This past week, we got the call from NIMH (National Institute for Mental Health), inviting us to come to Bethesda for a one-day interview to see if Mary meets the criteria to participate in the study they are doing on bipolar disorder in children and how it affects their brain process. We are very excited about this possibility. It has taken quite a while to get to this point (several hour+ long phone interviews, NIMH playing phone tag with the p-doc, passing their initial assessment, answering a million questions about whether she is really bipolar or just chronically irritable, etc.), and the trip doesn't guarantee that we will get into the study. But we are excited about it just the same.
I tried to schedule the trip before school starts. Unfortunately that was not possible, so we will have to take a couple of days off. At least it will be before the end of August. NIMH is paying for us to fly to Bethesda on August 24th, the interview will take all day August 25th, and we will fly home on August 26th. Mary is really excited about flying on an airplane. She hasn't been in an airplane since she was 5. I hope that the excitement continues and doesn't turn to anxiety. After the interview, NIMH will make a final decision as to whether Mary meets all of their specific criteria for this study. If she does then they will invite us back for some extensive testing which will include brain imaging, psychological tests, etc. I still have some questions as to the extent of the testing and exactly what it will tell us. Hopefully this trip will answer some of those questions. We still need to do a full psychological evaluation to know where she is educationally with her learning disability. If that will be covered by the testing at NIMH then that would be wonderful. If not, then I need to start the process with the public school system. I am praying that the whole trip will be a good experience and that if the study is something that we should participate in, then God would make it abundantly clear.