Thursday, November 8, 2007

Coffee and Pop Tarts

I'm sure I'll be in a sugar-induced stupor soon, but that's what the coffee is for. Plus, I'd forgotten just how good those evil things are! I bought them yesterday - or rather Walmart's generic version - because Ben was being exceedingly cute and I was feeling equally generous. I am now convinced that though they are, of course, still abundantly evil, there are not many taste sensations that could pair with a cup of coffee so ideally. I needed it this morning.

It hasn't been a bad morning. Last night, I finished the Two-Tone Shrug from Fitted Knits and I'm wearing it now. It rocks! Even Alicia said "ooooohhhh, that's cuuuueeeettttte" in her 11-year-old way. Alas, no pictures yet because the camera is up north waiting patiently for someone to shoot a deer. They have shot 3, but last year by this time in the week, I think they'd had 7 or 8. The camera will be back tomorrow though and pics will be taken.

This morning Lucas had an appointment to see Dr. Thomas Sult at Williams Integracare Clinic in Sartell, MN. When I first looked up DAN! doctors 3 years ago, I quickly saw that in my area, there were no MD's. There were chiropracters, optometrists and accupuncturists. I wanted an MD not only for the medical school piece of mind it would offer, but then perhaps I'd have a prayer of my insurance company covering something. Dr. Sult fits the bill perfectly. He's a family practitioner who supports every mode of autism treatment that our regular pediatrician scoffed at. We've used a combination of vitamin/mineral supplementation and chelation with great results. He rocks too!

The appointment was at 8:15 a.m. The boys had to wake up at 6:30 and we left at 7:30. Alicia stayed home and got off to school on her own. The goal of this visit was to get all the test kits and instructions, and from there we will reevaluate Luke's current condition and his treatment plan. There are 3 tests. The first test is an organic acids test. This test looks for the byproducts of yeast, fungi, and even bacteria in the intestinal tract. It's the easiest sample to collect because you only need a small amount of first morning urine. However, it's $284 if you pay out of pocket up front, $474 to submit it to insurance.

The second test is the Comprehensive Digestive Stool Analysis with Parasitology (Random) - wheeee! (CDSA for short). This one involves 3 stool collections, taken 3 consecutive days. This one doesn't scare me either. It's another biggie: $370 up front, $475 for insurance.

The third is the Toxic Element Clearance Profile which tests for heavy metal contamination. Last time we did it, it showed high levels of both lead and mercury. For the test, Luke will take 8 capsules of a chelating agent (DMSA - nasty stinky stuff), then we will collect all his urine for 6 hours. Definitely a weekend project. The last time we did this, we emptied the capsules into pop and though it stunk to high heaven, he drank it and didn't seem to notice. His senses are a little more refined now, though, than they were 3 years ago so we'll see how it goes. I might have to try to teach him to swallow pills. Beyond that, the collection part shouldn't be that bad. Last time we did it, he was not potty trained and I left him naked and followed him around the house for 6 hours with a small jar. The redeeming quality of this test is that it's the least expensive of the 3 tests: $58 up front, $118 for insurance.

My project for the next few days is to go over the shipping rules and limitations and strategize exactly when and how we will do this. Then I'll also need to investigate our insurance policy. I am hopeful that my insurance company will cover these tests. We are fortunate enough to have a policy written out of Indiana, a state which has a law mandating insurance coverage for those with a pervasive developmental disorder (such as Asperger's or autism) and they may not be denied coverage for services rendered necessary for their condition. I hope they will cover these tests. Unless I get a definitive answer soon, I'll be paying the discounted up front cost, then submitting the tests to insurance later. I'd hate to rely on my insurance, then get stuck with $1000 of test costs.

For those who would like to know more about these tests, you could check out William Shaw, Ph.D's book Biological Treatments for Autism and PDD. It's intensely scientific, but it was right up my alley and has been a good reference book. There are more user friendly books that give the same kind of information though. If you're considering the GFCF diet, Special Diets for Special Kids by Lisa Lewis has, in addition to a great selection of recipes, a comprehensive section that focuses on the science of the diet and other popular biomedical treatments for autism spectrum disorders.

Well now that I've written a novel, I think I'll take a knit break to calm my caffeine/sugar charged brain before getting back to the work-grind. I'm swatching for the Short-Sleeved Bulky Cardi, or more accurately, whatever I can make with Patons Shetland Chunky after I've determined a fabric density I like. Whatever will that be?

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