I am finally starting to recover from last Friday’s visit to BUP, the weekend and then Monday’s return to BUP. I really should pitch up a tent there and save the money on parking. Well, that is how it feels at present. Every morning now, my little boy snuggles up to me, whispers in my ear “Am I going to BUP today?” and it’s been so nice to say “No, thank heavens!” some days, but I would have liked to have hugged him and told him “never again”.
Friday was not a good day, to head in to Lund and BUP! Not for me anyway, and that is the problem with all these different health institutions in Sweden, that you as a patient ought to be grateful that they are willing to see you at all. You have no say in the matter, but you are handed a time and a place to be somewhere and you just have to show up. You can’t change it, even if it forces you to twist yourself inside out, to be there. In my case, Friday, “Cookie”, “Kitty” and “Boo” had the day off from school. Compensation for the Open House they attended on a Saturday, last autumn. In theory, I could have stayed in bed long that day and taken it easy, not even putting my nose outside the door all day. But instead, BUP forced me to get out of bed early, iron clothes and worse of all, wreck my brain concerning what to do about “Kitty”. “Cookie” has learned exactly what buttons to push to drive him in to hysteria. We can have a calm afternoon here at home, but as soon as she walks in through the door, it takes about two seconds and then the first piercing scream comes out of “Kitty’s” mouth. Of course I can not leave her at home, babysitting him, so I had no option but to bring him.
Last autumn, his teacher started reading homework for the class. They have to choose a book, read it and then talk to the class about it on Fridays. They also received a notebook where they have to write down the book’s details and draw a picture of what it is about. The teacher chose a book about dragons for “Kitty”. He fought me every day and did not want to read. At best I could get him to read a couple of pages each week. While the others in the class read book after book, it took him almost all term to read this one book. Then MacDonald’s had their four week campaign with books in the Happy Meals. We always buy Happy Meals then, to receive the books we would like, trying to overlook how bad that food is for our children. The last week, they had a really good book that I just had to add to our library of children’s books. In translation it’s called “Lasse Maja’s Detective Bureau The Library Mystery” by Martin Widmark. The books in the series have sold in 530 000 copies and are constantly on the best seller list as well as being the most borrowed books at all libraries in Sweden. A couple of years ago they made a 24 part Advent calendar for TV from the books, which my children loved. I also sat there every night watching. (Lasse and Maja are school aged children who solve “cute” mysteries.) “Kitty” started reading the book when done with his dragon book and it did not take very long for him to finish it. I did not have to nag him to read either. During the Christmas holidays, they showed a re-run on the above TV program and he and “Boo” watched every night. So when this term started, I went to the library and borrowed another book in the series and ordered in more from other libraries. He is devouring them, which is such a nice change. And his teacher says it is the same with all the children in the class, they are ALL reading the series, that now comprises of 22-23 books something. Now my problem is, to get him to write down the info about the books and draw the pictures required by his teacher. He doesn’t want to do it. Thinks it is SO much hard work. So we have about ten books now, waiting to be returned to the library, but he has to deal with them first. I had him take the three first ones, due back today, to BUP, so he would have something to do when I talked to the doctor.
I honestly thought it was just a doctor’s appointment where she would look at “Gubby” and his motor skills. Instead, the special ed teacher took him to a room with toys and the doctor and I walked off for yet another 90 minute interview. I guess the psychologist might have said something to her about me not thinking a one hour observation enough for making an assessment, nor a stupid IQ-test that bores the child to death. The doctor asked all sorts of questions: “Does he have facial expressions?”, “Does he relate to older, younger or same-age children the best?”, “Does he want to cuddle?”, “When do you feel that he is the happiest?”, “Does he have ideas like only wanting to eat green things, separating food in corners on the plate,…?”. For some reason, it seemed like the doctor had her head screwed on right, which is a first, among the people I have met so far concerning “Gubby”. So I brought up my concerns from last Wednesday. She thought I should make a formal complaint to the boss, but the secretary told me that she is difficult to get hold of on the phone and recommended an e-mail. I sit and don’t quite know what to do? The air feels like it has gone out of me. What do I say really? “Read my blog!”.
