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Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Dr. Cheerleader and Tale of the Parking Lot Labyrinth

I haven't been particularly bloggy of late. Between work, and Sprocket, I'm getting a little over-blogged and things at home have been more than a little hectic and when I feel like I have time to write, I don't, because I'm either asleep, or in bed nearly asleep, or out of bed and awake, but exhausted and muse-less.

And it's not that there's nothing to write about. Sometimes it's worse when there's TOO much to write about. The potty training blog is sitting there "in draft form" (which means, I've written "Potty Training" as a title, and nothing else so that it reminds me that I promised to write a blog about potty training) but the whole experience was so big and detailed and full of woe that I just haven't been able to get my brain around the idea of putting it all on 'paper'.

Something that happened shortly after the last visit to the doctor, is that we visited a psychiatrist about getting a non-stimulant for Lily's impulsivity. The stimulant experiment (another 'draft') was such a failure that I think we needed at least a year to let life wash the bad taste out of our mouths before considering it again. We visited our magical autism doctor, and I previously blogged THAT little encounter as sort of a venting thing, and the overwhelming response was that we should pack our bags and find a new doctor. But we're not doing that.

So anyway, during that visit, we mentioned to Dr. Autism that we were going to see another doc about prescriptions and he got mildly butthurt that we hadn't come to him but then made some elaborate "fine, go see her, I don't even have TIME to talk to you about prescriptions so it's awesome that you're cheating on me seeing someone else for that. It's better. I WANT you to go. And I sorta felt bad for Dr. Autism, like he felt like we were totally going to date the cheerleader even though he was the plain girl who played drums but was providing us moral support all along, and probably he was screaming in his head, "John Hughes movies don't end this way!! You're supposed to end up with the supportive girl after you verbally burn and dump the cheerleader for being so vapid!!"

But that was the frame of mind I was in during that visit. So we went to see the other doctor. The appointment was at 4:00 I think. Or maybe it was some other time, but it's irrelevant because I could just pick some arbitrary time and tell the story around it and how would you guys know?? So it was 4:00. I mean it.

Leslie had mentioned Risperdal and Dr. Autism had gotten a little concerned and said. . . "Risperdal is a big gun. I don't think Lily needs that big a gun. If I were prescribing something (insert imagined sniffle) it would probably be Tenex." I had that in the back of my mind as we went to see Dr. Cheerleader.

Dr. Cheerleader's office was in this medical complex on Pittsburgh's Northside. Or near a medical complex. It was somewhat unclear exactly where Dr. Cheerleader's office was, but I plugged the address into my phone and listened to the GPS tell me where to go. I zoomed right into the parking garage with about 10 minutes to spare and took the escalator up to the main floor to find the office.

I eased into my parking spot and took the escalator up into what had once been sort of a fancy little inside mall.  I walked past locked doors and empty spaces looking for promising. . . medical complexy type offices but didn't find any.  


I doubled back the way I'd come and started over. This time I spotted a girl cleaning up in front of a coffee shop and I asked for directions. She had no idea. I did a few more laps of the building, starting to get stressed out and maybe a little brow-sweaty. I walked back into the courtyard outside the mall and found what looked like a security guard. Surely if anyone knew where to look it would be him, but he just said, he had no idea and pointed to the bank saying, "They probably know in the bank." Yeah. Cause that's what banks do.


The whole complex was under construction. So even following the bank employee's directions of, essentially "thataway", I ran into fenced off construction and had to go inside the mall to get around it. My feet had blisters the size of quarters and I was more or less limping everywhere I went. 
The "Cruel Shoes"  Apologies to Steve Martin

Time for a brief sidebar: I went shopping at DSW because I needed new dress shoes. My old ones were worn out and I wanted a pair that were a little more current. So after about a half hour i found a pair I liked, and were $75 each.

One aisle over I found a similar pair and checked the price. $50! Sweet. From there it was like this weird sort of reverse "Let's Make a Deal" with me exchanging the pairs of shoes I'd found for new ones that cost less as I progressed through the store. I threw caution to the wind and finally headed to the clearance rack. Two pairs of shoes, $35 each! With the money I saved I bought a pair of casual shoes too.

