Thursday, April 5, 2012

Every breath you take (I’ll be watching you).

Recently, my son ‘D’ was diagnosed with Dyslexia and ADHD.  The ADHD didn’t surprise me, but the Dyslexia kind of did.  I work in Healthcare and have all my adult life, so I am familiar with most of the aspects of both of those disorders – including treatment, therapy, etc.  I’ve been all over the pros and the cons of what’s available…etc, etc.  (This is not a forum for your personal testimony regarding medication, parenting techniques, behavior modification, personal mantras, etc.) 

As for me, MYSELF, I really did not want to put ‘D’ on meds for his ADHD…..and it really had nothing to do with most of the reasons that other parents opt not to medicate their children.  HOWEVER, in regards to his Dyslexia, I knew that it would be harder to help him if we did not get his ADHD under control… long story short (without any unsolicited advice), I started ‘D’ on his new medication last night.

Now, typically he will take his medication in the morning before he goes to school.  I gave it to him last night because if it did have any unpleasant side effects – like upset stomach, headaches, etc – I wanted him to be at home with me so I could evaluate him and be able to warn his teacher the next day on what to expect.  I also knew that there was a possibility that it might not do anything at all….or not do anything for a week or so…..or not do what we hoped it would.  I knew all the scenarios and that this is the trial and error period.  But, the mama in me wanted to be there the first time he took it….for whatever reason.  Call me crazy.

His Dr. had told me that it would probably decrease his appetite.  This is a concern for me because ‘D’ is already a swizzle stick.  He’s 7 ½ years old and weighs 53lbs.  He could be in a Tim Burton movie.  So, the plan was to give the medicine to him either right as he’s eating or right afterward……and make sure we stuff as much food into him as possible.

Last night’s supper consisted of grilled cheese sandwiches and chicken noodle soup.  I gave him his pill as soon as we sat down to dinner.  Then, I spent the next thirty minutes trying to get a whole bowl of soup and two sandwiches down him.  The other kids are staring at me like, “Is ‘D’ going somewhere?  Is he never eating again?  Wait a minute – am I never eating again?!  Is this a race I don’t know about?”

Finally ‘D’ says to me (with a whole half of a sandwich in his mouth), “MA…..I CA EA NY ORRRR!” 

Now, ‘D’ knew why he was taking his medicine, but I didn’t tell him or any of the other kids about the possible side effects.  If ‘D’ knew about that – than as soon as that pill would have left his throat, he would have doubled over in pain, limped back to his room and spent the rest of the evening trying to convince me that the only thing that would make him feel better would be chips and chocolate milk.  And of course, the other children being envious of his new malady would have suddenly fallen ill as well and then claimed that they must also have ADHD since they all seem to be suffering the same symptoms. 

So, ‘D’ has finished his whole meal in about six minutes.  The other kids are still eating.  And ‘T’ and I are just sitting there, staring at ‘D’.

I don’t know what I was expecting.  Like I said, I work in healthcare – I’m familiar with all of this.  And yet, there I am…..waiting for a sound like the ding of a timer to suddenly come out of ‘D’ and for him to say something like, “Attention everyone.  My medicine has taken effect and now I would like to go calmly sit in a nice cozy corner and read ‘Chicken Soup for the Soul’.

Instead, everyone is distinctly uncomfortable and the atmosphere is tense.  The other kids are staring at ‘T’ and me – wondering if we’ve poisoned ‘D’ or something, ‘T’ and I are staring at ‘D’ – waiting for the second coming of Christ, and ‘D’ is staring at all of us – probably wondering if we had found out about the broken Wii remote that he had hidden in the linen closet.

Well so after a while, ‘T’ and I realize that we might as well just let everyone go play and trust that ‘D’ will come tell us if he feels ill or……focused?

So, throughout the night ‘T’ and I covertly spied on ‘D’.  While the kids were playing outside, I had ‘T’ go ‘clean out his truck’.  He reported that ‘D’ hogged the basketball and made up his own rules…..just like he always does.  When the kids came inside and hung out in their rooms, I went and ‘put some of their laundry away’.  I reported that ‘D’ kept jumping off the top bunk and pestering ‘A’……just like he always does.  At one point, ‘D’ came to me and said that everyone was being mean and not playing with him…..just like he always does.  And, while doing their bedtime routine, ‘D’ streaked through the living room and put his bare ass in ‘A’s face……again…...just like he always does.  It was just another typical night in the White house.

The only ones who acted differently were ‘T’ and me.  ‘D’ was taking his bath and I noticed that I couldn’t hear him yelling at the top of his lungs, like I always do.  I was so sure that his medicine had kicked in and he had passed out in the bathtub and was drowning – that I raced into the bathroom, knocking the baby out of the way in the process, and scared the crap out of ‘D’ who was actually lying down in the tub, rinsing the soap out of his hair.  Of course he couldn’t hear me until I was leaning over him screaming in his face, “OH GOD ‘D’, COME BACK TO ME!”

After that, the kids were certain that I had poisoned ‘D’ earlier.

So, ‘D’ and everyone else goes to bed….and I am exhausted.  I sat on the couch and told myself that it would obviously take some time before we knew how ‘D’s new medicine was going to affect him.  But, that’s ok; this isn’t a race.  But I did wonder what I would do if ‘D’ was one of those rare kids that medicine just didn’t seem to work for.  I could just see myself screaming at the principle at his school, telling her – “I KNOW HE PUT HIS BARE ASS IN BILLY SMITH’S FACE….AGAIN!  BUT, MY GOD – HE TOOK TWO VALIUMS AND A HIT OFF OF A JOINT THIS MORNING WITH BREAKFAST….WHAT MORE DO YOU PEOPLE WANT?!”

You know……that might not be such a bad idea……at least with that, I wouldn't have to worry about his appetite.  J

*As I’m sure everyone with a brain knows that the weed and valium part was a joke - at the risk of having CPS show up at my door - I would like to state for the record that I would never give my children valium or illegal drugs of any kind.  Nor am I endorsing that it is okay for anybody else to do that as well.  It is purely a joke and meant to be taking as such… lighten the fuck up people!

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