Thursday, April 29, 2010

Dentists and Docs, Autism, No Show, No Go

So the message on my voice mail went something like this: "Hi there, Kim. This is Sandy from Dr. X's office. I've noticed that from your records that it's been awhile since you've been in for a cleaning. In fact, it's been three years. Are you with another dentist? If so, let me know and I'll stop calling. If not, we'd really like to see you...."


And that's how it goes. No dentist for three years (yes, gross I know and I am surprised that I don't look that the poor person in the picture above). No physicals in a little over two years. No mammogram in two years. Can't remember the last eye exam (early 2000's?) and the "womanly" exam, maybe a few years back (I think but can't remember). I was supposed to get an MRI on my back (missed the appointment). Had to cancel with an acupuncturist three times (can't remember why I booked an acupuncturist in the first place). This is me: Autism Mom who misses and struggles with appointments. And mightily.

Here's the rub: I have insurance coverage. I can actually go and take care of myself. I also have caregivers, now and again, that can manage my PDD son (however, this tends to be spontaneous and frankly, if I get an "out of jail" free card, I certainly don't want to be sitting in a dental chair having my teeth scraped).

How do you solve this problem?

I mean, when I can secure a caregiver, or attempt to book an appointment during school hours, my worry list comes out. Here it is:

Will my child throw such a tremendous fit, that I won't be able to leave?

Will that child refuse to go with the caregiver I've selected? Then the fit.

Will the child cause such an uproar at school that the school will call wanting me to come get him?

Will I be so stressed out that I won't remember the appointment even though I've received reminder calls and texts and that I wrote it down on the calendar?

And, my friends, all four of these things have happened to me, regretfully. A lot.

There was a day were I used to take care of those things. Yes! My son is eleven now, but we never got a diagnosis until eight, and then things really got flared up at age nine. But before that, I could go and do (unless my only laziness or selfishness got in the way, but that's ME that sucks, not autism that sucks).

So, I've declared May APPOINTMENT MONTH (and unofficially Autism PARENT Awareness month)! I am planning even as I write!

Of course, advice, tips, and tricks, well, they are always welcome. Needed. Okay, help! How do the rest of you get this stuff done?

Kim Thompson is the blogger/moderator/founder of Gritty City Woman (a mash up of all things gritty and womanly) and is a contributing blogger for In Your Neighborhood with The Tacoma News Tribune newspaper.


  1. You have to take care of yourself! Try to schedule appointments during school hours -- maybe 30-45 minutes after you drop him off and trust that you can get through an hour appointment without the school calling and demanding you drop everything and pick him up right away. You need to do this. You need to make sure you are healthy and well. You wouldn't let him skip important appointments to make sure he was healthy would you?

  2. Kim: I am fortunate, because my husband can work from home so I can make appointments. That said, I still am behind on eye, vag doc and mammogram. I haven't had a physical in forever. But I do go to the dentist regularly. I have three kids, and with all of their appointments, and homeschool activities and activity-activities, well, I am the one who gets the short end of the stick. I wonder if it not so much an autism thing as a mom thing?


  3. Hi all! Ivy/Anna that's for the polite and kind ass kicking (the reason for the post). Tina, you have an interesting point. Mom vs. Autism thing. I would like to think it's an UBER-mom thing, an enhanced mom thing, or a mom eaten by autism. It's a little more, and a little less. Make sense? Hey, thanks for fixing my post!

  4. Crud, Ivy/Anna I meant THANKS not That's.

  5. I homeschool, so am always with the kids, but the oldest is 13, so can be a babysitter. I AM ALL THEY'VE GOT RIGHT NOW, SO I HAVE TO TAKE CARE OF ME. We spend all this time caring for them, but basic care for us IS caring for them. And no pressure, but as you get older, you've got colonoscopies, etc (had mine last Tuesday)so it's not going to get better. If you have a notebook/organizer with all your kids doctors names, numbers, etc...just add a page for you (and husband for that matter.)
    I used to be this free, right-brained artist. No planner, etc. Now everything is planned---I can't paint anymore, but our family is being managed! (On a good day.)

  6. Tami, I really appreciated this comment, because I homeschool part-time now. Prior it was full time obviously and we were together 24/7.

    Until that time, I NEVER used a planner. Ever. Now, well, it's my ultimate tool as well. I used to pride myself in having it all in my noggin and drifting off to write articles and stories without a care in the world. Sigh.

    You know, you have a good point about medical stuff increasing. Ick. But necessary.

    Well, here's the good news. I'm in the process of making a bunch of appts! I've kicked my butt into action. Hell or high water, I will get them done.

  7. Hip Hop Hooray!

    Dentist tomorrow AM, Mam tomorrow PM. I am on a roll. Hubby available for kid care. ON MY WAY!


    Ass kickin' appt. time Kim

  8. Dentist went great! I couldn't believe it. I must have teeth made of cement. Mam went great too! Off to the girl doctor later this month, and physical next month. Then I am all caught up! Then I can do fun stuff like a haircut. Yeah!


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