The dress shoes I bought were cheap. And I don't mean "inexpensive". They LOOKED nice, but 1) The insole kept coming unglued and sliding toward the toe so that I was always walking on a wrinkle of leather and would have to take the shoe off, reach in and smooth it out. 2) They hurt my feet. In fact, it is JUST now occurring to me that the foot pain I've been suffering for the past several months probably has nothing to do with imagined plantar fasciitis and everything to do with the fact that my feet kill me after I wear these stupid shoes all day, and 3) they smelled of cheap rubber. The first month I wore them I'd have to take them off in my office and walk out because the fumes gave me headaches. My boss told me to put them in kitty litter because the activated carbon in the kitty litter would adsorb the cheap rubber fumes. And I did it.

It's not a huge stretch to say I'd just walked two miles in those stupid cheap shoes. I called Leslie, but she was already in the exam with Dr. Cheerleader and said, "I can't talk now, bye!" and hung up. I texted her a terse message indicating I had no idea where I was but that I'd be there if I ever found out.

Eventually I just got frustrated and started walking North up the sidewalk. And there it was.


I had parked in the wrong garage. And not just sorta wrong, really wrong. I was late, and sweaty (it was hot outside) my feet hurt and I was stressed out and frustrated that I missed the start of the appointment. But I was there. Leslie hadn't been able to talk to me because the doctor was working with Lily and Leslie was in the office with them and didn't want to screw it up.

Also. . . to be clear, Dr. Cheerleader doesn't really look like a cheerleader, and there's no "popular" vs. "nerdy" vibe, and I'm starting to regret bringing my whole reimagined "Say Anything" storyline into it, but Dr. Cheerleader works as a nickname for the story since I'm not offering up real names, so we're just going with it.

We talked about Lily and answered questions for 15 or 20 more minutes and Dr. Cheerleader made her recommendation.

Tenex.

So we could have stuck with the plain drummer girl with the bad haircut after all! Not really, but it was actually nice to have a built in second opinion completely independent of the first. She, like Dr. Autism, felt that Lily just needed to take the edge off some of her impulsivity, calm the tooth-grinding and hand-wringing, possibly keep her from feeling the need to pick at her fingers. . . we shall see.

Because Dr. Autism had given Lily four new supplements to incorporate, and because we wanted to first see what the Tenex would do, we agreed to start the medication very slowly and ramp it up and let her get used to it before doing anything with the supplements. We agreed to meet again, and we ended the appointment, I limped Leslie and Lily to the minivan (which was parked about 50 yards from the door) before heading back to my car which was parked in the next county.

When I reached my car is when I noticed the signs that said, "Cash Only Upon Exit" and "Exit via Gate C". I had no cash. I had no idea where Gate C was. I decided to drive around the garage looking for the exit but inexplicably could not find it. After going back and forth about five times I parked the car and took a service stairway up to the mall where at least I knew I could find an ATM for cash.

I got money out then couldn't find the stairway I'd taken to get up in the first place, so I just picked a stairway at random and walked around the garage holding my car remote in front of me like a dowsing rod, pushing the "lock" button and hoping to hear my car's beep in response. But I never did, and ultimately found the car around the corner from the service stairway without TOO much more difficulty.

It probably took me 30 minutes to get out of the parking garage. I was sooooo pissed by the time I left. It was a bad brain day the summary of which is essentially, late to an appointment because I got lost. . . then got lost trying to leave the appointment. It was like the doctor's office was the Sargasso Sea and the parking garage was the Bermuda Triangle.

That was two or three weeks ago. Which brings us to today. I don't know how much the Tenex has impacted Lily. She HAS been less impulsive while still maintaining her happy and energetic personality (unlike the changes that killed us when we tried the stimulants) so I suppose if nothing else it's been a much better fit for her than stimulants EVER were.

And returning briefly to the subject of potty training. . . she's down to about one accident per day. . . many days NO accidents. Is that the potty training we utterly failed somehow taking root? It was better even before the Tenex, but now, when she wakes in the middle of the night, she calls us, and often she's still dry. We put her on the potty, she goes, then we put her to bed and she goes back to sleep. All of that is good good good.

I'm not saying she's completely potty trained, but she's really close (for no apparent reason other than she's doing better).

Her behaviors are way down too. She grinds her teeth a little, but I cannot even tell you the last time she spit. She's happy. She doesn't resist as much when we transition or offer to take her to the bathroom.

