adoption, family

Capacity

Pinching a metal machine as hard as I can with my thumb and forefinger seems like an exercise in futility to me. We have been at this for about four hours. Fifteen of the last minutes have been filled with various types of pinching. The combinations include pinching with three fingers, pressing with just my thumb and also a full hand grasp. Then the evaluater checks my pulse and blood pressure and we repeat each exercise three more times in the exact same way. This poor man now has more information about my grabbing and pinching abilities than anyone could ever possibly want to know about.

Except they do want to know. This is a functional capacity evaluation, or FCE, to determine my physical capabilities. The insurance company has ordered it for unknown reasons. This is supposed to be useful information for my employer. They can now be satisfied I am fully capable of a great deal of sustained grabbing and pinching. Rest assured that as an elementary school teacher, these capabilities should not be used at my job!

This process exhaustingly long. In addition to pinching it also involves pushing, pulling, lifting, walking, screwing in a variety of round knobs and (rather mysteriously) climbing up and down a ladder. Typically these are done in work injury cases where the employer is trying to determine if an employee can return to work. Sometimes the FCE determines if more treatment is needed. Since I’ve been full time for many months, and I am not seeking further treatment, it just seems weird.

Will this snapshot from a few hours really give a picture of my complete physical capabilities? How do I stack up against, say, Betty White? What about someone like Arnold Schwarzenegger? Would he be a better thumb presser than I am? Who would rate higher in the random ladder climb?

I wonder what foster care training would be like if it included a functional capacity examination for parenting skills, For instance, what if a family was given a sibling group for about four hours and asked to address various needs and behaviors? And also probably their pinching skills because…priorities. Would that somehow help with placement determinations?

These weekend visits we are having with Mary are going well. I do wonder what they are telling Luke and I about our capacity to parent her at home. Obviously, they last for longer than four hours. Clearly, we haven’t tested out any newfangled pinching or ladder climbing techniques. Still, I wonder if these visits are proving our capacity to function as a safe family. There isn’t a test to determine it. Instead, we just have to have faith.

Last week Luke and I requested to start Mary’s transition home from residential school. She’ll still attend their specialized trauma-informed day school but she will be come home to us in the evenings.  The discharge will take about two or three months. We are filling out all of the paper work to jump back into the community-based service model. We are gearing up for a big change.

Are we up to this challenge? There isn’t really a way to know. I can say with certainty that we want to be capable of it. Mary wants to be capable of it.

I do know we are far more capable of taking care of Mary than anyone else (I’m looking at you Betty White and Arnold Schwarzenegger). We are her parents. I don’t need an evaluation to tell me that.

**Names have been changed to protect the privacy of those involved.

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15 thoughts on “Capacity

  1. C says:

    Is the insurance allowed to do that? I know they have to make sure you are ready but they can fire you right based on that test, right? Great news about Mary. Having the school still there is great. It’s cool that they can offer that consistency and familiarity post discharge. I can imagine how much everyone her to be home. For what it’s worth I think you all will succeed. She has stability and has learned how to self monitor based on what you have said and you know how to support her you always have even if her trauma wouldn’t let you. I look forward to an update!

    Liked by 2 people

    • Thank you that is very sweet. We are all looking forward to our girl’s return! The insurance company can do whatever they want, really. Worker’s compensation is strange in the way it works. They sent me for an independent medical exam as well. I did get a different position at work recently. Since I am working I can’t really say what they want except to annoy me…oh well.

      Liked by 2 people

  2. Beth says:

    it sounds like Mary has done amazing with her treatment program. I’m so glad for you and I hope that all goes well as she transitions back to home.

    Liked by 3 people

  3. Hey there, just been thinking of you.
    I hope the start to a new year has been going well. I’m sure the last months have been crazy busy (you said it takes a few months).
    Sending some sunshine and sparkles your way.
    Love, light and glitter

    Liked by 1 person

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