Problem solving is a skill I am very good at. Good thing too, with the problems I face on a regular basis. My mind is like a hamster wheal, going, and going, and going. Years ago, I even took a logic class and enjoyed it very much.
With seven children, I face problems of all kinds on a daily basis. Whether it is a prescription that was not filled correctly, a referral that has gone missing, or a child who lost my keys, I am on the task to figure it out. Of course I am not perfect, and have ran into difficult to solve problems. I would like to share some of the problems I have faced as a special needs mom.
Having seven children alone is full difficulties itself. The good thing is, however, by child seven, you are pretty much an expert when it comes to your kids. With the first child, you are so careful to do everything write and buy the expensive things, carry everything with you in huge bags, and so on. By child seven, I just carry the least amount possible, find every way to save money, and if a kid gets a few bumps and bruises, it is OK. These are the types of things I enjoy taking care of. The more difficult problems come with the special needs. I have come to a point that I become anxious with any phone call. I literally can not answer the phone and do not answer the phone. For years, almost every phone call is a new problem, or someone I have to argue with to get something done that needs to be done. I have learned to let the calls go to voicemail. That way, I can listen when I am ready, and I can respond when I am ready. I have let people know to not contact me by phone but by text or email. This can become burdensome when I know I need to call insurance about a bill not being paid, but really don't want to, so it gets put off for far too long. Or, I need to call the doctor for a doctors order for my nurses, and I just become anxious and it doesn't get done as soon as it should. It is unfortunate, but it has come after years of dealing with very rude people on the phone. I often wonder what happened to real customer service and why so many people just don't do their jobs.
I don't know how many times my oldest son has needed a new prescription, and the doctor writes it to be giving by mouth, when they SHOULD know by now that he takes nothing by mouth and everything should be given by g-tube. Of course, I have to go back to the doctor for a new script because I have nurses who care for my son, and they have to follow the instructions given by the doctor. Another issue is referrals. With the military, the insurance companies require a minimum of 72 hours to process referrals. So, I do the normal thing and wait 72 hours, then call to get the referral information, only to find out the doctor forgot to put in the referral. Then, any calls made to the doctor are taken as messages, with a promise to reply in 48 hours, and then another 72 hour wait for the referral. It is such a headache. Scheduling appointments is another big task that I face every month. It is very difficult to work around multiple people's schedules and multiple clinics in order to get what I need done in a month. Many specialty clinics do not allow other children to come to the appointments, so I must have child care set up. For my respite care workers, I make a schedule for a month in advance. It is the only way that I can make sure that I have coverage. If anything comes up, such as a sick child, or myself being sick, it throws a wrench in all my planning and causes for some big headaches. To make things more difficult, they kids come home at three different times during the day. I have one child in preschool who goes to school early and comes home before his brothers, a kindergartner that has half day and comes home around noon, and the other children come home around 3:30. I can not drop the kids off early for school either, and most appointments are an hour drive from home, because that is where the military hospital is from our home. Basically, my first son gets on the bus at 7:20AM, and three sons get on the bus around 8:20AM. This makes it so that I can not schedule any appointment until 9:30AM. My first son comes home at noon, my second at 2:50PM, and the last two at 3:30PM. To make things even more difficult, the respite care workers can only work if one of the designated special needs kids are home. This means that I really can't use respite care until noon. I am also limited to 60 hours a month, and this includes my actual respite time. Then add on that every military clinic closes at 3:30 and schools do not like kids missing school for appointments. It is pretty crazy. I manage however, with a very organized and coordinated schedule. I have a color coded calendar with a different color for each child and each adult. I put everything in the calendar including bus pick ups and drop offs, when to start dinner, and when to start the night routine, as well as the appointments and whether I have child care or not. I copy everything onto a monthly calendar to display for everyone to see and I share my calendar with my husband. I inform teachers of when I will be picking up any kids early or bringing them in late. I use all of my respite hours every month, so if I need to cancel or reschedule an appointment, I can not do it until the next month starts unless my husband can take time off from work. The military is not too big on their members taking time off on short notice.
I think it is a good thing that God made me a good problem solver, and maybe a little OCD. I don't know how I could function any other way. I guess maybe one day I can be a planner for others. I will be an expert one day. Hahaha.