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Wearable Gear - Day Two or So...

I really want to revise my assessment of the Withings Pulse accuracy.  It is actually in line with the Charge & Up24 when clipped to my pants.  I had it clipped to my shirt the first day.  And that didn't work well.  But when I switched it to my pants, all three were within about 100-150 steps from each other.

I like the Withings more with more use.  But I still really wish that you didn't have to unclip it to take your HR.  But I like that the app tracks the readings.  Though it is funny to look at given that I let my husband and kids test it too.  So the HR varies greatly.  *laugh*

It is quirky.  Today I didn't wear the Withings.  But the Charge & Up24 are about 800 steps apart at one point!  It is very strange.  The Up24 was much higher.  Mind you, I did work out & walked my son to school.  So the number of steps today is higher.  Wish I had the Withings on today to see which was closer!  *chuckle*

However, it seems to have evened out now.  They are only about 100 steps apart.  And the Up is higher & on my dominant hand.  (I don't see any way to set that.  The Charge allows you to tell it which hand it is on.)

Sleep -
Second night of sleep.

Fitbit says:
sleeping 6 hrs 20 min
awake 6 min (2x)
restless? 26 min (12x)
Fell asleep 0 m - always says that as it automatically determines sleep
in bed for 7 hrs

Jawbone says:
sleeping 6 hrs 22
sound sleep 3 hrs 43 min
light sleep 2 hrs 38 min
Fell asleep 12 m
in bed for 6 hrs 58 minutes
Awake for 37 min
Woke up 1 min

Awake time is only 2 minutes difference.  And time in bed was also 2 minutes difference.

The more I play.  The more I want the Charge HR with the Jawbone software with a web component!!  *laugh* 


I like the screen on the Charge.  It will give me current info which I like. I also like it being a watch.  So it isn't a unitasker.

You can double tap on the screen to wake up the clock.  I also like that I can set what order they appear in with the phone app.

I really like the sleep details in the Jawbone software.  The Fitbit software is good but Jawbone is better.

I also really like that the Jawbone software has coaching built into it.  Fitbit has a premium account for $50 a year.  And while $50 isn't killer for a year (certainly cheaper than WW per month,) it is an additional cost.  I am tempted to try the free 7 day trial.  But if so, I should have started that when I started the trial.  But I didn't.

Also, I like that Jawbone gives a score to your eating for the day.  I input my food with My Fitness Pal.  Jawbone grabs it automatically.  It gives each meal & snacks a 0-10 rating.  If it is green, it is good.  (Though it will go green for anything over 5.)  It is just a nice visual way to do it.

I also like that Jawbone will work with Facebook.  The weird part is that Fitbit seems to have a Facebook connection.  But best as I can tell, it just allows the Fitbit to post to FB when you get awards.

Jawbone seems to make it easy to check which friends are using it.

Fitbit will allow you to pull your contacts.  But with Gmail, it adds *way too much* to my contacts.  So there are vendors I have bought from years ago.  Also, the names are whatever the person put in.  First name Last Inital.  Problem is with Gmail putting in anyone that I have exchanged email with, there are a lot of "friends".  But in many cases, they don't have Google profile pics.  So I have no idea if that is a friend or someone I exchanged emails with.  It is actually kinda frustrating.  And there isn't info other than the name & image (not even the email address which is how it pulled it in the first place which is weird.)

I like having a web component.  Fitbit has it.  If Jawbone has it, I can't find it.  I keep getting a 404 error.  I dislike that I can only get the Jawbone info on my phone.  I like to view it on a full screen.  Also, I like not having to install software.

Fitbit Charge comes with a Wifi dongle.  So I don't mind installing the software.  It has a purpose.  It automatically syncs.  So I don't need to have the Bluetooth on my phone trying to sync.  The Jawbone seems to be an updater that links to a non-working webpage.  Really not useful.

I am probably going to grab the Samsung tomorrow & wear that to work.  I also might wear that over the weekend for a workout.   I want to play with it. Though Paul is having fun with it.  *smile*
So I got four wearable gear items to test out from Lumoid.

