Saturday, November 27, 2010

It's not all about blood...

Our kids.  Dang.  They must have a good lookin' mama.

Friday, November 26, 2010

I promise we do own a toothbrush

My baby has cavities.  There.  I said it.  4 cavities right in the front of his mouth.

Figuring out how to get them filled was stressful and I let it linger on longer than it needed to because dealing with the insurance company was overwhelming.  We opted for a dental maintenance organization during our last open enrollment period assuming that the our family's dental needs were going to be fairly standard.  The rates in a DMO are good, but the choice of dentists is very limited, and the choice of specialists is even more so.

The advice we had received was to fill the cavities without anesthesia.  I'm no dentist, but that plan sounded like a pretty bad one to me.  I insisted that due to my son's age and his bleeding disorder (which somehow was documented as a breathing disorder with our insurer) that he needed to be sedated.  This required me to find a dentist with access to on site anesthesia services - again made difficult by the limited number of dentists covered by our plan.

I found a dentist with a contracted anesthesiologist... who wanted a $600 deposit before booking my appointment.  I looked right at them and said "no."  After some negotiation and the repeated use of my favorite phrase when dealing with people who want my money  ("no") - I was able to get the insurance company to confirm with the doctor that because we had met our out of pocket maximum that they would indeed get paid.  Then the anesthesiologist found out about the bleeding disorder and that, as they say, was a deal breaker.

So it was back to finding a pediatric dentist within my DMO who also had hospital privilege so that the anesthesia could be done in hospital (paid for by our medical insurance) and the cavities filled (paid for by our dental insurance).  It was setting itself up to be a paperwork disaster.  I was already planning my appeal.  I was writing down people's names and everything.  After much calling around and a 40 minute drive, I met with the new dentist (who is also a professor of pediatric dentistry at the local dental school which is located on the same campus as our treatment center.)   She told me that she would love to fix my son's teeth ...without sedation... right then.  Which is what happened and the whole "procedure" took about 5 minutes
for 4 teeth.  It was a little stressful to watch, and I was totally on the alert for bleeding gums, but it was fine.

I learned something important from this.  Fear doesn't solve any problems.  When the first dentist told me that she was not going to sedate my son to fill his cavities, I panicked.  I pictured them holding him down and hollowing out his tiny little teeth with something similar to a Black and Decker power drill.   I was pretty sure that they would poke him multiple times on account of the flailing and of course there would be a lot of blood.  Blood everywhere.  Had I taken a breath and just asked some simple clarifying questions like "how often do you treat infants with these types of cavities?", "how do children typically react to having their cavities filled", "what exactly does filling a cavity entail", "how long will this procedure take" etc. I would've saved myself a lot of time, headache, cell phone minutes and gasoline money... and really, what if his mouth had bled? Hello? Port, factor, infusion... does any of this ring a bell?  It would've been ok, is all I'm saying.

In the end the whole thing ended up being a big, fat, so what, and I have recommitted to keep my panic waiting in line until I've gathered the information I need to make appropriate care choices for my son.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

all aboard the infusion train

Here is a video of me doing Zander's infusion. Of course, the day I set up the video camera (sorry of the constant shot of my leg, it was on a tripod) Zander was a little fussier than usual. Also, I needed to push my needle down a little more in order to get a blood return. We are getting more and more comfortable with the infusion process. Zander is a real trooper, even if we miss and have to try again he doesn't complain that much. Sorry, Awny did a better job of explaining what she was doing (I can't talk and infuse...give me a few years).

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

farewell friend

Today was a good day. Travis infused Zander for the first time through his port, one poke. Also, Zander got his picc line removed....YAY!
4 months, 24 open ended socks and 141 infusions later.
Pulling his picc was a little scary because we don't have that to fall back on, we are a port infusing family only now.
Zander can't wait to get both arms wet in the tub!