Strange Apple's Blog

Posts Tagged ‘bipolar

That issue my eldest son was having with a government department?

I tried the usual avenues to have the problem resolved, was treated quite atrociously by the Call Centre operator, attended an office (better treatment) but still found that no one was willing to listen to my requests for the matter to be looked into (it was a fairly obvious administrative error – at least, I thought so, it was obvious to me).

I wrote a letter to Chief Executive. I kept all emotion and complaints about staff out of it, just the facts m’am. I ended the letter stating that I had sought legal advice, and that if a positive response was not received within 7 days that we would pursue the matter through the courts, and upon successful appeal we would also claim costs against the department. Then I had my Mum fax the letter through to the Chief Executive from her home fax, because I didn’t want the work header to appear on it (showing the government department and section that I work for).

Just over 24 hours later, I received an apologetic phone call, advising me that the error had been corrected. Funny that.

The unusual part of this is that the letter did not have my phone number on it. The Manager who dealt with the complaint recognised my name as an employee of the same government department, and rang me on my work number. Yes, that’s right, the department that was about to screw over my 18 year old son is the one that I work for!

The Manager asked me why I didn’t just ring him about that matter, rather than complain to the CE. I said that I was acting as a member of the public, I tried the avenues that members of the public have and I’d received an unsatisfactory response. The Contact Centre operator wouldn’t put me through to the section that made the error, her team leader refused to speak to me, the branch I attended rang his section and was told in no uncertain terms that there was no error, so as a member of the public I felt that the only option available was to write a complaint to the CE. He said “didn’t you tell them who you were?” – uh, no, I didn’t. I did not want there to be any potential conflict of interest, did not want anyone to feel that I was using my position to gain advantage for a family member. Weird, huh? Are my ethics… too ethical? Am I over the top about this sort of stuff, keeping in mind my recent report of an ethical issue to my *cough* manager?

Anyway, now I get to follow up on the first letter with my complaint about that horrible Call Centre operator. ๐Ÿ˜€ I won’t be totally horrible though, I will compliment the service of the Manager who resolved the complaint in an incredibly timely manner (once he was aware of it).

I did not like being a customer of the Department I work for. Imagine if L didn’t have the support structure that he has (ok, I mean me) to deal with shit like this. There must be hundreds (thousands?) of people in the same position who just end up copping it sweet after head-butting the brick wall of bureaucracy.

And I’ll finish with a mention of L’s current obsession – finding the cheapest petrol. He actually drives around comparing petrol prices and then goes back to where it was cheapest. Sometimes his logic just goes right out the window.

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Earlier on this year, the school suggested that we apply for special provisions in the HSC for L. They felt it was worthwhile asking for extra rest breaks, which would also mean that he would be either in a smaller group or on his own rather than in the big hall with the rest of the students.

This was pre-bipolar diagnosis, at a time where L was getting hardly any sleep, was finding it incredibly hard to concentrate and was very depressed. We got a letter from the GP and a letter from the Psychologist in support of the application, and both desribed how extra rest breaks would benefit L.

After the bipolar diagnosis was confirmed by the Psychiatrist, I contacted the school again, and asked if they needed any further information for the application. They said no, they had plenty of information and nothing more was needed. Then came the Lithium side effect – the shaking – making it extremely difficult for L to write. I again rang the school, and was advised that as the shaking is a side effect of the medication, and not of the condition itself, then it couldn’t be taken into account. At the time, I didn’t think much of that, apart from slight annoyance, because I thought we already had the extra rest time covered and that it would help.

This week, let’s see, just how many weeks is it before the HSC commences? Oh, that’s right, it’s 5 weeks until the exams… Anyway, this week we received a letter from the Board of Education declining the request for special provisions.

Way to kick a kid when he’s down.

Here’s an eample provided on the Board of Studies website.

Psychological โ€“ depression
Comments from Raniaโ€™s Year 12 teachers indicate she often disengages during class and needs assistance to stay focused. Rania is often anxious and worried; she is frequently absent and at times lacks interest in her work. Her application includes a report from her clinical psychologist stating she has been diagnosed with depression. The school reports that she takes longer to produce written work and has supplied two timed written essays, at least one of which is an assessment task.
Provisions approved* Individual supervision, extra time to write (at the rate of two and a half minutes per half hour of examination time) OR a writer (HSC at the rate of 5 minutes per half hour of examination time to allow for the dictation process), and extra time to rest (at the rate of 5 minutes per half hour of examination time).

So we’re appealing anyway. We have 14 days to get the paperwork in, it’s just another fucking drama in a long line of kicks to the teeth for the poor kid. What’s hypothetical Rania got that we don’t?

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Helpless, useless, not good enough.

I can’t say that it’s solely to do with L’s bipolar, it’s probably more of an overall parental thing, but the bipolar really makes me see it/feel it/be it. Helpless.

I try so hard to help, to get him into the right doctors, to see the right people, to make things easier with school, to sort out life’s problems. To stand by him. To be there for him. To listen to him.

I feel so bad when it doesn’t work, or it doesn’t help. Sometimes I back off, feeling like I’m doing too much, involving myself too much, but that makes me feel bad too.

What is the right thing to do? When should I be involved and when should I back off?

