A New “Organic” Style Meal

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The other day I was having one of those days where you felt stuck in the house, busy with work, homework, being a mom, playing with your toddler, and pretty much going crazy in a 900 square foot apartment! The weather has been cold, the warm, then a blizzard would come and clear out and leave a beautiful muddy walkway. Mother Nature in the Midwest at her finest for sure.

I kept trying to decide if I wanted to make dinner that Saturday night or splurge on a Steak from the steak house and even let Sophie have non-organic food! Yes, that is a big deal in this house. Ridiculous at times I am sure but hey, it’s my thing so get over it haha.

So, I went for it. Curb side pick-up and I was getting a filet and got Sophie mini plain burgers. I don’t know why but I was just so excited to get that and take it home like I had accomplished something amazing other than laundry. However, I had to unload quite a bit of stuff out of the car when we got back. I had to hold Sophie, my purse, her diaper bag, a box of diapers I had bought earlier that week, and then the sack full of our delicious food, and then a free hand to grab my to-go coke.

I had everything on my shoulder or in my hand and Soph on my hip. Carrying a lot is a usual thing for me since my apartment is upstairs. We get going and walking and it happened, it really happened! I heard a slow ripping of the paper sack and the bag busted! The food not only fell on the ground but hit just right on the ground to where it popped out of the containers! OH I WANTED to just cry but I just looked at it in the dark, like oh dear me now what.

As I put the other stuff down and see what I can salvage, my daughter is screaming “oh no, oh no mommy, u tubble huh?” “Yes, Mommy in trouble now.” I put Soph down and go to start picking things up as I hear, “Yay Pi-nic!” No No No!! I am screaming! I look over and she is sitting in the grassy mud and eating!! “Mmm mommy fin-ch fies, tank ooo tank ooo!!” Before I could say anything else I just let her enjoy herself because she has no idea and thinks everything is ok and the food is fine lol..

I throw the clean, organic mommy card out the window and just say,”Ok baby lets take the picnic inside since it’s dark and clean up the food and put it in the bag ok? “Ok mommy, keen up, keen up, yay!” She gets so excited cleaning up and feeling accomplished and I was not about to let my thoughts hinder that.. even though I wanted to cry and throw all the food away and say forget it! But there is that moment where you stop and realize what joy you might be taking away from your child when you do that. She has a lifetime to learn not to eat off the ground so today will not be the day that we learn it.

We make it up stairs and I get plates out and put them on the kitchen floor and put the ripped bag and containers and food pieces on the floor and divide it all up. I couldn’t believe I was doing this but I washed my steak off in the sink and got the grass off and put her fries on her plate and said “take these green things off because it’s grass and we don’t want to eat grass ok?” “K, no gass, Yay my do it!!” I told her good job as I just shook my head lol.. I picked my own grass off and luckily the mashed potatoes stayed together and her fries were decent.

So there we set, 8:45 at night having a picnic on the kitchen floor with Chicken, Fries, Potatoes, Rolls, and Steak fresh off the ground and into our bellies. The excitement and joy on her face made me realize that I almost killed that happy feeling by getting upset and throwing it all away. That whole moment could have been gone in an instant and we both would have gone to bed sad and upset. Instead we laughed and played and ate like nothing was wrong and when she helped me cleanup she looked over and gave me a hug and said “wuvvvv oooo and wuvvvv finch fies! (with a giggle)”

Now when things don’t go perfectly I try to be cautious of my emotions and not act like something is wrong and go with the flow in front of my toddler. She is so impressionable and I know how many times joy has been taken from me because I have allowed it or someone else assisted and I just want to see that face happy. When your child is happy and joyful it just changes your whole insides to where your stomach melts and drops like the first drop from a roller coaster.

So, I guess you could say we laughed over the spilled beef and fries… a whole new meaning to our “Organic” lifestyle haha.

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A Peak Into My Daily Journal

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8:10 I drop my daughter off a daycare and we give our kisses and good bye waves. I shut the door and look through the peep hole to watch her for just a minute so I can take in the happiness of seeing how she is not only 21 months now but socializing and making friends. I watch as her little friend Taylor brings her a toy and Sophie’s excitement and joy is all over her face as she giggles and jabbers. I turn to leave for work but yet a part of me wants to stay because seeing your child interact with others is not only adorable but hilarious at the same time and always brings a smile to my face.

8:30 I am walking into work with a smile and saying my “good mornings” just as I always do like nothing is wrong and I have the confidence to hold my head up and have it all together. Hair is straightened and perfectly parted with sunglasses hidden as an accessory in my dark hair while my necklace and earrings shine with the light of the windows glaring against them. I have been told many times that I come across intimidating with how well I have it together and how others think I have it all together with not a care in the world and still being a single mother. Little do they know that I have to pray sometimes every few minutes to God to give me peace and emotional comfort. They don’t believe me when I tell them anyways.