* Fitbit Charge (they didn't have the HR unfortunately.)
* Jawbone Up24
* Withings Pulse O2
* Samgung Fit Gear

I got the box late yesterday afternoon (about 3:30 pm.)  So there was some charging, installing software, etc. before I could play.

I decided to let Paul play with the Samgung Fit Gear.  Lumoid didn't have the Pebble which was my fifth choice & the one I think he would have liked most.

The Charge & Up24 are wristwear.  The Pulse can be worn on the wrist or as a clip.  So I wore it as a clip.

I didn't wear the Pulse to bed.  But I did wear the Charge & Up24.

So far, my opinions:

Steps -
The Charge & Up24 were about 85 steps apart for yesterday.  But close enough for the little movement I did.  I was indoors for the day & only worked out about 30 minutes.
The Pulse is significantly lower in the amount of steps.  Half the amount.  Not making me inclined to trust the Pulse.

Heart Rate -
The Charge & Up24 don't have HR.  The Pulse has HR & Blood Oxygen (thus the O2).  Problem with the Pulse though.  You have to press the back of the piece against your finger.  So it really isn't continuous info.  And it really wants you to hold still.  Not so useful for HR monitoring while exercising.  Also, annoying you have to take it out of the casing to do it.

Sleep -
I didn't wear the Pulse to bed.  But I tried both the Charge & Up24.

The Charge automatically determines when you are sleeping.  It says I was asleep for 7 hrs 19m.  Awake for 4 min (1x). And restless for 38 min.  It says I was in bed for 8 hrs 2 min which I think is pretty accurate.  I was reading for a bit before bed.  So it probably was logging that.

The Up24 sleep stats are nicer.  It says I was asleep for 7 hrs 45m. That is 26 minutes more.  Though I think that actually as to do with when I actually got out of bed vs. being awake.  Because it was a snow day, I had some time where I was in bed & half awake but not moving.  It gives sound sleep as 2 hrs 48 minutes.  Light sleep ar 4 h 56m.  It says I fell asleep in 4 minutes.  Mind you, with the Up24, you tell it when you are going to sleep.  So that could be more accurate than the Charge.

Though it says I was awake once during the night.  It puts that at 19 minutes.  *blink*  I went to the bathroom around 5 am.  I don't really think I was up for 19 minutes.  Unless it was counting the time in the morning...but I don't think so.

I really like that the Up24 gives the deep & light sleep.  It is kinda useful.  Though the dashboard for Fitbit does show additional details including when you asleep & when you are restless.

It says I was in bed for 8 hrs 3 min.  So clearly it matches the Charge as they are only a minute apart on that.

I am curious to see what it says for tonight.  Since I have to be up & moving first thing in the morning, it will be interesting to see what it says when there isn't any lingering.  I have also set a silent alarm with the Fitbit.  So I am curious to see how that works.  (Not turning off my regular alarm!)

Software -
All three have Android phone apps. Again, the Charge & Up24 are better than the Pulse.  Fitbit & Jawbone both provide a lot of detail.

They all interface with My Fitness Pal.  But I didn't try with the Withings.

I like that the Jawbone interfaces well with My Fitness Pal. I turned it on yesterday & it picked up things easily.  I just turned on the Fitbit connection this morning.  That also seems to work well too.

I feel like My Fitness Pal works better for the food tracking.  So I will probably stick with that.  But I like that both sync well with it.

I like that the Jawbone software has great helpful hints on the bottom.  It also looks nicer.  But the Fitbit also works well too.

I like that the Fitbit software can be local with a dongle that will connect.  But it also has a good web interface that doesn't seem to require software on the machine.  But it has a Wifi dongle.  So it can update via computer which is a nice feature.

I can't locate the Jawbone web dashboard.  I think one exists but I can't locate it.  Kinda frustrating.  Trying to find it doesn't work.  When I try via the Jawbone Updater, it has me log in & then I get a 404 error.  *growl*  Not good.

