Sunday, June 4, 2017

Planning and Preparing

Yesterday I read a terrific blog entry by Phoebe Holmes on Scary Mommy entitled “Special Needs Parents Have an Extra Special Set of Parenting Skills.” [To read this post, please click here.] In this post, she describes how special needs parents are always prepared for anything, carrying tissues, assorted Band-Aids, pain relievers, and snacks. In addition, she explains that special needs parents always know where restrooms and exits are located. As she humorously suggests, “Follow us in case of fire––we’ll be the first ones out.” If things fall apart, our kids may fall apart, so we must always be overly prepared for any likely or even unlikely situations that may occur.

Fortunately, planning and organizing come easily to me. My colleagues jokingly refer to me as Pam-o-dex because I can quickly find any information someone might need. My husband has dubbed me the family E.P.A., or Executive Personal Assistant, because he and Alex rely upon me to have appointments and family outings arranged with every detail planned. This includes scheduling appointments that don’t conflict with Alex’s various therapy sessions or interfere with his beloved The Price Is Right or Jeopardy. Whenever possible I’m also careful to schedule appointments first thing in the morning or right after lunch in hopes of minimizing time spent in the waiting room.

In addition, to make sure we have any information that might come in handy, I have a red medical folder for Alex that I take with us anytime he has a doctor/dentist/optometrist appointment or goes for medical tests. In this folder, I have a copy of his legal document authorizing Ed and me to have rights as his medical power of attorney, a list of all his doctors with their addresses/phone numbers/fax numbers, a list of the medications along with the dosages he is currently taking, copies of his most recent lab tests, and dates of upcoming appointments so that I don’t accidentally schedule two things at the same time. Also, I carry his insurance cards in my wallet along with his state identification card. Clearly, the two years I spent in Girl Scouts taught me to “Be Prepared.”

Now that summer is here, we’ll be attending outdoor concerts and old-time baseball games at our local parks. This also puts my E.P.A. skills to the test, making sure that I bring everything we’ll need. Of course, we’ll need drinks and snacks that I’ll pack in our soft-sided cooler, along with napkins and wet wipes. One of the best things we ever bought was a lightweight folding cart, the beach caddy deluxe, from Bed Bath & Beyond (and I used a coupon to save 20 percent on the price). We put our portable chairs in it so that we don’t have to carry them, and the cart also holds our cooler and jackets. Alex loves to push the cart, so that makes getting to the park with all our stuff even easier. Also, I bring along Superband insect repellent bracelets that use natural substances instead of chemicals to ward off mosquitoes. (I buy ours in the garden section of Walmart for about one dollar each; Amazon also carries them.) As long as Alex has something to eat and the bugs don’t eat him, he is generally a happy camper.

Since school is out, we’ll be able to enjoy more family outings, which means that I’ll shift from lesson planning to activity planning, and I’ll trade my schoolbook bag for a snack bag. I’m looking forward to our summer adventures with my guys, who know they can trust me to have all the details arranged in advance. After all, I am the E.P.A.

“May He grant your heart’s desires and make all your plans succeed.” Psalm 20:4

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