8:45 I get my first call. I have been fighting with insurance and begging to get better assistance to not only pay my existing medical bills for my daughter but to get them to pay for evaluations and therapy due to her loss in hearing in her left ear due to an infection during her ear tube surgery when she was a baby. I only want the best and she is not behind at the moment since I work with her but I need help to continue this. Last week we had more hearing tests at Children’s and she had a Speech Therapy evaluation as well as a Behavior Observation as well. I will let you add all of that up since it is all out of pocket right now due to not being in network, insurance not paying for certain preventative measures under 3 years of age, and it is only March and I haven’t come close to the enormous out of pocket I have to pay before my insurance will pay their generous 70% as long as they approve of the appointments AFTER the medical office files it. With all that being said, my first call was an interview to try and get another private insurance and my income immediately disqualifies me. I told the lady that I do not bring home this income because so much is taken out for insurance, social security, taxes, retirement, etc. Plus, due to the fact that I was already receiving insurance that hurt me as well. So let me just sum this all up so there is no confusion: I have insurance but they will not cover specific things for therapies especially when a child is under 3 years old even with doctors letters and me begging. These days when you schedule anything you have to pay upfront in a lot of offices if you do not have Medicaid or an alternate Government insurance. Also, even though my insurance states to the medical office that they will not cover the hearing assessments regardless of being recommended by the treating physician the offices also do not allow me to pay using a sliding scale (which is at a discount price) since I do hold an insurance card because the sliding scale is strictly there for the ones who do not have any insurance what-so-ever. I can’t use my insurance since they do not pay and I can’t pay at a discount because of the card I hold in my hand so I am obligated to pay that full 329.00 for that one observation and if I do not pay that full amount right then and there then I have to sign a contract stating I will make payments or have to pay it in full within 45 days or they reserve the right to turn me over to collections. Maybe I am thinking too literally but is that not messed up? I know some would say.. go ahead! Send to collections, let them pile up!! But that explanation comes later. This call was just another rejection I had to take but the rejection to get your child help is like a fist punch in your stomach. You can’t breathe and you can’t understand. I brushed it off and the lady said she would kindly mail me my rejection letter.

9:10 I am breathing hard to prevent tears and trying to get a report written and emails out before I had to leave for my next meeting. I down my coffee and try to think of anything and everything positive and focus only on work and also get 2 hours worth of work done in 50 minutes.

10:00 I leave the office to be able to make the next appointment in town which is at the bank. Why? Well that is why I am so careful to pay everything off and be on top of everything is because I have cleaned up my credit report to show no outstanding debts or medical bills or even anything of Sophie’s surgeries at all. I have my car and a few credit cards and they thought for sure that it was time to apply to get a house. This has been my dream. I have the income, the cleaned credit and just need the “yes” from the bank. Especially with knowing that I will need to do most of Sophie’s therapy’s and coping counseling at the house it has been important for me to get this going to help me be able to do this whether I did it myself or paid someone to come in twice a month atleast to work with her and show me what to do. My heart was filled with Joy to know that something might work out and if anything we can get out of our apartment and into a place that has a yard and even though it is just me and her I still consider that family and who doesn’t want a home for their family? I walk in with my lady from the housing association who has worked with me for close to a year now to get old stuff cleared off and things paid off and she was just as excited hoping this was the day. Application was pulled, nothing outstanding, Debt to income was less that 14%, nothing late, several things closed, but there was a problem. My score had plummeted! Doing the right thing had bit me so hard in the butt that not only was I rejected they wanted me to get a loan or make more payments on something!! I could not understand what I was hearing! How is it that I am trying to do the right thing, Single Mom, Full time career mom on top of it all and there is a balance that is always missing. I just stared at the lady because I had nothing to say. I was frozen and I couldn’t cry or talk or even make sense of it all. All I remember is her saying give it about 6 months and it will either get higher or lower pending if you can add some things to pay on. Then she just smiled. She just smiled like this was nothing and a quick fix and she didn’t have to fill out any paperwork and could get back to her own life. She smiled like she had no idea that this was just so small to her but so big to me. The fact that she smiled with no compassion and had no idea what was going through my head every day broke me. Her hands were tied and she was sorry and she smiled and said have a nice day. Like I was supposed to have a nice day? I couldn’t talk to the housing lady as we walked out and just told her to email me because I needed to collect my thoughts.

11:20 I am driving back to the office but swing through to drop off the water bill. I make it back to the office and park and feel the sun on my body and the warmth is like a comfort I needed like a hug almost. I sat there for a minute thinking I can’t believe I made it here because I barely remembered driving because of being in shock. I get out and walk in and smile of course at the ones I know and see. I could tell some thought I took an early lunch. I made it to my office and just logged on like normal and got ready for my 11:30 call regarding work.

12:05 My friend messages me asking how it went with insurance and the house. I just messaged that it was a no on both. My mother had text me as well asking the same thing and I told her it was a no on both. My friend and my mom reply asking “Your kidding, Now what are you going to do?” That is when it hit. What am I going to do? My mind is racing! I have a test to take tomorrow over statistics that I have to keep studying for, I have a website to finish creating for my IT Portfolio for school, I have to re-write several queries to get a report working properly again, I have to call my school mentor to make sure I am on target for finishing my classes by the end of the month, I have a call with my daughter’s Speech Therapist at 5:30 to discuss further treatments and payments, a friend who needs me to do her taxes before the weekend is up, I can’t get help in any way for my daughter without a huge bank account, I can’t qualify for a house because I was doing the right thing and paying my bills and cleaning everything I could up! I am doing the RIGHT THING so why me?!? Why!? I don’t understand! Years of pain and hard work are just not making sense! Fighting for my daughter just doesn’t make sense when I see so many who do not even want to fight or speak up! Why do some people get things handed to them and my life is just not like that!?

