Sunday, July 17, 2011

The Best of Intentions

I’m composing this post as I always do...with “Document 1” opened in Word…and I’m guesstimating how long it’s been since I’ve posted at Inside…Out. I’m resisting the urge to glance over my shoulder at the wall calendar and I fully realize that the rational way to check would be to log in and simply look. But where's the challenge in that?? Instead, I’m recalling the events that took place when I logged in here the night after I’d shared our recent struggles dealing with my son’s autism:

(At this point, the screen gets all blurry, so that everyone knows we’re going into a classic Lifetime Movie flashback, complete with sappy intro music and with the predictable “Several Weeks Ago?” printed across the bottom of the screen for those who haven’t figured out that this is a sappy Lifetime flashback)

Kathryn sits with her hand poised over her mouse, ready to view the responses received from her gut-wrenching tell-all post. We can see her internal struggle as she wonders whether she’s about to read a bunch of well-meaning but awkward, obviously uncomfortable responses with things like, “Um. Well. Gosh. Huh…gee. Good luck with that.”

She opens the comments section as the music swells to an overwhelming crescendo…so loud she has to plug her ears with her fingers as she begins to read the heartfelt, moving responses. The tears soon flow unchecked down her cheeks and the camera zooms in to follow a single tear as it falls…and gently the “V” and the “B” on the laptop’s keyboard.

That’s when you hear Kathryn’s emotionally-charged voice mutter, “CRAP. NO-NO-NO-NO…” as she grabs for a tissue and begins to gently dab the keyboard, which ultimately does nothing to prevent her screen from blinking, flashing and eventually turning a frightening shade of blue:

Okay, so maybe it didn’t happen exactly that way. But I did cry…and it did feel like one of those Lifetime Movies when the lady thinks that no-one’ll show up at her party and she’s just about to leave and then the doors open and everyone she knows and loves comes walking in…smiling and looking amazingly supportive. Then the camera pans out and you see that there are thousands of people outside the building waiting (in an orderly fashion) to get inside and then the music swells again.

Regardless, that’s pretty much how I felt. Your comments reminded me that even if I can’t see you, you’re still here with me. And I know you mean that in the most non-creepy of ways…

And although (thank God) my son hasn’t had yet another repeat trip to the ER (knock on wood, throw salt over shoulder) the challenges have continued unabated. The latest was an interesting series of events that took place on Thursday of last week. I’ll give you a snapshot:

When checking my home phone messages, I discovered one from 2pm (automated) which stated that I was to have a phone interview with the Social Security office on Friday at 1:30pm to discuss benefits for my son…and that I must cancel within 24 hours if I would be unavailable. Not only would I be unavailable (I’d be at work) but I knew nothing about this. An urgent email first thing Friday morning from me to the people at my son’s facility was followed by a response assuring me that their office was handling this call and that I had no worries.


Even with this assurance, I decided to remotely activate the call-forwarding feature on my home phone (where I wasn’t) to my cell phone at work (where I was). I’m guessing you know what happened at 1:30. When the guy from SSI called and  informed me that A) I did not have the option of rescheduling and B) He’d be needing quite a bit of information; including dates, addresses and telephone numbers, I hurriedly bolted from work and headed for home, all the while telling SSI guy that I’d be home momentarily and within arm’s reach of all the detailed info he’d requested.

Fifteen minutes into my drive though, the guy put me on hold and returned to say that the people at my son’s agency were on the other line and were looking to complete the interview themselves. He thanked me for my time and the line went dead.


At this point, I did what any loving mother would do: I called home to ask Taylor (19) and Connor (14) if they’d eaten lunch yet. They had not and enthusiastically suggested I stop at the diner and pick up two deluxe barbeque bacon cheeseburgers, STAT.


But here’s where it gets…interesting. As I walked out of the diner with my bag ‘o burgers, I walk past one of those newspaper vending machines and the headline causes my heart to skip a beat:

See the headline on the left? Here’s the photo below it:

This happens to be where my son presently resides. The irony is that this paper was dated July 11…a full four days prior to my seeing it. But the machine was broken...and in lieu of fixing it, they’d opted to place the recent papers on top of the machine, free of charge. But, I wanted THAT paper. I emptied eight quarters into that machine…the equivalent to two papers...all to no avail. No matter how hard I pulled, banged and rattled, I could not get that door to open. In the end, I raced home and found the article online.

