Thursday, August 30, 2012

The SmartVest by Electromed, Inc

As you already know, Judith's been using her SmartVest for about a month.  The "honeymoon" is definitely over with it, and she's been having mini tantrums when I want to put her vest on.  Once we start the treatments, I distract her with Disney Jr. and her shape sorters (or another toy), and she's generally ok.

During the last month, I've been bracing myself for the insurance denial letter.  Electromed actually has something in place where you can sign a waiver for them to handle all of your insurance issues for the vest, and we took full advantage (who wouldn't want to do that in this case?).  I wasn't sure if we'd actually see the denial letter or not, and I didn't know how the payment negotiations were going.  Well, today we got our answer, in the form of our regular statement, which means that our primary insurance paid their portion (it's always a crap shoot to see what Medicaid pays since I rarely get statements for stuff, and so far they've covered everything).

So let's have some fun and play a game!  These airway clearance systems aren't cheap, but most people may be shocked at the actual cost.  Small side note: I don't think ours is quite as expensive as The Vest by Hill Rom - I read blogs and know some parents who use this vest on their child(ren), and it looks like it costs a bit more.  Anyway, to give you an idea, here's a list of different things I could buy for the cost of Judith's SmartVest:

311 Economy Plus packs of Pampers Cruisers (size 4 - Judith's current size)

1,167 6-packs of Pediasure

82 Island Treasure steak & seafood combo packs from Omaha Steaks

21 shares of Apple stock OR 733 shares of Facebook stock (prices at close on 8/30/12)

350 copies of Paper Mario: Sticker Star for the Nintendo 3DS

4 tickets in the lower level for the Pittsburgh Steelers

111 season passes to Hersheypark for 2013

1 used 2008 Toyota Corolla

Ready to hear the grand total?


Yep, that's a comma in there.

I knew this sucker was going to be expensive, and to be honest after reading what other people's vests have cost, I was a little surprised that the figure was that low.  Still, that's a pretty hefty chunk of change.  Our primary insurance picked up the bulk of it, and now the rest is being submitted to medicaid, so we'll see how much they end up paying.

It really does blow my mind how much this disease costs to maintain.  But I'll gladly look at all of the statements if it means Judith will be as healthy as possible, and we'll pay whatever we have to to help her.

Sunday, August 26, 2012

All Clear

Judith had her follow-up appointment with Dr. W. on Friday to make sure her ear infection and cold were gone.  Good news: her ears were clear!  Bad news: she was a hot freakin' mess.  She performed her usual antics that she pulls at a doctor's office, but this time started as soon as we hit the exam room and one of her favorite nurses took her temperature.  Silly child.  She still has a stuffy nose, and we're not sure if it's left over from the cold or if it could indicate allergies, so we're watching it.  I already know Dr. G. is going to want to do allergy testing when we do her annual blood work at clinic, so that should help give us some answers, but it'll be a long wait.  Oh, and Judith also got her flu shot.  I couldn't believe that the office already had them in and available!  Dr. W. asked if we wanted to do it, and I jumped on the opportunity - I do feel better knowing she has it and will have the protection as we head into the fall, but this also means I won't have to make a separate appointment and make a separate trip for her to get it.  It's nice when things work out so conveniently!  John and I will have to get ours at some point, but we have a bit of time before we have to worry about that.

In other news, Judith's been adding some new words.  She has a long list, but most recently she started saying "Daddy" instead of "Dada."  I've been trying to get her to say "Mama," but no dice.  Today, though, she finally, FINALLY started saying "Mommy!"  I was thinking, "It's about time, kid."  But deep down, I'm thrilled that she's saying this stuff, and it only took 20-almost-21 months to hear!

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Fun at the Park

Judith & I met up with my friend, Amy, and her 3 kids this morning at a local park.  The location was gorgeous, and everyone had a blast!  It was great to have some in-person adult interactions, too!

The park has a covered bridge and some historic buildings (the buildings were closed, though, so we didn't get to see what they look like inside).  There's also a new peace garden with a bunch of different plants that the kids could explore.  I didn't get a picture of it (and I regret it now), but we saw a pretty caterpillar that will turn into a monarch butterfly, lots of bumble bees that were busy pollinating, and even some mosquito larvae in the stagnant water of the bird bath.  Naturally, Judith saw water and wanted to play in it, and I had a brief moment of panic quickly pushing her away from the gross West Nile virus breeding ground.  I have to admit that it was kind of neat to see the larvae in the water, as I never saw that before.  Anyway, the garden also had a small corner for vegetables, and they had some nice tomato plants and corn stalks.

We couldn't have asked for a better August day, either.  The weather was gorgeous, and the temperatures were nice - warm, but not overly hot.  I am so grateful that it's finally cooling down, and we can start doing stuff like this with Judith again!

She's unimpressed.

Swings were a hit last year.  This year, not so much.

Judith loves dogs, and was infatuated with Amy's Yorkie!


Hugs for the pup!

Friday, August 17, 2012

Fall Preparations

It's that time of year: the start of a new school year is around the corner, back to school ads and commercials have been in the papers or airing for a few weeks, and the fall lines of clothes have hit the racks.  I think I'm ready for the cooler weather, especially after the insanely hot and humid weather we've had this summer.

I've been shopping for Judith, and am really excited for her to wear some new (or new to her) clothes!  It's extra challenging this year - she's not growing as quickly, and it's hard to predict what size she's going to be in for the upcoming seasons.  I'm anticipating she'll be in 12-18 month sizes for at least the fall, if not most of the winter.  I scored a bunch of pants last week at a freecycle event that my in-laws' church had, and all we need to do is get some more onesies/tops for her.  I ordered her dresses for church last night on eBay (smocked, of course!), and I'll be ordering the 2 smocked bubbles I want to get for her in a few weeks.  We'll need to get her a couple pairs of shoes and some tights, but then we'll be set.