12:20 I grabbed my purse and walked calmly to the bathroom to make sure nobody was in there and just cried so hard that not only were my tears big and blinding but I threw up and started dry-heaving. It was just so uncontrollable. The pain of loving my daughter so much is killing me because I want to provide and do so much for her and I want her to have the best and every corner I turn to brings tears to my eyes. So when someone asks what am I going to do, I really just do not know what I am going to do. I know I will continue on and keep doing the best but when do you know when to stop fighting and if you have lost the battle? I want to go home and lay on the couch and cry and sleep until the happy ending decides to happen but I know that will not happen in one day. I finally dry my eyes and face and make sure there are no footsteps so I can wash my face and reapply makeup and eye drops as if nothing happened. Luckily it works. I walk out and continue to listen to lunch stories and smile and say me and Sophie are great and head back into my office. If they only knew what I had been through just today, but then again they might not understand either.

2:00 Comes and goes. 2 days a week I try to go and work with Sophie at her daycare on talking and enunciating and anything else to try and advance her as much as possible. I do not know what the future holds so I want to help her in all that I can to try and advance her in case she does lose hearing or gains it all back and it is a new world for her. Some people do not realize that coping is big. The days when she hears great things are loud and muffled and it is almost like she has a seizure but it is just that she has to separate herself from the noise since it is so new. She stays in a corner with books for a while and that is how she copes. On the days where she has a cold it is like she is hearing underwater because her ears will fill up with fluid and she is mostly loud speaking these days and plays in her own world these days. A lot of kids go through this but there is something about how my daughter wants to learn that makes me want to help her succeed higher than what is “state labeled” for her to succeed. I think only a mother can understand who has had a similar situation. She is so healthy that it kills me to know anything is even wrong and like most I would love to stay in denial. I called to remind the daycare I would be there tomorrow to work with her since my morning has put me behind. I don’t advertise this since it brings about questions and when people see and hear my daughter they do not understand what even goes on behind her eyes. They see a beautiful toddler talking, jabbering, listening, focusing, playing, etc. Your children don’t wake up knowing all of that though.

3:30 This is when I normally make it back to the office after working with Sophie. It is amazing that she is 21 months and can spell her name and talk and draw and know animals and shapes and colors and you would never think she suffered any hearing damage. Why do I push for help? Because she is getting older and I need help and proper assessments to make sure she is getting better and not worse. A few weeks hindered by hearing loss or anything can put a child behind or change them in many ways. I don’t want my happy bubbly intelligent daughter changed or know there is anything wrong which is why I will push to help her in all ways. Why would any parent sit back and let their speech be hindered with any possible hearing loss and let time tell them how the ending plays out? It is definitely cheaper and a lot less effort but I couldn’t and can’t do that. But right now I am just recovering from my earlier episodes and finishing up work so that I can try and get her early.

4:45 I pack up the laptop from the office since I work most evenings and get out of here. Smiling and telling everyone I will see them tomorrow. I get to the car and feel the sun and I feel tears coming again but suck it up so nobody at daycare can see. When I get there and hear the words “Mommy” I am full-filled but yet I could just bawl because I missed her so much. I look in her eyes and she has no idea that I was told she couldn’t have additional insurance, that my insurance denied our claim request, that we will not be getting a home right now and have no idea when that will happen. All she knows is mommy is here and we get to go home. She doesn’t understand being so young but yet she can understand when mommy is sad so I try not to do anything but squeeze her and smile.

5:15 Everything is unloaded and I get her some milk and we read book while I usually ponder on dinner. This is a usual routine every day. She loves books and could swim in them if she could and if we had enough that is for sure. I have to say that is something that I love about her. She loves puzzles, books, and drawing. So that is how we spend our times.

5:30 I am either making dinner or reheating from last night since it is just us 2. She is always fussy at this time because she is hungry and tired and wants me to hold her all at the same time. Which I can’t but we work it out.

6:30 Dinner has come and gone and Sophie usually gets some fruit or a smoothie at this time and I can tell if it will be an early bed time or if we will be able to work on words. We work on words and flashcards and she sounds just like a little adult. I keep a journal so I know how we progress and I think that is the best thing any parent can do for any child under 5 who is learning. It is amazing what a child can learn and pick up on. Her signing, her words, her communication and social skills and her personality are all definitions of her. I just take it in every night and see how things change so much each day. When I take time to think about the blessings then I forget about my day and when it comes to her I have learned that I have to do that or I am not living and I am just surviving.

7:15 I fill the bath up for her favorite time of night and with her favorite toys. I go in the bathroom and see how the curtain is not staying up, how the vinyl on the floor just continues to peel and how the shower door will never look clean no matter how much I scrub it. Then my sad day hit hard again and tears start to come and I slowly sit in the floor as the bath runs and as I hear her coming I put my head on my knees so I can wipe my face. She runs in their screaming “Bubbles Ahhh, Tank you, Tank you!” She saw a bath of bubbles and me in there to play and the excitement was all over her face! I snap back to reality and play and bury my emotions like they don’t exist for that moment and seeing her smile is a therapy all in its own. I put cotton in her ears to protect and keep water out so she can splash and just watch as she pretends she is having tea and cleaning the cup. She is so happy that I never want to take that away. I have noticed that when I read back in my prayer journal that I state that often because she is truly happy and I want her to always be that way.

