Archive for October 7th, 2008

Here We Go Again

I haven't written about all the ups and downs, backs and forths, various changes we've made in the J-man's medications, because, really? What's the point? I'd just be writing the same post again and again. He'll take a new medication for 5, 6, 8, maybe even 10 or 12 days. And then, he'll start refusing to take it. And he'll lose privileges. His beloved Bionicles will go into the attic. His legos will be put away. His rights to use the computer will be taken away. And those threats will work for a day or two. Until they don't work anymore.

But this latest medicaton? Oh my gosh! It's been working so unbelievably well! I didn't realize how incredible life could be until we switched to it! Life was beautiful. But it was an extended release capsule that we had to open up and break into J's food… and, well, THAT didn't go over well. Because the capsule contained these little teeney tiny beads. And the beads… well, J's super-sensitive to food textures. And whenever he decides he doesn't like a food texture, he starts freaking out. So we were putting the beads in yogurt, or ice cream, or pudding, or applesauce. And that worked. For a while. And then we had to start disguising it by putting sprinkles in with the beads. And that really worked. For a while. And that stopped working. And nothing, and I mean NOTHING, was working.

Today he simply wouldn't swallow any bite he put into his mouth. He spat it out. Today was not the day for him to refuse to take his medicine – he had an appointment scheduled with a neuropsychologist to have some testing done. He didn't know about the appointment, so I know his refusal to take the medication today wasn't just acting out to get at me. Plus, he'd told his teacher yesterday that he doesn't like his morning medicine and he's not going to take it anymore. So it's been coming.

I called the developmental pediatrician in desperation at 8am and left him a message. "What do I do? Do I cancel the appointment with the neuropsychologist that I'm paying thousands of dollars to? Or do I put a patch on him and hope that does enough to get him through the appointment? Help!" He called back at 8:30 and told me to put a patch on him. He sounded defeated. I hope he was just tired and rushed. I put a patch on J and tried to get him to calm down. The appointment was at 10am. Plenty of time for the patch to work… Turns out, the new medication works a LOT better than the patch. In comparison, the patch made it seem like he was nearly unmedicated. Sigh.

Sometimes these unmedicated (or in this case, undermedicated) days are a good thing. They give me a sanity check and remind me that the medication (the one he was SUPPOSED to take, but didn't) DOES work. It reminds me that I AM right to be medicating my child, despite how unpopular a choice it is. When I see how out of control my child is, how incapable he is of controlling even his most destructive impulses… it reminds me how desperately he needs the aid of this medication. When I see how crazed and wild he becomes without medication, I am reminded that his behavior was NOT all in my head, that I was NOT making it all up or exaggerating. I was not crazy, or just completely incapable of handling it. It was not normal behavior that I was simply intolerant of. Sometimes the unmedicated days are vindicating.

Today, however, is not one of those good days to be unmedicated. Today, J needed to be focused. Today, J needed to be optimally medicated. Today, J was not. Nevertheless, the neuropsychologist did the best that she could do, and said she'd do the rest at the next appointment in a couple of weeks. She's very flexible and she'll work within whatever limitations she can. And I got to read a good deal of a terrific book: ADHD & Me: What I Learned From Lighting Fires at the Dinner Table. Maybe I'll finish it at the next appointment.

I took the J-man to school and had a long talk with his teacher on the playground. His teacher has the advantage of having an ADHD son of her own, so she can give me a lot of her own perspective on this stuff. And we decided that if the developmental pediatrician is okay with it, we can try moving him to the short acting version of the medication. He already takes the short acting version of the medication on Mondays and Tuesdays at school in the afternoons so that he's focused for speech therapy. He doesn't mind the short acting medication because it's not little beads, it's a pill crushed into powder, so the texture doesn't bother him (…yet). The disadvantage to the short acting version is that it wears off in as little as 3 hours (versus 8 hours), so it has to be given pretty frequently, which means having the teacher give it to him at least twice a day, but she doesn't mind. And so prompted my SECOND phone call to the pediatrician for the day, making my fifth phone call to him in two days. I wish I could have frequent flyer miles with him or something. Sheesh.

And so… That's what we're doing. Switching to the short acting medication, which he'll be taking at 7:30, 11:30, and 2:30 (he'll get the 2:30 dose only on Mondays and Tuesdays… the other days I'll give him a dose when he gets home ONLY if I feel he needs it – otherwise his appetite gets suppressed too much. SIGH.). And really? If anyone thinks this is all too much for a little kid? They should take him for a day. UNmedicated. Because it may be too much for a little kid, but it's DEFINITELY too much for his mommy.

Did I mention I have a full time job in addition to being a full time mommy? Did I mention I'll be working on that full time job into the wee hours of tonight to make up for the time lost this morning trying to take care of him? Did I mention that I DESPISE that people try to suggest that mothers either work full time or they parent full time? I DO BOTH. I am home for all of my triplets' therapy appointments. I take J to ALL of his therapy appointments. I coordinate with all of the teachers, doctors, therapists, psychologists, and caregivers that function as part of J-man's team. I feed them, I shop for them, I love them, I hold them, I parent them. I do all of the things that a full time parent does. And I still have to fit a full time job in between all of that. For that matter, my wondermous husband also is a full time parent and works full time, so don't go thinking he's a slacker either, because he's not. So there.

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Some days I feel absolutely ill-equipped to be a parent of an ADHD child. 

I would elaborate, but really?  Is there anything more to say than that?  I don't know that I was cut out to do this, but then again, I wouldn't trust anyone else to do it better.

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