they live on the streets.

Itty Bitty