Again, not overly taken with the Withings.  It is okay.  But not as good.

Connecting to my phone -
They all will connect via Bluetooth.  But none keep a consistent connection.  Though as DH pointed out.  I should not be trying to connect three similar devices via Bluetooth.  It is probably just getting cranky about that.

I dislike that the Withings notification is *always* in my notifications bar!  That is annoying.

The Up24 seems to have a notification each time I access the phone that it isn't connecting.  I have to reset the band.  But honestly, that is a pretty easy process.  So it doesn't bother me much.

The Charge also keeps losing the connection.  A bit frustrating but again, the sync isn't that bad.

I think the Bluetooth issues will be resolved when *not* connecting to multiple devices.  I hope so anyhow!

Charging -
The Jawbone has a clever little thing that looks like a headphone jack.  You pull off the end piece & it goes together well.  You can feel that it won't come off.

The Withings has micro USB.  The piece itself is light.  So you know it will stay in place.

The Charge is my least favorite.  It has a piece with prongs that goes into the back of the watch at a 90 degree angle.  I worry that it will come undone when charging.  The watch also needs to rest on something while charging.  The cord isn't super long so it makes it a bit tougher.

All are USB.  The Samsung has a plug available in addition to the USB charger.  So that is nice.

Nice features -
Love that the Up24 gives a little buzz to get you moving if you have been inactive.  Great little reminder.

Like the clock on the Charge. Nice & simple.  Double tap wakes it.

The Fitbit allows you to organize what items you want first & what comes up when you double tap.

There is caller id on the FB Charge.  Problem is it is slow & sometimes misses the call all together.  Wish it were a bit more speedy as that could be a nice feature.  Though also wish it had text notifications.  The Samsung has those & more.

Thoughts so far -
I don't see getting the Withings Pulse O2.  Not thrilled about the step count being so far off from the Charge & Up24.  Mind you, I am wearing it as a clip.  So that could be part of it.  But I also don't like having to remove it every time I want to use the HR monitor.  I really think I am probably going to just put that back in the box.  I will wear it until the end of the day.  But unless its count matches up closely, it just isn't the one for me.

With either the Fitbit & Jawbone, I want the HR models.  The non-HR Charge is giving me a pretty good idea about the HR since it is the same model with additional features.  The Up24 and Up3 are different.  The Up3 is thicker.  So I am not sure if it would feel as comfy.

That said, I also have to admit, the Jawbone doesn't feel great.  It is pretty rigid.  And the band doesn't move well.  And this is one that has been used before.  So it has more flex than a new one would have.  It is possible that I need to check the sizing.  (I don't see what size I ordered on my Lumoid order.  I would think I got the large.  But it could be the small.)

I need to play with the Samsung.  I got that one mostly to get the five.  But as Paul plays with it, it has some appeal.  I am very curious about the HR monitor.  Though I did read some reviews that it isn't very accurate.  But all the skin ones vs. chest strap seem to have some issues with accuracy.  But I confess that the smartphone options have some appeal.  I am probably going to test that out on Thursday or Friday when I am going into the office.

Lumoid -
I am pretty thrilled that Lumoid allows testing before buying.  It is really awesome.

I admit, I wish they had been a bit better about letting me know about the delays with the order.  But I also ordered on the day when they were written up in Engadget.  So they were really overwhelmed.  I had to contact them three times because the order didn't ship.  It shipped a week after I placed the order.  Again, I get it with the Engadget announcement.  But a bit more communication would have been nice.  For instance, on Friday, I was told they had everything & it would ship.  But then I didn't get tracking info.  So I contacted them on Monday.  They explained on of the pieces had a problem.  It was the Samsung.  So I would have just dropped it from the order or replaced it.  But at that point, they had another and said it would ship that day or next.  It shipped late the next day.  But again, after I asked.  Mind you, it seems like a super small operation.  And the wearables is new.  So it might just need some time to work out the kinks.