God bless the World Wide Web.

I know to take any investigative exposé with a grain of salt…but still. Now in addition to following up on that abrupt end to that SSI call, I need to research and discover exactly who, or what is the watchdog for this agency caring for my son.

I’ve always maintained that the responsibility for someone with special needs can be a full-time job. When you’re attempting to dedicate 11 hours of your day to an actual full-time job, the stakes are only higher. It’s my child…he doesn’t understand why any of this is happening…and he doesn’t understand why he just can’t come home.

And so, this is the latest. The next two weeks contain another two doctor’s appointments, which I’m hoping will translate to some much-needed stability for all of us.

I hope you know how much your thoughtful comments have meant to me. It’s a reminder that no matter how isolated I may feel, I’m never truly alone with support from you.

And that, my friends…means absolutely everything.


Carol said...

Hi Sweetie, been thinking about you and hoping things are going well. Sounds like you haven't lost your sense of humor, at least there's that. I hope things start to look up soon.

Cathy Olliffe-Webster said...

Of COURSE we're here... gawd, we can't have you flailing around out there alone, can we?
By the way, you bought burgers for the boys and none for us?
Hellooooooo??? We really ARE here, you know... I like mine with the works, thanks, and a Coke with lots of ice. There's a girl...
Oh, and by the way, HUGS!

Gigi said...

The hits just keep on coming, don't they? No matter how much we need it all to just stop for minute and let us catch our breath....the hits just keep coming.

Of course, we are here for you - just like you are for us - that's what friends are for.

Sending you lots of hugs and hoping that everything levels out for you and Kevin.

kathryn said...

Carol: Thanks, sweets. I've thought of you as well...I don't think I'll ever look at rice without thinking of you! And yeah...I miss being able to focus on irony instead of such serious things. I'm hoping to be out of the woods soon. Thanks so much for stopping by...

Cathy Webster (Olliffe): Ha! WTH was I thinking? Burgers for everyone next time...I promise! (Wow. That shipping bill is gonna be murder!) Can I replace that Coke with a martini? Just a suggestion...

Gigi: Yeah...the universe has a way of continually kicking our butts, right? It had better be almost done 'cause it is getting very old. Surely it's someone else's turn by now, right?? Hugs right back at-cha, sweets...

Unknown said...

I will continue to pray for you and your situation, Kathryn. Funny thing ... every time Roll to Me plays on my iPod, I think of you and say a prayer. Usually while I'm running since that's really the only time I use my iPod.

Anyway, I hope the situation gets worked out very soon and you can have some peace.


Slamdunk said...

Thank you for keeping us updated on your son's situation Kathryn.

One of the headlines in our paper this week was on a small home for autistic men being opened in a neighborhood and a couple of angry dissenters that showed up at the zoning meeting to complain. The need for the home was based on one of the family's moving their son from a group home in big city where they had become discouraged with the quality of care.

In any event, the side representing the home won, and the article caught our attention as the parent of an autistic child.

Dorn said...

We're still in the getting used to having kids stage. Guess the agony just changes with time instead of lessening.

I'll keep my chin up though and hope you do to!

diane rene said...

holy moly, lady. my heart goes out to you and my stomach is in knots. I hope that the people involved are taking your son's best interests in mind and they aren't those people you hear about in the news.

sending you good thoughts.

Lauren said...

Well... uh... Nah, I'm messing with you. I don't know if it's how you feel, but you sound much better. I hope things are looking up for you. I'm glad you know that you aren't alone. Keep pushing forward. You're bound to hit a good streak eventually.

Alan W. Davidson said...

I'm sure that seeing that sort of headline in the paper would make your heart skip a beat...

Well wishes and hopes that your son can be cared for in a safe environment (ys know we're rooting for ya!)

And...Did I read somewhere that you were buying burgers and martinis for all your readers?

Margarete said...

