In the 30th of our series, our mom of three kids, Emily, Grant and Lynn, continues her struggle to help Lynn with her food issues.
We need help. Seriously. We need serious help. Seriously.
The food issues have taken over our lives. We have a padlock on our pantry. Everything must be locked down before we leave the kitchen, and all counters must be secure from any remnants of food. I haven’t figured out how to lock the fridge yet, but so far Lynn hasn’t bothered with any of that healthy stuff such as fruit, cheese and non-fat plain yogurt. I desperately need to find a solution.
I was not meant to be the food police. I have enough food issues myself. Although I can somewhat relate to Lynn’s bingeing, my binges are sporadic, hers are daily. And she can’t seem to stop herself from eating until she gets sick, or until she runs out of that particular food item. It was time to once again call the pediatrician. What luck! The crabby receptionist was away on holidays, so the nice receptionist squeezed us in. She must have heard the desperation in my voice.
I love our pediatrician. He is so good with Lynn. He talks to her, not at her. He talks with her about what she eats, when, how much, and what she feels when she eats. And as usual, Lynn tells him what he wants to hear. Then he gets her to go out to the play area so he can hear my desperate pleas for help.
He gets it! He understands what we’re going through. We discuss all the things we’ve tried; how nothing’s worked. And he understands that we may have reduced the incidence of her taking food by locking everything up, but that the problem still has to be dealt with. He makes suggestions, then discards them knowing how Lynn is. He calls the pediatric dietician at the hospital for the name of a counsellor who has worked with kids who have eating disorders. He calls the counsellor while I’m sitting in his office. As he is speaking with the admin person I’m hopeful…then as I hear him getting more and more frustrated, I’m not so hopeful.
It would seem that because we live out of the “catchment area” that counsellor can’t serve our family. Our doctor asks if we can pay privately, and I tell him we’ll do whatever it takes to get the right help. Of course I have no idea where the money will come from, but I’ll worry about that later. Still, they won’t work with our family. Our doctor hangs up in frustration. He’s ready to scream; I’m ready to cry.
What are we going to do? There’s no point in going to just any counsellor. We need someone who understands all of the issues Lynn has: alcohol exposure in-utero, drug exposure in-utero, neglect, ADHD, attachment, grief, loss, etc.
We then discuss going through Children’s Hospital, because their mandate is to serve children throughout the province. He doesn’t think that we need to go through them, but he definitely agrees we need intervention now, and that it has to be ongoing, and that anyone involved has to understand the stack of issues Lynn has, and how they impact on everything she does.
Within the next 15 minutes, he has laid out his plan of attack. He questioned me about her other habits: does she cut herself? (no thank goodness); does she obsess over anything else? (not really); does she have friends at school? (she says she does but never gets invited anywhere and kids don’t show up when they’re invited to our house); does she have a behaviour, such as hand washing that is repetitive? (no again). He is adamant that Lynn needs professional help and is determined to find it.
He is putting through a referral to a well respected psychiatrist in the city, who works throughout the province, and is well educated, and experienced in children with multiple diagnoses. Plus he is putting Lynn’s name forward for a multi-disciplinary assessment for kids who have documented proof of exposure to alcohol in-utero. We had that done years ago but didn’t get the full FASD diagnosis because Lynn was in the 99th percentile for growth. Plus he will refer us to the FASD key worker,, who can also offer us support. I’m hopeful again. I love our pediatrician. Seriously.