Not Otherwise Specified








None of us fit in a box, neatly labeled or easily identified.  My whole family, we’re a bunch of special needs individuals.  We blur the lines, we question and challenge definitions, we defy categorization and we all, yes- even the dog, require medication to function on a daily basis.  And if a doctor were forced to diagnose our individual neurosis, well, the best that they could come up with would be NOS- not otherwise specified.  Which is exactly the non-diagnosis diagnosis that the fireman is sporting these days.

We’ve spent the last several weeks working with a new set of medical specialists to get a clear cut diagnosis for our guy.  How can we begin a treatment plan, something that is sorely lacking right now, without one?  Coincidentally, or not, we are also working on developing his first public school IEP, a process that requires testing and an academic diagnosis to determine proper placement.  It’s been a fucking joy ride, let me tell you.  When my butt is firmly planted in the stale-smelling AA meeting (which I know is somewhere in my future), I will point directly to the stack of assessments that I had to fill out these past few weeks as the epicenter of my drinking problem.

When evaluating the following statements, select the answer that best fits each statement:

Never  |  Sometimes  |  Often  |  Always

I haven’t needed a number 2 pencil since 12th grade calculus.  This was almost as fun.

One evening, a week or two ago, I decided to break out a little lite reading: the fireman’s medical records from his hospitalization last year.  From his psychiatric hospitalization.  For my (then) four year old baby.

Bruno begged me not to do it.  ”What are you thinking?  Are you trying to ruin your night?” he asked me.  ”I know,” I said.  ”But I can’t not read them.  I’m an idiot.  And a masochist.  But I have to.”

Yes, I was a masochist.

The file was about an inch thick, much of it repeating itself.  It seemed like each section of the report repeated the same intake scenario, so I quickly learned that I could skip over that part as I moved through the pages.  What I didn’t expect were the records of the staff’s observations of ME...

Continue reading here.


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