7:30 My baby is all clean and soft. I make her homemade milk formula as she watches me and then add some lavender oil to a wet towel and rub her little feet. This is the time where I just spend it with her doing whatever. Sometimes we read until 9:00, maybe we play until she is ready to go to bed, but I let her mostly decide unless there is a pressing reason that I need to get to work or she is super fussy and tired. Tonight she wanted to read and rock and watch a Peter Rabbit Episode. Holding her makes my heart full and I catch a happy tear because I don’t want that moment to pass. To me she is getting to big but I have to realize she is just a baby in my arms and to enjoy the moment and not wish for the new days and not miss the old days. Living in the moment is definitely challenging when you have a mind that wants to fix everything and question your life and your daily thoughts at every moment.

8:00 (pm) She is double blinking and holding her milk and just tuned towards me to hide her face. This is when she is ready for bed but lately she enjoys me holding her and rocking her until she is fully asleep rather than being laid down first. I have learned to throw the books away that say to stick to a bedtime and to put them to bed and let them fall asleep on their own. Why throw them away? It is good advice in the beginning but I want my child to feel the closeness and I need to feel it as well. She is my baby and if I want to hold her and she wants me to hold her then why am I listening to a book or people tell me to fight that and put them in bed no matter what. Structure is good and needed but there is something more to this “love” thing that is helping me not only get through my rough days but make her happy and feel my voice when I talk so I personally believe we should all have a bonfire with those books and just love our children during these times they need us and when we need them.

8:30 I am still in the recliner, with the television on very low, “self-healing”. I am listening to her breath, holding her little hands and reading my devotional that is beside my chair aloud so she can feel and hear my voice. I then read aloud Deuteronomy 31:6. “Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the lord your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you.” I sit for a moment before I pray because that is also the verse I have at my desk on a sticky note so I remind myself that I need to be strong and to know that God is with me and will not leave me. However, I am human and I do feel sad and alone. I can’t tell you if that is just my own mind playing tricks or being attacked from Satan but I do know it is pain and I have to pray to receive peace. I take the time to pray aloud but close to a whisper so I don’t wake Sophie. I pray over her to be healed which I do every night and for her to never feel that she is not wanted since our family life is not a perfect situation. I take this time to focus the prayer on her but yet my emotions really come through and it is almost too much to handle.

9:00 I finish rocking and realize she is out cold and I can go lay her down. The only thing is this is the time I don’t want to lay her down and at times I may fall asleep with her in the recliner or on the couch holding her. But, this is a weekday and I have work to do among other things and I know she needs sleep without me interrupting. I lay her down and turn on a night light  nd adjust the fan to drowned out noise and leave. But first I stare at how sweet she is. A lot of times I will take a picture with my phone because a sleeping baby is so precious. I leave the room and then realize that I am alone. It’s a cold clammy feeling at first because it is so quiet and I just had my devotional and I get lost for a few minutes. I will either grab a bottled water, sprite, dr pepper, or make a hot chocolate on my Keurig. ( I know what you are thinking.. so healthy right? Well I have my weaknesses when I know I have to stay up and need comfort in a soda product or a warm chocolate drink.. Hey it’s my thing).

9:20 I notice the time because I have my drink, the television on, and my computer pulled up. The time going forward really mentally messes my mind up because I would like for it to be 8:20 but those are just thoughts since I know what all I need to get done.

9:30 I am fully escaped into working and finishing up a report and keeping my mind focused on anything other than my day. My emotions are not fluttering, no tears blinding me, just me and this query that I want to complete and run and get it loaded into the report.

11:15 My query has finished running and I loaded it into the report and it looks successful! Now I just have to wait for the ‘Ok’ from the customer, but for tonight my work is done; with work anyways. I am also a full-time student who has got to pass this statistics test before the end of March, THIS MONTH! So study time it is.

11:25 Debating on what to drink next. I had Hot chocolate and now I guess I could settle for water. I just hope I can stay awake. Standard Deviation is what I am struggling with and that is my focus along with homework to help me and a practice test.

11:40 I want to just forget about school. My mind is fried and my heart is elsewhere and my thoughts are dwelling on my day and how I will survive tomorrow. Tears are blinding me again and I just have to stop and pray crying to God to give me strength to just wake up and be happy and help Sophie however I can and to give me the strength to fight these battles whether I lose or win. Help me to press on to find a home, to pay for therapy or to get the knowledge to help her. I pray for guidance and an angel to watch over us closely. But most of all I pray for peace and happiness and for my friends and family who have struggles of their own. Today you just see the sadness and struggles of one day, but you don’t know the struggles that come everyday and how my life has really been hard at times. Reading this you may see me in many different lights. You may see me as that struggling single mom or that maybe I have made these choices so I need to deal with them. Maybe you see this and know the feelings and the struggles I am facing, not only today but as a woman and as a single mom. You may read this and think I need to count my blessings and be glad I have insurance and a great job and may even think I am petty. Whatever you are thinking is probably right in some form. However, emotions come without a lot of control. How you feel about things and your passions are what make a person human and compassionate. So before you judge or label me I hope you see that I am passionate and that my life is real. This is just me.

