June 3, 2007 by Marj Hatzell
Let’s pause for a moment and remember that DG is a complete basket case when it comes to meds. DG tends to have paradoxical reactions to medications and shies away from them as much as humanly possible. In fact, after the C-section (and traumatic blood loss) that resulted in Bugaboo’s birth, DG took no pain meds. This should not be a surprise to anyway, considering DG also went to midwives and planned two medication-free births. Three words: High Pain Tolerance, mmmkay?
My children also tend to have horrible reactions to medications. Do not even THINK of giving my child a cold or allergy medication, as they will be up for days. I am not kidding, either. Days of no sleep! We tend to stick to natural and homeopathic treatments because in Casa del DG we LIKE to sleep at night, can you believe that? Before kids I slept nine to ten hours a night and took a two hour nap. I was cured of that sickness mighty quickly when Bug Boy arrived and was all, “Dude. You are totally not sleeping more than two hours a stretch, because I’m gonna wake up every two hours, eat for forty-five minutes and then puke it up all over you. So there.”
Bugaboo slept great for about a year. I mean, came home and slept through the night, peeps. Seven hours, up for fifteen minutes for a feeding and then slept for three to four more. But then he was awake ALL day. Yes, as an infant. And as a toddler he rarely napped. Fast forward a few years and by the time he was twenty months we suspected seizures but no one could tell us for sure. He would wake all night screaming, dozing off for a short stretch in between. It was MURDER. Those were the days that I was pretty certain I was going to walk someplace far away and never turn back. Like Hawaii.
Soon we found out about the seizures. His sleep improved but his behavior worsened. The hyperactivity that we thought was oh-so-adorable as a walking eight-month-old reached Tasmanian-Devil-Status by the time he hit his third birthday. We tried every therapy we could think of, obtained wrap-around services, changed his school setting to a full-time program and saw many little improvements. Each day became a celebration of something new. But his hyperactivity was out of control, to the point that we feared for his safety (and our sanity) and could not even close the door to pee. Not that you needed to know that. But I’ve already told you that and I can’t take it back, so get over it if you are modest.
Seven months ago I saw the Developmental Pediatrician out of desperation. He was uncontrollable. He wasn’t eating anything but bread. He was biting his hand, climbing out of windows, running into the street, scaling fences and running off, the list goes on. We were constantly in tears and arguing about it. The stress was high, our Bugaboo seemed SO UNHAPPY. The pediatrician mentioned behavior modification, which we’ve been doing for months, to no avail. Then she mentioned the words I did not want to hear, “Maybe it is time to think about medications.” For a three-year-old? No way was any child of MINE going to be on those types of drugs! As a teacher and a kinda-crunchy person I was adamantly opposed. As a parent I was disgusted. But we decided to consult with the Neuro and took all of the information given to us the past few months. Last week when we saw the Neuro we decided, as a team, that it was worth a shot. At this point, if nothing else, if it didn’t work we could discontinue it. What is the worst that could happen? We would hate it and never do it again.
If four days are any indication, I wish we tried this six months ago. We have seen HUGE changes in this child. He SITS AND EATS AT THE TABLE, people! He makes eye contact and smiles! He plays in the pool with his brother! He plays with ONE THING FOR TEN MINUTES!!!! And the best yet? He goes right to sleep at night without destroying his room, ripping all of the clothes out of his closet, removing his clothing, putting on four outfits and pulling the mattress off the bed. All in fifteen minutes.
I know this isn’t the answer to all of our prayers. Every little bit helps. Every little intervention we have tried has made an impact. He is happy! He is calmer! And he is only on 1/4 of a dose, as the increases will occur in the next two weeks, slowly. I still hate the fact that my four-year-old is taking a serious drug. But it just solidifies the argument that there is a chemical imbalance somewhere in this child’s body. It reinforces our belief that somewhere in there, inside all of the spinning, shrieking, jumping, stimming and crying there is a little boy trying to claw his way outside and tell the world what he wants to say.
And I have a feeling it is something like, “I say, ole chaps! The sweater auntie knitted is quite comfortable. Pardon me, but could you please pass the oreos?”