He’s never been good with taking medications, but if I remind him to take them, I cop attitude. If I don’t remind him, then his mood suffers and we all suffer. I cop shit if I help him, I cop shit if I don’t. It’s a no win situation.

It hurts.

That’s how I feel at the moment.

I think it’s L’s mood that has rubbed off on me.

I was on a high this morning, we took C to a plastic surgeon for a second opinion on his scar revision and the surgeon was impressed with what had been done (loooong story, that one, maybe I’ll put that on here soon). I hadn’t realised it before, but I was feeling a bit anxious about the appointment, so having another surgeon say that what had been done so far is fantastic and a significant improvement on the original scar, was really uplifting. Big sigh of relief and a weight off my mind. His opinion was the same as our other surgeon, leave the scar as is until he’s a teen, or fully grown.

Then we went shopping and bought a DSI XL for C’s birthday, picked up the birthday cake, took him for a haircut (and the scar is barely noticeable with this haircut, so bonus points to the hairdresser). Oh yeah, and I bought 3 new pairs of gloves.

Then we came home. L was still in bed and he was in a mood. It’s his band’s last gig tonight, and he has a psych appointment this afternoon. Because L drives my station wagon and it’s a big car, a heap of his friends want him to give them a lift to the gig. We figure out that we should take two cars to the psych appointment and pack the drums in the station wagon now because he’ll have to go straight from the appointment to the gig. L rings his friends and says that they’ll have to leave half hour earlier because he has an appointment. Now, no one wants to travel in with him because it’s not convenient. His best mate, who has his licence and his own car had said that he wanted to travel in with L “for old times sake.” Don’t they understand how this is going to make him feel?

Turns out that his lithium levels were fine, and the hospital were aware of that at about midnight, they just forgot to tell us.

He was given some medication for his headache which eased it a little. I started googling bipolar and headache, bipolar and migraine etc and what do you know, but it’s quite common to suffer from headaches when you have bipolar. Having a mother who suffers from migraines probably does not help either. Reading up a bit more on it, and it’s even more common when you have a lack of sleep, and are under stress.

Well… L is currently not sleeping, won’t take the seroquel (he doesn’t like the way it makes him feel the next day) and is in the middle of his trial exams, and his band is breaking up.

L has been driving my car this week, and I’ve been driving my Mum’s old car. When I got into my car yesterday, there is a script for Melatonin on the passenger seat. Questioning L about this – the psych prescribed this for him and he can’t remember why. Back to google. Oh, what’s this? Melatonin helps with sleeping. Melatonin can also help with headaches.

*sigh* I wish I knew this yesterday.

So today I went to the chemist but because the psych had prescribed 3mg Melatonin they had to send me to a compounding chemist. Lucky I’d taken the day off work and had plenty of time for all the running around.

L has had some sleep today, and I just took a Melatonin capsule in to him. I copped a mouthful. Niiiiice. Love you too buddy.

I wish that he wanted to be well.

I’m typing from the hospital at 5am. We’ve just hit the 11 hour mark.

L has had a headache for a few days, and it was unbearable last night. His lithium results weren’t available at his psych appointment on Friday, so with the added symptom of blurred vision, we decided to go up to the emergency room.

And here we sit. And wait…

I rang the Psych’s office today and was not very nicely told that I was ringing the wrong place, and that as L is a patient at one set of rooms, I should ring those rooms and not the office I was ringing. Lovely. I gritted my teeth and explained that Dr K had asked me to ring at *these* rooms because we were working on getting the Lithium levels stable, and he only works at the place we see him one day a fortnight. The ever so lovely receptionist/office administrator/bitch huffed and puffed and said that they had no blood test results for L.

Then I rang the GP’s office and the receptionist there looked up the blood test results for me. Lithium levels 5.1. What?!?! Remember, we are aiming for 0.6 – 0.8. Tentatively, I asked “do you mean 0.51?” and the receptionist said “oh yes, that’s what it says. Doctor has written no action on the results.” Well, that’s probably because Dr I (the GP) thinks that Dr K (the psych) has it all in hand. He probably doesn’t know that Dr K is guarded very well by an obnoxious receptionist.

Anyway, I’ve sent a fax to Dr K letting him know the results and asking if L should stay on the same dose. Hopefully I’ll hear from him tomorrow.

I did a bit of reading about the tremors, and apparently it is more common when Lithium dosage is increased quickly (L’s dose doubled last week) – so I hope he can just stay at the same dosage for a bit and see how things go. I’m really concerned about the effects this will have on his exams. Actually, I’m not concerned about the effect on his exams, I care how this will affect L. I don’t want him feeling like this will be another set back.

The boys go back to school tomorrow. I’ve sent an email to the nice Vice Principal and will see what that brings.

4 more days at my current job. ๐Ÿ˜€



  • None
  • strangeapple: I don't like to fail, and I feel like I've failed. I think that's what it is. Big knock to my ego. I saw a psych the other week, she made sense, p
  • strangeapple: Holy fuck, I had a doctors appointment this evening that I didn't go to. Fuck. Fuck. Fuck.
  • corymbia: I do the stiff upper lip thing too. Was worried I was slipping into bona-fide depression last week, but as is usually the case with me... the bad stu

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