Part of the reason I suppose I haven't really been putting much of this down on 'paper' is because things with Lily have been. . . good. . . boringly good. There really haven't been too many stories to tell. And there have been, of course, but with everything ELSE going on, I just haven't made time to tell them.

I've been meaning to mention the ridiculousness of the visit with Dr. Cheerleader for weeks now. Anyway, in the midst of all the autistic kids dealing with tough transitions from structured school work to completely unstructured summer chaos. . . Lily's just been steady as the northern star.

She starts ESY next week, and we've mentally prepared ourselves for some backsliding, but it's really been sweet and stress-less (to an extent) and nice here, at least where little Lily is concerned.

37 comments:

  1. I am not laughing AT you so much as I am laughing ... at you. Because I have had this day. Right down to the cheap shoes. Mine ended in me wearing hastily purchased socks through an airport parking lot.

    Glad to hear Lily is doing better. We start ESY next week, too. But this week has been a slice of unstructured heaven. I may feel differently about that by Wednesday. :-)

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    1. Oh god, I have also had this day. I was getting off work and I NEEDED a new pair of shoes, right then (because mine were not supporting me AT ALL in my standing-on-hard-tile-for-8-hours needs). I got to the gigantic mall, where the only Crocs store was that's convenient to me . . . managed to get lost while my body was already exhausted and hurting; I limped around this gargantuan mall about three times looking for where I'd parked my car. I think I cried when I found it.

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    2. Stupid shoes. I need to find a video contest where the prize is bacon and SHOES.

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    3. I have a pair of even CHEAPER shoes that I bought for my sister-in-law's wedding the time I forgot to take dress shoes to Wisconsin and the only place that sold them in the write color/size/style was TARGET.

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  2. Glad Lily is doing well. I've had many of these days, especially searching for schools in a new district. I used to have an innate sense of direction--just give me a glance at a map--but now even with GPS help I sometimes get lost. Not going to speculate about the reason (We all know why ;)) But you found it, and the blisters will heal, so all in all, makes for a better story than I parked right next to office and walked in :)

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    1. I GUESS so. Although I still think I need new shoes.

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  3. Damn. My feet hurt just reading this! We had very similar experiences with meds for Nik. The Tenex has helped a lot. It's not a home run because there are windows in which the med is wearing off but it's too soon for his next dose and we have major spikes in impulsivity. Glad to know things are running more smoothly. :-)

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    1. Dr. Cheerleader wants to see how the medicine works for Lily before considering the time-release version.

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  4. My feet throb for yours. Ow!

    Glad to hear that the doctors agreed on meds for Lily. That's wonderful! I need to remember this Tenex...Tate is on a stimulant, Vyvanse, for his ADHD "stuff". It works, but he has little appetite. He lost 9 pounds in 8 months. We shall see...does Tenex increase anxiety?? That's our biggest worry.

    Hope ESY transition goes well for Lily--great to hear that things are going well.

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    1. I believe Tenex is actually FOR anxiety. Ie. . . it decreases it. Stimulants made Lily lose appetite too. She started the whole process (a year or two ago) at 32 pounds and we put the breaks on it when she'd lost 8 pounds. It was scary. Frightening, tear-inducing scary. And it didn't work worth a SHIT!!!

      Glad it works for Tate though. It was a horrorshow for Lily. So far so good with Tenex.

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    2. It's actually for high blood pressure. . . from Webmd, "This medication is used alone or with other medications to treat high blood pressure (hypertension). Lowering high blood pressure helps prevent strokes, heart attacks, and kidney problems. Guanfacine acts in the brain. It decreases certain nerve signals from the brain to the blood vessels and the heart. This causes the blood vessels to relax so that blood can flow more easily and also slows the heart rate. These effects help to lower blood pressure.
      OTHER USES: This section contains uses of this drug that are not listed in the approved professional labeling for the drug but that may be prescribed by your health care professional. Use this drug for a condition that is listed in this section only if it has been so prescribed by your health care professional.
      This drug may also be used for attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD)."

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    3. Thanks for the info! Definitely need to keep this in my back pocket if/when we need to switch things up.

      Yikes on Lily's appetite suppression & weight loss. Lucky (??) For us, Tate could have stood to lose a few pounds (he was an impulsive eater), so it helped us out in that department.

