If you read my last post , I was kind of at a loss. I did not get to pay my personal bills last month or to get anything ready for Christmas, because I had to save $707.00 for my surgery. I have only recently begun full time status, at my place of employment, my husband was out and not feeling well, after his surgery last month, and I was told that I would need to pay what my insurance would not cover, prior to my surgery.
On Thursday (today is Sunday), I was told that I actually owed the hospital $797.00 and the doctor $707.00, and the anesthesiologist $48.00 , when I asked about where the $90.00 came from (as my card was being processed); that amount was more than my paycheck and my husband literally had $44.00 in his account, after paying our major bills.
My hopeful post turned into a hopeless (really) post and I was really angry and sad. Maybe God thumped me on the head for saying that I would do it all on my own and did not want help… “ok, let’s turn up the heat”. All that I could do was pray and try to find the most pragmatic words to use when I would have to ask my family for help. (I am a “Type A,” INTJ,” kind of person who has to rehearse what I will say, for hours, if I have to talk to someone about a personal failure.)
Three hours after I published my blog post, my husband came in and showed me his tip count, for the night. Someone had tipped him $3,200. I could barely pay the amount that I had prepared for, and not without sacrificing other responsibilities, and I couldn’t pay the final amount that I owed. It took being broken, again, and a small miracle, again, for me to quit being so stubborn.
On Friday, I received a personal email from the creator of the AAC program that I adore. I was star struck (my heros are not typical), her name is on the big book that has been my AAC Bible.
The program that she and her husband developed is about using the foundation of a relationship with a client, to facilitate joint engagement, and conducting therapy in a way that is naturalistic and client driven; very much in line with the values of the clinic that I work at. The actual program, “Words for Life”, is based on motor planning and not so much “symbol teaching”; every time that a client touches a symbol, they get the reaction that that symbol represents, even if it is not the intended reaction. The symbols never change and become like a keyboard or a dynamic phone screen; we don’t have to think about where the “A” is on the keyboard, our fingers already know and we really don’t have to think to navigate a phone application, after we do it a couple of times; this reduces the amount of cognitive effort required to perform tasks.
I had written in reference to my client who I have felt a connection to, from before I knew her. I refuse to give up on this one, despite a little bit of aggression. I feel like the aggression has a lot to do with her inability to communicate, outside of school, where she has a speech generating device. I only had a printed/static board, in my clinic, and this sweet lady offered to send me a code for the app (a $300.00 app) or even to let me borrow her personal device. I did not want the responsibility of having her $7,000 device (the one I am trying to get my client) but I did take her up on the code, and I thought that I was going to cry, I was so happy. I don’t have an iPad or a child-proof case but I am working on it and I am so happy that I am going to have a dynamic program, the exact same one that my client uses at school. I am praying that everything happens, in a way that it needs to, in order for insurance to get her own device.
On Friday, I was smacked around again, but I blocked better. She also threw pink lemonade at me and all over the room. After she cooled down, I handed her a towel, she dried off, and I began picking up the pieces of a puzzle that she had thrown. I did half of the puzzle and started wiping off pieces and handing them to her; she put them back correctly and I talked about how good she was using her device. Soon after, she was pointing to good and smiling. I spent half of the session talking about how good she was and she was good and performed well. At the end of the session, I modeled, “finished” and explained that she usually needs to go to the bathroom… she put her finger right on “need” and went… I have never worked on “need” that is so abstract, I have tried for “help” and “go”. She does these little things that make me believe that she has more going on that people give her credit for. At the end of the session, we were as close to hugging as two introverts care to be, and it felt great.