1:15 (am) I have studied and taken a practice test. I am not confident but I feel better about the class than I did earlier. I shut down the computer and put it away. I plug in my phones and pick up the living room. I check the weather and then get an outfit for Sophie ready for that next morning as well as make sure she has milk for the next day. I wash bottles and sippy cups and pull out the clothes in the dryer and either fold them or leave them on the table praying for the cleaning fairy to come. I then go ahead and grab Sophie’s bottle from her crib and then fill it up and then shower because I know she will wake up wanting some milk usually around the time I am almost asleep. I get out of the shower and dry off quickly since it is always cold in there and get ready for bed. I lay out my outfit, necklace, and earrings, then take Sophie’s clothes into the living room with a diaper, socks, shoes and bow and leave it on the love seat. I grab my prayer journal so that I can pray to God and clear my thoughts. I am careful to pray that he do his will but give me peace and understanding and bring me happiness and dry my tears. This always makes me feel complete no matter how bad my day is or what struggles I have faced. I know what it is like to struggle so bad that you take an appetite suppressant so you don’t get hungry because you don’t have any money for food and I am the type to never ask for help. I know what it is like to crave a 55 cent coffee at work and beg to find it in your purse or on the floor in your office. I know what it is like to feel like a failure sense your marriage ended and you are devastated to the point that you would rather people read it in the paper rather than have anyone know the truth. I also know what it is like to pray that daycare does not ask for payment at the same time rent is due.  I know the feeling of over joy when someone knows you are struggling to be a single mom and that you have pride and leaves diapers on your doorstep anonymously even though I know who it is and thank her with tears and hugs. I know what it is like to hide a pregnant belly from people at work so they do not know your situation. I know what it is like to fear for your health. I know what it’s like to watch a parent suffer with cancer and one slowly deteriorate until they find the problem. I know what it is like to see your friends and cousins go through the excitement of announcing their weddings and when they are expecting while you keep your divorce and failed marriage to yourself and pray they don’t notice you are 7 months pregnant without a spouse or a father involved. I couldn’t be excited since I had health risks and spend my time terrified and sad. Hormones and emotions play against you and you don’t know what you feel. I know what it is like to get your baby’s birth certificate messed up because they keep adding mother and father and by the 4th time they get it right and you notice that it has your child’s name on there and the mother is you and there is just this massive empty space and you immediately start fearing you might lose your child to this invisible person or you will have to explain to this beautiful baby why there is so much blank space. I know what it’s like to have that moment where you are told your baby does not have a heartbeat at 17 weeks and the life you were preparing for has just ended and you just leave the office because you just can’t stomach the thought of having the baby removed and hold out hope that it was a mistake until your body can’t dispose of it naturally and you bleed out so bad you come close to needing a transfusion. I, Casey Poff know what it is like to struggle through life and come out on the other side and into a new journal and realize that I have overcome a lot and received many blessings and helped others along the way, but that does not mean I don’t hurt and that you can tell what goes on behind my eyes even if I am smiling.

2:00 I finish my journal writing and prayer and I do feel peace in knowing that I have conquered so much and realize the strength that is in me. I have peace and try to know that I need sleep. I hear Sophie and go check on her and she is half asleep so I give her a bottle of milk and head back to the couch. I sleep there so that she can have my room and it is quiet. It works better that way and I love the comfort of being in the living room.

8:10 (am) I drop my daughter of at daycare and watch her smile through the glass of the door again. I think quietly and pray that my day today is better than yesterday and to realize yesterday is now the past and today may bring happiness and success because our God is always full of surprises and no matter how the day turns out, I will still keep loving and I will still keep praying.

Nervous-Breakdown or Just Life?

breakdown2How is it that you can feel the presence of God and things changing for the better and then something completely change direction and then you are questioning life and its existence and if you are praying to a ghost at times?

I don’t think just Single moms feel this but that anyone in general can feel this at times. It has been a rough week. As per previous thoughts and blogs most of you know about my issue with the healthcare and trying to get my daughter help and literally not knowing where to turn. I have been fighting this battle for months and the reality has set in and there are no words to describe what I am feeling exactly. I say this a lot when I write because you feel so many things at once that you are just lost and fogged.For one, I hold everything in and I am just a robot and keep going like I am super woman.

My Description is this:

Single Mom 100% = No Dad and No Child Support

Career Mom = 60 hours atleast a week. (fortunate to be able to have home access to work)

Student = I finished 30 Credit Hours this Term (IT Degree)

Job = Systems and Performance Analyst = Crystal Report Writer and SAP programs manager. Maintain hundreds of reports everyday along with re-creating old reports, installs, creating and writing new reports, maintaining 2 websites and sharepoint sites, assisting others with IT and Data Issues, Running many transit files for customers, operational needs and data as needed, day, night, weekends etc. Educate and help other IT professionals within the company with their coding needs, Assist Sales in closing accounts with verification of reports, etc.. the list continues sadly and my Salary would more than double if I didn’t live in the Midwest.

Being Mommy = Attending all the parties at my kids daycare and participating and bringing things. Right now we have her valentines cards completed and I made raspberry muffins for her to take and just made dinner like every night. We will read and go over her flash cards and make it a game then do puzzles and writing where I have her switch hands during both activities to try and exercise her brain per I have read that helps aid in the therapy process and even possibly help regain some of her hearing that is lost. I will try anything to help her. Then there is the normal mommy chores of laundry, cleaning, making Sophie’s own milk, etc.

Being a Daughter: My parents live 30 minutes away so I try to pack us up each weekend or every other weekend to make the trip to visit for the day or the weekend. Sounds enjoyable, and it is but the stress of taking a toddler to another environment and keeping the usual routine is challenging and can really throw you off. But you do it because you want that time with them and they want that time with you and their grandbaby.