Huh kinda expresses my feelings right now. I just got a call from my doctor about my bloodwork.

She says I have *hyper*thryodism.  Not hypo, but hyper.  *blink*

Anyone who looked at me would think I had to have gotten the wrong bloodwork.

Then I looked at the symptoms:

There are at least five of those that I have.  Of course, none of them is rapid weight loss!!  Just my luck!  *laugh*

UUUGGGGHH!! AKA Prescription Headaches

I think I am going to shoot someone with the pharmacy company!

This is my fourth call to them since I got a call from them on the 7th that supposedly Elder Munchkin's Humira prescription was in the works.  Boy, do they lie!

So I called.  And yet again, Express Scripts has *no record* of the Humira.

The doctor's office called on the 6th to tell us they spoke with Express Scripts.  And I *swear* I got a call on the 7th from Express Scripts to tell me that they got the prescription and it would go to Accredo, the speciality pharmacy that was going to fill the prescription.

I think I called Express Scripts again last Thursday to try and see where things stood.  They put me through to Accredo who said they didn't have anything.

I called Express Scripts again on Monday to try to get it sorted out.  Still nothing.  The woman tells me I need to call the doctor.  I tell her that they have already contact me that they called Express Scripts and that this was supposed to be processed. And that Express Scripts called and told us the same thing.

And to make matters worse, Express Scripts *still* hadn't shipped the syringes that I order on the 2nd!  We figured that we had two left.  We should be fine.  But no.  We ran out.

Luckily, the local pharmacy is awesome and helped us out.  They are a terrific place and I wish we could just get everything there.  Frankly, I am not doing mail order next time we need the syringes.  I don't care if it is cheaper!

So I called again today about the Humira.  And again, no record with Express Scripts.  I am getting beyond pissed.

They put me through to Accredo.  Accredo tells me that the doctor can call them directly.  WHY DIDN'T THEY TELL ME THAT A WEEK AGO??!  And why didn't Express Scripts tell me that??!


I am beyond frustrated at this point.  This is ludicrous.  Thank heavens the rheumatologist's office had samples and were able to give us one.

To add to all the fun, there is a program from Humira that lowers the copay. So on top of all this, we have to add what amounts to a secondary prescription coverage to the order.  So we have to make sure to get that on the prescription before we are billed the big amount.


*later in the day now*

I called the rheumatologist's office.  They rock.  They called the prescription into Accredo.  Accredo says it will take 2-5 business days for it to go through their system.  The nurse suggested I check at mid-week & if not, they will contact Accredo again.  Hooray.

And they called the needle prescription to our local pharmacy.  Hooray.  So that is taken care of as well.

I really think we may stick with just having the local pharmacy do as much as they can.  It tends to be a bit more expensive.  But not enough so to break the bank.  So it probably makes more sense to do it as we know we will *get* the stuff.

Unfortunetly, the Humira isn't an option to get locally.  We have to mail order a 90 day supply.  And my biggest worry is that we will run into a similar issue as the methotrexate.  She needs the shot every other week.  But the pharmacy plan has that as two shots a month.  Ummm.  Not the way that works.

So at some point, I fear we will have to battle the prescription people again.  *sigh*  The prescription coverage only allows for two shots per month.  WHAT??!  *sigh*  Ah well.  We will cross that bridge when we get there.

And thank heavens they had a Humira sample.  The doctor prescribed this on the 2nd.  It wouldn't have been good if we had been waiting this whole time.  Hopefully, we get the prescription by next Friday when she should get her shot.  *fingers crossed*  If not, the rheumatologist's nurse said to call.  Hopefully they will have another sample.  *crosses fingers*

Why I Love Elder Munchkin's Rheumatologist

I called the Elder Munchkin's rheumatologist Weds. to discuss her decision to put EM on Humira.  I needed to know why given that things I had read indicated that Enbril didn't cause the burning that Humira does.

I just left a message on the voicemail as it wasn't urgent.  Of course, Dr. Haines. the rheumatologist, called when I was on my way home.  So I got a voicemail message.