      I am eager to hear how Lily does on Tenex going forward.

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    4. I'll update it in general in a couple weeks. We have to tough base with Dr. Cheerleader either next week or the week after.

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  5. What is it with Doctor's offices being hard to find? I had this same experience going to see Charlotte's GI doc for the first time. I hate being late and I was a sobbing mess by the time we found it (1/2 hour late). I had good shoes though ;)

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    1. you're so lucky in your shoe choice!

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  6. Boringly good is good and when you write about that it probably gives other parents some hope when they're in the terribly not boring periods. Also never, never, never buy cheap shoes.

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    1. Boring good can only be spoken of generally. It does not typically make spectacular blog fodder. Lesson learned on the shoes though.

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  7. Frick. Now, I am exhausted.
    Great adventure. Next time can you post a pic of you really angry?

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    1. I'm almost never angry. Pictures of me angry are like pictures of Nessie.

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  8. I still can't get past the kitty litter. I am sure you put your shoes in fresh, clean kitty litter but I'm still getting visuals on what my kitty litter looks like down there in the litter box. I'm getting disturbing visuals of shoes in there....

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    1. WE don't have a cat, so kitty litter is used for cleaning up oil in the garage or. . . storing shoes in.

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  9. Oh, Jim. I get lost constantly, all over the place, so I feel for you. SO FRUSTRATING. (I love the diagrams. You make the best diagrams.)

    Maybe you need to get some of those obnoxious "I'm gellin'!" insoles. Those people look EUPHORIC.

    Glad things are going well. Boring is good. Boring is very, very good.

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    1. Why didn't I think of that! Gellin' like a felon!!

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  10. I am glad that Lily is doing so well thus far. We have a 'Dr. Autism' here, too. Maybe it is a chain?

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    1. I think it might be. I know after every visit Lily gets McDonalds. . .

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  11. I'm sorry you had to deal with that horrific Bermuda Triangle [LOVE THAT! Now all I can picture is Leonard Nemoy and In Search Of . . .], but I'm kind of not sorry for laughing at your recitation.

    And so glad that Lily is doing well.

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    1. In Search Of. . . I loved that show. It wasn't nearly as mysterious as that. . . but I could totally pull off Nimoy.

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  12. Wow. I would have left fuming as well. On the upside, though, glad things have been boringly good!!

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  13. Before I'm a total smart ass, I'm glad Lily is doing well! That's something all of us never get tired of hearing. And I LOVE the title of this post. It should almost be a song... Your maps are awesome and your really know how to make us feel the pain of the long walk on the bad shoes...

    Now, let's say we consider the case of Jim versus GPS. Damages sought? A nice pair of Louis Vuitton, Bruno Magli or Air Jordans - you choose. After determining your boss must give you a raise, I suggest going here - >> Men's most expensive shoes - http://bit.ly/M5SL2k

    Before we get you those awesome shoes though, as potential counsel, I have to consider two things: did you enter the GPS address correctly? And how did Leslie manage to not have any trouble finding it?

    It's nice to dream about a non-kitty-litter-dunked pair of shoes though, isn't it? ;)

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    1. The address was not super specific. It was the address of the business center, which was apparently composed of 6 unlabeled buildings (at least from the GPS's perspective). I don't know how she found it. I think she has find it superpowers. Did you ever read this. . . http://yourfaceismyblog.blogspot.com/2011/10/im-excellent-driver.html? It's probably instructive.

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  14. I am glad the Tenex seems to be working. Crossing my fingers that it continues to work. I have to say that your illustrations for this post were fabulous! All of the pretty colors kept my attention, as did the angry face.

    I do hope that you've gotten yourself a pair of nice, non-smelly, non-pain inducing shoes. It just doesn't do to have sore feet all of the time.

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    1. Thank you! And nope, still wearing the Cruel Shoes.

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  15. I owe you more than a few sarcastic comments. Wait. I'm thinking. You have a lot of maps. I'm still thinking.

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    1. I prefer the phrase "comments with sarcasm". Comment-first language. . .

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  16. There is nothing worse than walking in circles in shoes that hurt. And now you know what women go through for the sake of beauty.

    Suck it up Jim. Beauty = Pain.

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    1. I must be drop. dead. gorgeous then.

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