You are never alone. We (your fb/blog/sephora friends) jump for joy with you, sigh that heavy sigh with you, hold our breath until your words reassure us that all is...ok for the moment.

I'm not going to pretend to know what you are going through but I will say how much you are in my heart and I think of you oh, so often and I am thankful for the posts/blogs you share with us. I hope maybe sharing such personal circumstances with us will lighten your load a bit knowing we are "Cyberly" here to hold some of the weight...and a success if it puts a smile on your face.

Good thoughts: Cloudy, Sephora, hot scuba gear & jail time, love that surrounds you.

Prayers of strength to you my dear. You are never far from my heart.

Alicia said...

Hi Pal! I always look at the glass half full, so maybe that article is a good thing. Things are being investigated and disclosed and that can only make things better in the long run right?

And you know we love you and we're here for you through thick & thin and if I could give you a hug in person I would, but a virtual hug holds just as much warmth, affection and love behind it!

They always say it's the thought that counts so I'm sending you and da boys lots of good thoughts! (((((Hugz for all)))))

kathryn said...

Kimberly: Thank you. I love that you have Roll to Me on your iPod...and I especially love that you think of me when you hear it! I hope you realize that you're running for both of us, right?? I'm a big believer in living vicariously. {{{HUGS}}} right back at-cha, sweetie.

Slamdunk: Wow. I can totally understand both sides of the fence on that one...I really can. It's something you hope that most parents don't have to face, that issue of who will care for your child for the rest of their life. It's never an easy decision, is it?

Dorn: No! Not agony!! It can be troubling...and challenging...but can't any part of parenting be described that way?? And the love never wavers...not for a heartbeat.

kathryn said...

diane rene: I hear that...and I hope so, too. Thanks for the kind wishes, sweetie. I'm imagining that above all else, I just need to stay everyone knows they'd better be on their best behavior. For the time being, that'll have to be enough.

Lauren: Your Lauren-superpowers-of-intuition are correct. I don't feel as helpless as before. I'm guessing that venting to you guys has helped quite a bit. I miss people messing with me! Everything's been so serious lately. Enough!

Alan W. Davidson: You're such a GUY. Of course you'd zoom into that particular snippet of one of my comments. But sure....I'll spread the loove...burgers and martinis for everyone. (As long as I don't have to cook!!)

Jeff said...

I laughed so hard at the opening of your post that everyone around me (about a dozen as I'm using wifi in Hanoi), looked at me and asked what's so funny... Hopefully things will lighten up for you--you've been posting less than I've been posting as "Sage"

Mark Price said...

Hey Kathryn, havent stopped by for a long ime sounds like you have had your hands full. Hang in there and try to smile.

kathryn said...

Margarete: Oh, Margarete. What a perfect, sweet, heartfelt post this is! I also think of you oh-so-often...and just Friday mentioned to someone about your famous KABOOM! It's moving in the right direction. Thank you, my friend...and please know that I'm sending back oodles of love & good wishes...xo

Alicia: Hey babe! Thank you...once again....for the cyber-love. I'm determined to make a dent in my online presence here and reach out to as many as I can. You've been very patient with me...and I SO appreciate that! (((hugs back)))

Jeff: Aw. I'm glad I was able to give you a laugh! Here's to a future with many more...and also to more posts from both of us! Safe and happy travels, my friend!

Mark Price: MARK! You've been on my mind! Last I'd heard, you were heading for 'Vegas? Thailand?? I think it was someplace where you'd probably get into some trouble. We seriously need to catch up, my friend.

Jerry said...

You sound in better spirits these days...coping, getting things done. Just remember, we are sitting in the car beside you as you dash around town, giving you encouragement and....csao! Slow down! Dammit Kathryn, the lights turning red!

Shelby said...

thanks! keep staying strong! :)

HulaBuns said...

We're here for you, no need to question that! I cannot wait to hear how your investigation wonder they wanted to handle the call. They should have called parents like yourself and told you what happened before you having to find it out the way you did. Keep your head up and stay positive. I love your posts, so witty, clever and always hilarious. You have been an inspiration to me as a blogger (if that means anything) and even more importantly as a mother. :)

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