Yesterday, I was lucky enough to get to go on the Little Guy's first field trip for his prek-3 class.  It was so much fun.

Dr. Haines called when I was there so DH got to talk with her.

He says first she apologized for not getting back to us sooner.  *blink*  Her first attempt was within about 5-6 hours.  The second was still pretty quick.  The voicemail message says to leave a message and it will be returned within 24 hours.

She then took the time to go over in detail all the differences in the biologics.  There are really three primary biologists that she starts with for juvenile arthritis.

Enbril doesn't do anything for uveitis.   So that was off the table.

Remicade requires an IV. Ugh...

So that leaves Humira.

That was how DH boiled it down for me.  But he said Dr. Haines went over things in great detail.  And I am really grateful for it.  I love that she takes the time to do that.

Though with the new drug, it seems that Elder Munchkin has passed from mild into moderate to severe JA.  That is why they usually start the biologics.  *sigh*

Three bouts of uveitis since May isn't good.  That is five months with this many bouts.  So it is important to get it under control.

According to WebMD:
"Untreated and severe uveitis can cause scarring of the eye. It can also cause vision problems. Other complications include:

    glaucoma -- a condition that causes high pressure in the eye
    cataracts -- clouding of the lens of the eye
    permanent vision damage, including blindness"

AKA - Not good stuff.

She has some scarring already.  At five years old.  So we really want to make sure it doesn't get worse.


Tomorrow we start with the Humira shot.  I have been reading about things to help.  I really hope some work.  *crosses fingers*

The nurse at Dr. Haines office suggests the Buzzy.  It is a piece that is supposed to block the pain.  Though it is pricey at $40 for the mini & $60 for the big one with the strap.  But if it works, I think it is so worth the cost...

My heart feels better knowing it is the best thing we can do for her right now.  It is hard to do it.  But what matters is that we get things in check with her JA so she can be healthy and happy.

Update on Elder Munchkin

So when DH went to pick up Elder Munchkin from school on Weds., he found she was at the nurse's office.  She had some eye goop and the nurse feared pinkeye.

With all the medical stuff, I suggest that DH call the ophthalmologist.  Her receptionist scheduled an appointment for the next day.  The ophthalmologist took one look and confirmed it was indeed pinkeye.  So back on drops.

But the ophthalmologist also called the rheumatologist.  I got the call from the nurse at the rheumatologist's office.  The uveitis was back.  With the constant uveitis, they agreed that Elder Munchkin needs to go on additional drugs since the methotrexate isn't getting this under control.

The rheumatologist prescribed Humira.  *sigh*

It is hard enough that my baby has to go on another drug.  It is heartbreaking.  And I confess that since I don't *see* the issues, it is even harder.  Because it is the eye inflammation that keeps coming back, that isn't something we can see physically.

The harder part is reading about Humira.  I have read it burns.  It breaks my heart to have to know that she will have to get a shot every other week that causes her pain.  The methotrexate isn't that bad.  It doesn't seem to stress her now.  But to know it will hurt her...  *sigh*

Also, there is that part of me that is terrified about these drugs.  What are the long term effects?

The Humira site says:
HUMIRA has been studied in a trial of 171 children ages 4 to 17 years old with polyarticular JIA for a period of up to 2 years. Currently, there are not enough data to assess the effect of HUMIRA on the growth, development, and maturation of a child. If you are concerned about these issues, talk with your child's prescribing physician.

Basically saying they have no idea.  Or worse, there are issues but because it is such a small sample, they don't wanna say anything to dissaude you from putting your child on it...


We are planning on starting the shot on Friday.  Though I actually am going to talk with DH about trying it on Saturday.  We are supposed to do the shots on separate days the first time to make sure she doesn't have any odd reaction to the Humira.  And she has soccer on Saturday morning.  I figure it is smarter to get it done after that in case it does hurt.  And since the shot goes in her upper thighs, probably smarter to do it after soccer...