Therapist: I have a Speech therapist that is willing to work with me and show me what to do every evening and I can afford her one day a week to help but I need to make up for the rest each eve, atleast 3-4 days for sure. This is my New title that I am just now learning until I can get a full understanding of what she needs and what I can afford after her evaluation of her ears and neurological development. She needs a full room devoted to this that is only that and since we live in a 2 bedroom apartment I have devoted my room to this and working on that this weekend. I sleep on the couch anyways or we sleep in the recliner together so that I can keep her elevated most nights. Not something I admit to many because they don’t understand how fluid in the ears works if it doesn’t flow right or if she is congested then there is nothing but muffled noises. I am sure this sounds crazy but as a mom if there is any thought to helping your child succeed you will do it.

Bargain Groceries: Master Coupon Clipper and Ad Matching. Surviving to get all the groceries we need at the best price.

These are just things that came to mind because it is what I deal with currently. How do women survive as Single Moms and come out successful when they have the job most go to college for and still can barely make it? Will things ever get better?

There are days when I feel so blessed and can see that bright future and then life turns on you again and you question what is going on!? Will I always have to live my life fighting or will my time finally come where I can relax and feel joy and be happy? They say God does not punish but that he tests us to make us stronger. But what about when you have been tested and tested to where you literally get that weak mind and feel you can’t handle anymore rejection or work and you feel that no matter what you do you are failing? Continue reading

Fighting the Healthcare Battle ‘Being Rejected, No Financial Assistance, and Ready to Give Up’

Stethoscope wrapped around hundred dollar bills

Before you read, keep an open mind and understand the battle and know that this is not a complaint but an opportunity for something to change.

I have a great job as an IT Programmer/Web Reporter for a large corporation and we have insurance which I always assumed would cover everything. I have noticed the past few years that there are certain things that are not covered or less is being covered and I am having to pay more up front. I never really had to battle and beg for help on getting insurance to cover something until recently. If anyone who reads this has any ideas I am open to hearing them for sure!

My baby girl was one of several babies out there that suffered Chronic Ear Infections for months and months. Finally when she was 9 months old she was referred to an ENT Dr that put tubes in immediately, but that turned into more problems. She developed Staph from that surgery and became really sick on and off. They swore it wasn’t the tube that was infected and she got it elsewhere and would not refer us to Children’s and wanted to take care of it there through medicines. The medicines worked while she took them but once she went off of the antibiotic it came back. I knew something was wrong but I tried to trust the Doctor until I finally had enough. She had never ran a high fever before and her daycare called saying she had 104 fever! I immediately left work and called her pediatrician because I was afraid this could go septic. They got me in and said she looked fine and the ears were still infected and cultured it again. We started another antibiotic and given the max dose of Tylenol and sent home to watch it. My Gut just told me something was wrong and my mom was feeling the same way. The next day was Saturday and we headed straight to Childrens Hospital ER to see what options we had to get the staph infection cleared up and see their ENT specialist to try and get this baby girl some relief! It was the best thing I did! They cultured it and got us to see the ENT Dr that Monday. The culture came back as Staph and she needed those tubes out immediately! The day comes for surgery and as discussed the tubes will be replaced and the ear canal cleaned out and if the infection was bad enough and the adenoids were large then he said it would be in the best interest to take them out. I was devastated that my baby had to go through this but it had to be done.

After the surgery was done he came out and said she did great and that the infection came from the tubes, mostly her left, and her adenoids had to be removed. Sophie was in pain but came out of it well and I was so grateful. At the time you don’t think about money or insurance, only your child because that is the only thing that is important. Sophie did great with no problems for months and then we went to the follow-up appt where they did a full hearing evaluation. Everything from sights and sounds to using the machine to test the eardrum and vibrations. I noticed that there was never a response to her left side without a visual or the clown popping up in bright lights on her left side, so I was prepared for them to say something I just did not know what. They said they tested it 3 times and there was no activity on her left side. I just looked around for a bit and asked what exactly that meant.  Could tell they were choosing their words wisely. She said after serious infections hearing loss is a possibility but we never know if it is permanent until they are around 3 years of age.

I was like wait, wait, wait, so what do I do? Can I help her? What does this mean? They said that they would do another hearing test in 9 months to determine more. I could not believe what I was hearing.. 9 months!? My child is learning to talk and pronounce words and you want me to let her development be hindered by this? I don’t understand. She said, there are options if you want to be pro-active but it might be tough. I was like tough? She said, well do you have Medicaid? I said no we have insurance through my work, isn’t that better? She told me to hang on and she would be right back. She came back with a stack of papers to give to my pediatrician and for me to fill out for them and to give to my insurance. She was very nice and told me she would want to do the same as me and get help but to know that it could get pricey if my insurance did not cover it but said the developmental center would do a full evaluation and she has seen hearing return to children when caught before the age of 2.

I left thinking I just had to set up another appointment somewhere else and then as I was driving home it hit me. Did they just tell me that my child was deaf? No activity in her left ear?  I just could not understand and I also just did not want to and My mom was making excuses that maybe it was from the surgery or it was a fluke. But this is hearing! We hear things everyday no matter what. Even with an infection there is activity happening in your ear! I tried to just relax and get through the holidays and research what needed to be done while I sent the stuff to my pediatrician to work on and get her referred for testing. It is now February and this was back in November, so it has taken some time for sure.