I'm happy to report that Judith's cold didn't get as bad as it could have, and it seems to have cleared up completely.  I'm not sure if her ears are completely clear yet, but she's still taking her antibiotics so we should be good.  We moved her back to her room a couple nights ago since she doesn't really need to be elevated anymore, and I decreased her vest treatments back to the normal 2 per day since her cough has disappeared.

Speaking of vest treatments, we have a treatment goal time.  I talked to the nurse the other day, and asked what we should be shooting for.  They want her to work up to 30 minutes twice a day - right now it seems like a lofty goal considering the novelty has more than worn off and Judith has become Little Miss Fussy Pants with her treatments, but we're going to try it anyway.  Right now we're sitting at 12 minutes, and I'm going to keep bumping up the time gradually.  Thank goodness for Mickey Mouse Clubhouse, Chuggington, and Jake and the Neverland Pirates - they're going to save my sanity and hopefully make those 30 minute sessions possible!

Thursday, August 9, 2012

We Had A Good Run...

... but our track record is broken.  Thankfully I caught it early enough before it escalated into something more serious.  Judith has a summer cold with an ear infection - not surprising since we went to Hands-on-House last Friday.  She's been congested, and yesterday she was acting a little off, mostly with her sleep (she was sleeping a ton), and today she kept sneezing, causing her nose to run - this kid's nose rarely runs, so it's been a new experience for us.  Go figure that, just like last December when she had the sinus infection, she gets sick when Dr. G. is out of the office, the nurse coordinator is out until next week, and Dr. W. doesn't have any appointment blocks available.  ::facepalm::

We did get an appointment with a different doctor, and Judith handled the change pretty well.  Probably because it was someone new, and she couldn't predict what he would do.  In any case, the good news is her lungs are clear, so we don't need to increase her Albuterol or vest treatments right now.  If she starts coughing more, then I'll add an extra session or 2 to make sure things are getting cleaned out.  The bad news is she is on a 10 day course of Augmentin for the ear infection and to hopefully keep things from setting up shop in her lungs.  The pedi told us that there's a possibility that things could get a little worse before they get better, but we're hoping that's not the case and the antibiotics will kick in quickly.

We were working on adapting to her sleeping in her big crib at night, and she was doing really well until last night.  I thought it would be better to have her sleep in our room for a few days until she's feeling better, then we can go back to the other arrangement.  So for now, Judith's back in the travel lite with 1 end elevated to help relieve some of the pressure in her ears and help with the congestion.

I have to say, though, that the little bugger's already mastered the art of sharing, and was generous to share her germs with me.

Friday, August 3, 2012

First Adventure to the Hands-on-House

Originally, we were planning to take a big family day trip to Knoebel's.  John's family was going to meet up with us and my parents, and we were going to spend the day taking Judith on some rides for the first time (last year we only took her on the train since she was so little).  Thanks to the ridiculously hot and humid summer, our plans did not unfold - since it was so humid today, and the air quality levels were at an orange, we opted for me to stay behind with Judith while John met his parents, brother, and our niece and nephews to have fun on the rides.

Instead of hanging around the house, though, I told my parents that I'd like to bring Judith and the dogs to their place, and thought that maybe we could take her to the Hands-on-House for the first time.  I've been holding off on taking her, since I knew she wasn't really ready to handle it and she was still putting everything in her mouth, but I thought that today would be a perfect opportunity to give it a shot since it was an activity we could do inside in the a/c (and she's not putting as much in her mouth right now, so that was an added bonus!).

Hands-on-House is a local children's museum that has many different activities for kids to enjoy.  It originally started in an old house, and I went there many times when I was a kid. Since then, the museum moved across the street and is now adjacent to Landis Valley, and is on 1 level.  The activities are different (the grocery store is still the same, just updated to mirror what a modern grocery store looks like instead of the '80s version ha ha), but no less entertaining and educational.

I am so glad that my mom and I took Judith today!  She had an absolute blast, even though she's still a little young to do everything, but watching her explore the different areas was awesome!

Checking out the color changing board



Moving the eggs into the refrigeration unit, then waiting for them to pop back out

It's a cow butt!

Driving the New Holland tractor

Picking corn

Petting the pig

Selecting some dog food while holding a mushroom top in the grocery store

Sorting mail - is she going to follow in her great Grandpa's footsteps and be a letter carrier?

Yo ho ho!

Quality control

Germ blaster!

Fishing with Grandma


Thursday, August 2, 2012

New Vest!

Judith completed her 3rd vest treatment this evening, and so far, so good!  She's cooperating and sitting for the entire time (watching Mickey Mouse Clubhouse - it's a good distraction!), and I'm keeping my fingers crossed that she'll continue this trend.

The system is pretty easy to use, and I'm grateful for that!  Once Judith is older, she shouldn't have any problems working the machine on her own.  All we need to do is train my parents so they know how to use it when they're babysitting, and eventually we'll have to show my in-laws how to use it as well in case Judith ever wants to spend the night with them.

For your viewing pleasure, here is the little peanut doing her therapy:


Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Happy Birthday Buster!

Today is Buster's 7th birthday!  I didn't get a chance to make him a dog-friendly cake (I think we're going to do a joint celebration sometime in late September/early October for him and Lady), but he did get lots of extra love, a couple treats, and some extra scratches.

Happy birthday, Mr. Boo!