When we were done with our conversation, we went in to see “Gubby” and L., the special ed teacher. L. was so surprised she said, how well he plays memory. He had won over her. He had been having a blast with all the toys and started to throw balls with the doctor who registered that he is left-handed. “Kitty” had been doing well. He had NOT done his book “report” thing but the work therapist had seen him sitting there on his own, and had come to talk to him. Then he had given him a comic book about ADHD which “Kitty” got really absorbed in since it explained ADHD to him. He told me on the way home, “now I know why I can’t fall asleep at night and can’t wake up in the morning”. He was so impressed that he sat and read the entire thing to his dad, while he was cooking his dinner. I guess there was a continuation to it, because T. went ahead and contacted the publishers and they are sending us a second part to the magazine. T. also wants the work therapist help us get a “”ball comforter”. I’ve never seen them but they told us about them on the course that I took in August-September. They are heavy so the child can not squirm around when going to sleep. The weight makes them tired? I hope we will be able to receive one. So far, P. has not returned T.’s phone call though, so T. feels somewhat perturbed. We really need this for “Kitty”! The sad part is that I told T. about them in September but he obviously did not listen as usual, not until he gets to read about it in a comic book! Says what about him?
Monday, at 9:00 we had to be back at BUP. Let’s say I was not happy about it. It’s sports’ holiday here all week. I just wanted to stay home, read my two library books that are due back next week, answer letters, blog, you name it. Instead I had to get up at the crack of dawn and get no help with getting “Gubby” ready while I showered and so forth, because which one of the older children wanted to get up at 7:30 on a holiday? The psychologist has always been dressed in shirt and trousers, but Monday he was dressed in jeans, hoody and T-shirt and it made him look weird! I found out 50 minutes later why. Staff conference. Perhaps they have to make a relaxed impression on their boss, one that children can relate to. Instead of the ordinary stiff look? Who knows. It makes me ill at ease to know that I have been discussed. We sat down to start the IQ-test again. Out with the cubes again but I can’t say that “Gubby” was more interested this time. He wanted all of them to build his own things. Then came the questions again “what do you think about when you hear Miao?”. Gubby thought for a second and answered “the dog chasing it”. In other words not the answer the psychologist, F., wanted. “What do you think about when you hear Voff”. – He thinks about a bone! F. gave up. Now, when I told T. this, he immediately declared, he did not go for the quick answer did he, but went further in his thoughts? Unfortunately, I don’t think F. followed along in his trail of thought! He moved on to the pictures where one was supposed to pair two things out of four. He tried to explain the principle, I tried telling him to look for friends, since I was allowed to open my mouth. But “Gubby” did not really get what he was supposed to do as soon as it moved away from animals. T. who trained as a school counselor in the US, said that there are non-verbal IQ-tests for children so now I wonder why they did not give that to him? So he had a chance to succeed.
Then F. suddenly stood up and wanted me out of there, so he could go to his conference. I asked him about the puzzles. He had said we would do them Monday. Well, he sighed and stepped back to the table where “Gubby” got to have a little bit of fun at last. I did not like that he was timed though because he tried to fit the pieces together perfectly and they do not have things that hook in to each other at all. The pieces just fit beside each other. When it got to the three most difficult ones, poor “Gubby” wanted to give up. I usually coach him at this point at home. Tell him what clues to look for. But I did not dare to say a word after the nasty, dirty look F. gave me Wednesday when I tried to tell “Gubby” what to do with the pictures that you were supposed to match up with a “friend”. I got the feeling Monday that F. has already decided and wants no more input. So while he wanted us out of his office, I said that the pre-school did not feel that L. got a good idea what he is really like at pre-school. And I asked him why he has not sent home the questions to us, pertaining to the interview he did with T. and me, that we could not answer because we just had not paid attention to what “Gubby” does in a given situation. He just said “I’ll discuss it with the others, I’ll discuss it with the others”. It seemed like they are ready to make a hasty diagnosis now and I don’t approve! This label that they will put on him, will affect him for the rest of his life. Depending on what they say, he might have to go to a special school. He might never be considered for military service like Johannes. His brother was told that he was so stupid that the psychologist wanted him to pack his things and leave, not waste their time. With a diagnosis you get a label that you can’t wash off and it will close many doors for you. In other words, you must take your time to pass the final judgement!