I finally got information in the mail from the developmental center and they were needing more information faxed in about insurance etc since it is the new year so I faxed everything in last week.  I call to follow up to see what is going on and they said they needed me to sign a payment agreement to make sure I would pay so much at the time of the scheduled appointment and atleast half of the full bill the day of the appointment. I asked why it was being done like this because I have insurance and then the ball dropped! No where in my policy does it cover specialized therapies associated with hearing loss other than the audiology testing. It covered prescriptions and Psych evaluations per this was considered therapy and under the mental health policy. So I had to clearly understand and hear it for myself that I have no coverage to help my daughter regain her hearing through any therapy. Medicaid covers at 100% and any other government provided insurance listed under Medicaid is covered as well. I just did not understand and told them that I couldn’t believe it but I would do whatever it took and would pay. So I asked what the charges would be and she said she would fax me the information for the full day of evaluation per my pediatrician referred us for that because you want to make sure nothing is neurological and to make sure that everything is considered so they know how to help.

Anyways, she said 500.00 was due today to be put on the schedule and that since I had private insurance it was looking about 8-10months out! I could not believe this! Can I not get my child help any other way? 500.00! I have insurance that I pay for and it is useless in this matter so I have to be treated as if I don’t have insurance. I told her I was going to call her back because I wanted to call my insurance and get a full breakdown from them because something can’t be right.

I call my insurance and it was true. There was nothing covered under Developmental therapies or evaluations. Only Psych disorders and evaluations through certain doctors within the state. I asked what I was supposed to do and they said to ask for a payment plan and financial assistance. I got off the phone and wrote some things down.

Hearing Loss

Failed Testing

Referred by ENT Specialist, Audiologist, and Pediatrician

Medical Records prove the need for therapy

My daughter has not had any infection since the surgery but still has hearing loss

She is showing signs of withdraw in certain places with muffled noises

Im noticing speech difficulty

She turns her head so she can hear people talk on her right side

Some days she acts as if she can’t hear hardly at all

After writing everything down I had to realize that my daughter needed help with or without insurance and I had to figure out how. How could something that is medically necessary not be covered by all insurances? Then the Fax of the cost breakdown came through. I was worried it was going to be close to 1200.00 like her surgery that I had to pay for up front because it was the same surgery within the same year and they would not cover but only a percentage of it. It was more than I could have even imagined!!  Everything from MRI to several different types of hearing tests and behavioral testing to play therapy and occupational therapy and IQ-type testing and Speech testing came to a grand total of 8136.00. I know what you are thinking.. Isn’t this a lot of medical testing!? Yes it is but different medical codes due to it being at a developmental center and not a hospital it is considered under the mental health policy. Keep in mind this is part of the Children’s Hospital but it is their learning and development center. No matter what I said or did there was no changing to get insurance to pay. And this was just the beginning not the continued therapy once they find out what she needs. I was just sick! I work so hard and I need this so bad for her! I could never forgive myself if I didn’t try.

I decided to call other centers in the state to see if I could get anything cheaper and to my surprise I got rejected many times just for my child being under 3! And some will not help until your child is atleast 5!! I found one place that would take her but it would be for play therapy just to see how she is coping with having a hearing loss in one ear. I took it and its going to cost but it is only 300.00 and we have an appointment in a few weeks.

I took a few days to think about the other place because I know it is a specialized therapy and I know she needs it and I just had to figure out how I could pay for it.

We live in an apartment and I have been saving to build a house and just started the paperwork per I am finally approved! Nothing big, just 3 bedrooms 2 bath and I needed to make sure I could cover the cost of the interest and the little things here and there in case something went over budget and to have money to close on. I called the place today and paid the 500.00 and signed the papers that said I would pay 50% on the day of the appt. To my surprise they said they had an opening then end of March and I took it! I was thrilled that we got in and to know that my daughter now has a chance to get better and that she will get therapy is wonderful! I used the money however that was for our house. I know we need a better place to live but I am thankful that I did have this saved up or else I don’t know what I would have done. I will use my refund to help with the therapy costs after the evaluation and requested to be put on the payment plan and regardless I will take out a loan if I need to.

I don’t understand why it has to be this way and why I can’t get help when someone else can get the therapy for free but all I know is that sometimes you can’t fight the battle and I could have given up which is what most probably have done and will do but I didn’t. I am hoping for a miracle and for my daughter to regain her hearing and be able to cope with whatever outcome happens. As a mom, I will do whatever it takes for her.

Has anyone out there had to fight the healthcare battle and are there any options? Please share your story if you have!

proudsinglemomblog@gmail.com

Innocent Words of a Child

The holidays have passed and Sophie just hit the milestone of 19 months! It is so amazing to look back and see pictures from today verses a year ago. I am so grateful for each passing day and think of how many adventures we have had in such a short amount of time. It seems as if she has always been a part of me because I can’t even remember hardly the days before I had her. Even on the craziest days I still look at her while she is sleeping and I still have tears that I catch running down my cheek because I am just so thankful to have someone in my life that has taught me what true love is all about. To some that may sound cheesy or maybe even a thoughtless rambling to start off a conversation but there is meaning behind these tears.

My biggest fear has always been the day that she asks about her Dad or a dad or her situation and why it is different. I know these days everyone has a unique situation but that doesn’t make it any easier as a parent. I always imagined it being while she was in Kindergarten figuring out about how other kids have a Dad and she then realizes that something is missing and comes home asking why I have a dad and she has a Grandpa but why doesn’t she have a daddy like everyone else. Now before anyone starts judging you should know that it is a blessing to not have her Dad in the picture because he doesn’t want to be and I do not believe in forcing parenting upon anyone and forcing them to be a parent and resenting the situation and the child. Then I would have another issue at hand of explaining why she isn’t wanted or feels wanted by her Dad; Either way there is no winning but I want her to always feel wanted and loved.