It is all really scary stuff.  I love my baby girl...  I don't want to see her hurting.  But I also don't want to see what will happen to her eyes if she keeps having the inflammation.  It can lead to a whole host of issues.


I wish there was a crystal ball that could let me look into the future and help me determine the right course of action.


No easy answers...

I Love My Daughter's School

I got a call today from the school nurse about Elder Munchkin.  I confess that I gasped when I heard who it was.  But she lead with that it was good news.  They got the paperwork from the occupational therapy place.  And the school occupational therapist says they can do EM's therapy work at school!

I am really thrilled about that.  It means not having to travel into the city on a weekly basis for OT.  And to have it done at school means she won't be struggling to do her homework on nights when she has therapy.

The nurse says they will have EM out of class for 20-30 minutes once a week.  They will figure out what works best with her classes.  And they will work to make sure it is a time when she is doing work that she can afford to miss.  So they will figure out how she excels and make sure it is during that time.

The nurse also said the teacher noticed that EM's knee was bothering her.  So she will keep an eye on that.  And if needed, they can have EM meet with the physical therapist as well.

EM's teacher also pointed out some of the issues EM is having with her writing & filling in shapes.  So I am hopeful that the occupational therapist can work on those as well.  I swear EM was writing her name better this time last year than she is now.  And I know a lot of that is about the surgery.  But some is about the way EM works around her finger when writing.  And that is something the OT can work on with her.  It is exactly the sort of thing she needs.

The nurse indicated that EM would be eligible for OT for the full school year.  And possibly next year as well.  I was kinda surprised by that.  I figured it was more about them seeing how long she needed it.  But it is great if it will help her.

It is times like this that I am really glad I went with the public school.  The nurse at PS 6 is terrific.  EM's teacher & teaching assistant are also great.  They have been so helpful.  Given they are a public school, they get that they have to accommodate things.  I fear some of the charter schools don't have the resources for all this.  And I can't recall if any have both OT & PT therapists on staff.  I think they bring people in for it.  Which really isn't the same...

I am just so thrilled they can do this.  I really think not having to make the haul to NYC on a weeknight every week will be sooo good for her & better for her homework.

And yes, I confess I am super excited that I won't have the deal with the NYU scheduling department.  Don't get me wrong.  I think the therapists are great.  But I have to admit that the constant turnover in staff is also hard.  It means she has had four therapists since she started there in March.

Hooray hooray!


Update on EM


I really felt like things were okay.  The eye inflammation had gone down after Elder Munchkin started the methotrexate.  Other than the finger still being swollen, things seemed good.

However, EM saw the ophthalmologist today.  Not good news.  The inflammation (uveitis) is flaring up in the right eye.  *sigh*

I love the ophthalmologist Dr. Mori.  She called E's rheumatologist, Dr. Haines, immediately.  I got a call from the rheumatologist before DH had even reached me.  With the uveitis, Dr. Mori believed the methotrexate dosage needs to be increased.  *sigh*  Dr. Haines agreed but also wants to be cautious.  EM's next shot is tomorrow so we have to increase that.

Tomorrow is when EM goes for the cortisone injection in her finger.  More details on that - http://akkasha.livejournal.com/191659.html  .

I am so not looking forward to that since it requires sedation.  I am sure the shot itself will be fine.  However, it sucks that my baby of 4 1/2 years old has to be sedated for a *third* time.

On the positive side, it is the children's division of the hospital.  So I am hoping that EM gets an experienced person to put in the IV.  The anesthesiologist with the MRI was not specific to pediatrics.  It was unpleasant and involved bleeding... He tried multiple tries. *shudders*  Poor EM was hysterical by the time another doctor tried. Who accomplished it in seconds and without any more drama.

For the hand surgery, it was NYU Joint Disease center.  They had it done quickly and without a fuss.

I really pray tomorrow goes as smoothly as then.

And this is light sedation like the MRI.  So I am hopeful that it is all okay.  *sigh*  But I can't help but worry...

The procedure is scheduled for 1:30.  So any thoughts/prayer/good vibes/etc. are greatly appreciated.

I hate that we have to increase the meds.  It worries me a lot...

The plus side is that we see E's rheumatologist, Dr. Haines, next Friday.  So we can discuss things and see what she thinks.  She is really good about being sensible and she has a lot of experience.  So I know she will help us do what is best for EM.

As a parent, I can't help but hate this...  I am worried about my baby.  I want to do what is best for her.  I don't want to be too aggressive with drugs.  But if we don't act, the joints can be affected. So we need to make sure she is on medicine.  But the meds can effect things

And to add to the interesting times, EM got into another charter school.  So that whole thing is back on the table.  I honestly don't know right now.  While it is great that she has more options, the timing is dreadful. 

It is close to five miles from home.  A couple blocks further and it would be in the next town over.  And they don't have buses.  So it either means public buses or driving.  Driving says it would be 20 minutes.  And that is at midday.  I fear what it would be like in the mornings.  Probably at least a half hour... I checked the public buses.  They estimate 40-50 minutes!  Uggh.  And the buses are a mess...  DH & I have waited over 45 minutes for ones to arrive on separate occasions...

School ends at the same time for EM and Little Guy.  And given the distance, that means aftercare for one of them most likely.  Not thrilled about that.  (Though we may have to do that anyhow.  The local school that EM is set to attend and the school LG will attend are about 10 minute walk according to Google.  And that is an adult pace...  *sigh*  I am hoping we can pick up one or the other a bit early or late...)

Soaring Heights doesn't have any aftercare at all.  So that is a challenge.  They have some places that can pick up the kids.  The Boys & Girls club, Jewish community center and something called Chocolate City (I kid you not...)  are the options.  At least the public school has Casper which is somewhere between $80-100 a month.  A lot of the private stuff gets insane...

I have an appointment scheduled for 8:30 on Tuesday to meet one of the kindergarten teachers.  I did a whole host of questions yesterday with another woman.  But I would really like to see the school.

The test scores are really good.  And out of 40 kids graduating eighth grade, five went to McNair, one to High Tech and eleven to Community High.  All good local high schools.

Though I worry because a lot of the reviews complain about how strict the school is.  But I also feel like structure is critical with a school environment...  It just comes back to I don't know...  I want the best for her.  But it is hard without knowing what is to come what is best...

Poor Little Elder Munchkin

So Elder Munchkin still has swelling on the finger where they did surgery in February. It has gone down some but still not away.  *sigh*

Over a month ago, we had a follow up visit over with the surgeon who did the hand procedure.  After the cortisone shot in the knee helped so much, I asked about a shot for the finger.  The doctor said that could be helpful.  She said that since it was small joints and a very small area for the injection, it would require anesthesia.  *sigh*

The procedure couldn't happen at NYU since they won't allow of anesthesia for a cortisone shot.  It had to at the other hospital where Dr. Chu has privileges. 

Since EM had to see another specialist, Dr. Chu wanted us to wait until after that to schedule the appointment in case the other doctor wanted to change her meds.  The gastroenterologist didn't want to make any changes.  So I called.  I called three times in total.  Last time, the doctor's assistant said the hospital hadn't called her back and that she would follow up with them.  Great.  Couldn't have done that sometime in the past three weeks?  That was last Weds..

So today I called the rheumatologist to see if she had any suggestions for someone who could do it.  Dr. Haines was very nice about it.  She said the radiology department at Englewood could do it.  But she would call Dr. Chu to see if she wanted to do it or if she was okay with the radiology department doing it.

She said she had similar issues with NYU.  She explained that it was about the fact that it required the OR for the procedure.  However, it was such a small thing that it was a lot of expense for such a minor procedure.  That makes sense.  But it is still really frustrating.  *sigh*

Within half an hour, Dr. Chu's assistant called me back.  EM is on the schedule for this Friday.  Yep.  Four days from now.  I am grateful they are getting her in.  But I still am feeling like *why* was this not done four weeks ago?