Here I am waiting and worried about Kindergarten when the moment happened while she is 19 months old. I am writing this while it is completely fresh per it happened just recently and I am still hurting from the pain of the innocent words out of her mouth. I have noticed that over the holidays she was letting the Daddy word slip out while referring to my Dad and we would have to remind her it was “Papa” and she would be fine and we would pretend nothing happened and go on. However, nobody really pretended anything, we just all kept it to ourselves. It hurt to hear her call him that because I know she was hearing it and understanding it from being at daycare (aka baby-school). I finally broke down to my mom and she said not to worry about it because she was just trying to use her words. I knew she was just saying that to make me feel better but I pretended it worked. I haven’t heard anything out of her since, regarding the “Daddy” word lately so I thought maybe it was a fluke for the time being.

Recently we had a playdate with a friend of mine and her little one. I was excited to go and have a playdate because it had been so long and we were to exchange gifts with the kids. They are close in age so it is always very cute to see them play when we get together. I am always concerned if men are around and wasn’t sure if her husband was going to be around because I never know how Sophie will react. Normally she screams and if they have a beard it’s over because she will scream out of complete fear. However, none of the kind was there so we were having a great time. Then it happened… Her husband came through the door and the little one yelled Daddy!! Then Sophie turned towards him and just started gleaming with bright eyes and was talking her jibberish and laughing at any attention he gave her. I was calling her name but she didn’t hear me and was following him as he went down the hall saying “pease , pease?”. I wasn’t sure why she was saying please, so I had her come back down to me and she just looked confused and asked in the sweetest voice, “ Daddy Pease”. I said, honey I am Mommy (Trying to change the subject). She said “no no, Daddy Pease, Pease Daddy.” Then she grabbed a book and started heading down the hall and I went to get her and said “ Its ok I will read the book”, She then turned and looked and said “ Daddy no book?” “Daddy Pease, Pease?” I then became sick and had a lump so hard in my throat I couldn’t swallow or speak and just held her and walked her into the living room. My friend was in tears because she knew I was holding back and could only imagine what I was thinking. I had tears roll down my face but I was holding so many tears back I could feel a massive migraine coming and I couldn’t see for the flooding of tears being held in my eyes. I sat her down and finally swallowed where I could talk and she kept pointing at my eyes saying “eyes, eyes mommy”. I said yes, these are my eyes and where are yours? And she pointed to her eyes and then she pointed to her nose and I asked where her belly was and we tickled it and got her laughing. I finally said, “Let mommy read you the book ok?” and she said “K, tank ooo”. I read her the book as best as I could without choking and thinking anymore about it but in my mind I felt like a failure. My friend and I talked briefly about it just enough to put it out there but no details because I think we would have just cried until we were sick. The innocence of any child I think could bring anyone to tears.

As we left all I could think about was that one thing and the whole situation playing out in my head. I know every parent has their own battles with their children and their own pain but when you are going through your own pain you don’t really see anything else but your own. Right now I just tell myself that I am grateful for what we do have and that I am doing the best I know how. As we came home I just loved on her and made dinner and wanted to hold her as much as I could but she was just so tired so I laid her down and she was out pretty quick. I came in the living room and just cried because I had too. I had so much I had held in I just bawled. I looked for a movie to take my mind off of everything, even tried watching a scary movie and then I noticed something. Both movies had the same similar plot. One was a television movie where the mom was protecting her daughter from becoming victimized in college and the other was a horror film that ended in knowing that the mom had victimized herself to prevent suffering of her daughter. You may be trying to figure out what I am getting to and it is just this….We all have battles and have choices on how we handle them. How do we know what is right? We don’t.

My mom used to always tell me anytime I was punished or when I was hurting that she could feel it and I would understand when I became a parent. I never knew what she meant until I became a parent, and the older your child gets it does not get easier, it only gets harder because they can tell you what they want and what hurts.

After I finished crying I went in to Sophie’s room and she was sleeping so peacefully, I put my hand in her hand and just prayed for peace, love, and guidance.  I prayed that when she wake and these words came out of her mouth again that I would know the right answer but that I wouldn’t resort to lying even though she is so young. I went back into the living room and started going through my phone when I heard a whimper of her waking up. I am sure she heard me from being in there but I was just happy to see her awake and hug her since I had been crying all evening. She looked at me half awake and said “mommy”, I said yes baby, you have a bad dream? She didn’t say anything just laid her head on my shoulders so I knew she was sleepy. I laid her back down and she stood up and said “Daddy, Daddy, no no no?” I said Baby, I’m mommy but your Daddy is up there and his name is Jesus, as I pointed to the ceiling. I said “Sophie’s Daddy is in a place called Heaven and he watches over you and Mommy and protects us and makes us happy (as I tickled her belly)”. She giggled and pointed up and said “Daddy” and I said yes and I am mommy and I love you so very much. I know it was a lot for her to take in but it was not a lie and it was the answer I had prayed for. She laid down and as I was about to walk out I said “Night Night Love you” and she stood up and said “Mommy, wuv ooo, K (K comes after everything these days). I just looked at her and then gave her a kiss on the cheek and said “love you so much night night.”

Where an adventure comes a battle may follow. We don’t always know the right answers but there is someone who does. Being a mom has taught me to be humble in a lot of ways and to rely on God when times get tough. Too many times people give advice based on instinct or their own experiences and thoughts. That is great in some cases, but in this case my advice is to let you know that you are not alone in any situation and call upon God to help you.

9” Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.”  Joshua 1:9 (NIV)