In other EM news, I got a call from another charter school today.  They have a spot for Elanor.  So out of the four she applied to, so got into *three*.  Kinda stunning.  (Of course not my top choice.  But hey...)

I confess with all the work stuff today, I don't have it in me to call them.  I think I will try tomorrow when I am in the office.  That way, I can print out my list of questions & talk to them about various things.

I suspect it is exceedingly unlikely that I will have her attend there.  But I confess that looking at the test scores for the school, there is some temptation.  They are very strong.  A good bit higher than the state average in language arts & science.  Better than the state average on math, but not as big a gap.  (Though in 6th grade, the numbers are below in both math & LA...kinda odd.)

But it is all the way at the other end of town.  And a lot of the reviews say the school is very strict.  Not sure that is a good thing for EM. But the flip side is that it is small.  It seems to only be one class per grade.  I think it is 24 spots in a class.  So she would have the same classmates.  That could be good or *really* bad depending on the kids... *sigh*

I also would like to know if they have art, music, and such.  To me that is critical with any school EM attends.

Honestly, I really don't know.  I confess that I was happy about finally being done with the decision.  But I will call tomorrow and see what happens.  This is one of the schools that didn't have tours.  So I have sincere doubts that I will say yes unless I can see the place.

A coworker had kids who went there and now her grandkids are going there.  She loves it.  But she isn't someone I know very well.  So I don't know how much I can take from her opinion.


Update for Elder Munchkin

So I realize that I haven't done an update on what is happening with Elder Munchkin.

Can't recall if I posted this.  The last appointment for Elder Munchkin at the ophthalmologist showed that the eyes look good.  The medicine is helping.  There is "no activity" so that it terrific.  The swelling is gone.  Hooray!

Elder Munchkin had her appointment with the rheumatologist on Thursday.  Things are going well.  EM has been doing well.  No new swelling which is good.  *knocks on wood*

Though I was a bit concern with some loose stool & complaints about tummy aches.  So the doctor added some things to the blood work to check on EM.

I was a good mama.  After one good and one bad phlebotomist at the testing center, I tried to find out who was working at the center.  No success.  But I swore that if is was the bad phlebotomist, I was taking the kids home immediately.  (My son needed some routine blood work as well.)  Luckily it was the good one who was done within seconds & even calmed poor EM down after the nightmarish experience from last time...

Got a call from the rheumatologist today.  Most things look good.  No toxicity from the methotrexate.  No anemia.  The Sed rate is down which is good.  (Had to look that one up.  Sed rate is the erythrocyte sedimentation rate which it about the inflammation I believe.)

But because of the tummy trouble, the doctor added on a couple extra tests.  One was for Celiac. DH was so glad to hear it wasn't that.  I fear EM would have been sent to live on an iceberg.  *grin* 

However, the test is on the "positive side" for inflammatory bowel disease.  It isn't a definite test.  But it does require more testing.  Though I am sure EM will be happy to hear it isn't a blood test.  Though I am less than thrilled it is a stool sample.  As I suspect I will be the lucky camper who gets to collect it.  *laugh*

We see the finger surgeon tomorrow.  I am hoping that she can figure out something to do about the swelling in Elanor's finger.  It hasn't gone down as much as various folks (myself included) think it should have.  But maybe this is typical for the surgery.  But given one of the people with concerns about the swelling is the occupational therapist & the rheumatologist, I am glad we are seeing the hand specialist tomorrow.

Today is EM's last day of school.  I confess that I am sad to see school ending for her.  I think she is much better with more structure.  And she is happier being very social.

I hope we can figure out ways to keep her occupied this summer.  I worry for my dead husband's sanity with a 4 1/2 & 3 year old at home all day.  *laugh*  I work full time so it is a challenge.  But I am taking off some time at the end of July for a long weekend in S. NJ.  And I have off some time at the end of August to the beginning of September.  So I am hoping to keep reminding DH of those.

I do understand the challenges with that though.  It is hard to keep two kids busy for hours on end.

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