Sorry I’ve been so inconsistent about writing my blog posts lately. You know how busy summers can be, right? The boy turns 6 this Saturday and has requested a Wild Kratts cake. He also requested a Dragonvale Cake, yes, as in the app… my son has turned into a gamer against my will. But in the end, he said he preferred the Wild Kratts. But I digress… [bunny trail] I really left you hanging on my last post, so I will fill you in on what we decided to do about the stimulant medication prescribed by the psychiatrist.
Yesterday was our second appointment with the psychiatrist. I was all stressed out because of the warning from the behavioral specialist. When I told her that I wanted to approach our son’s ADHD from a natural standpoint, because of the epic failure of the previous medications, the specialist told me that if the doctor takes the time and effort to diagnose and prescribe a medication for the boy, she’s going to want us to give it to him. Then she added that if we refuse to take her direction, she would tell us to go to another doctor. So I’ve been stressing out because I intensely dislike my son taking a stimulant medication. The side effects are not worth the hour or two you get of the boy being able to sit still. So, of course, I procrastinated getting the prescription filled. I finally decided that I would give him the medication for a couple of days, just to say I gave it to him. Besides, what if this was the one medicine that finally worked, I would hate to deny him something that could possibly help him. I took the prescription to Target pharmacy. They didn’t have any, they would be able to fill it on Tuesday. Uh oh… the doctor appointment is on Monday! So I took my prescription back and headed to Walmart. They didn’t have any of the medication either. Next I called the two Meijer stores in our town. None available. On Friday I needed to do some shopping, so I thought I’d give Meijer a try again. They told me that they couldn’t fill the prescription, then they looked closer and saw that it was only written for 5 tablets. They said they had exactly 5 tablets. Saturday was the usual whirlwind of activity and the medication was completely forgotten about until it was too late to take one. Sunday morning I asked hubby if we should medicate the boy before church, just so we had two days of seeing its effects before reporting to the psychiatrist Monday afternoon. He said that the boy had been looking forward to fishing at grandpa’s house so much, and he didn’t want the medicine to ruin his fun. So we decided that we would give the medication on Monday and observe closely before reporting. I am so glad that we decided not to medicate on Sunday, for two reasons. Reason number 1 was that the boy was extremely good at church, and if we would have medicated him, the drugs would have gotten the credit. And reason number 2 was because there was an incident where some wasps were making a nest under grandpa’s floating dock and kept flying up between the dock boards and investigating us. This terrified the boy so badly that he began screaming and shrieking and sobbing and drooling. In other words, this extremely intense emotional display would have been credited to the medication, had we given it to him.
Monday morning we woke up and I gave the 1/2 pill of the 5mg Dexedrine, as prescribed. Within an hour I watched the boy become instantly energized, the drug had kicked in. He bounced out of his chair and said with wild eyes, “What are we going to do?” ‘I’m bored!” I reminded him that Monday was mom’s big cleaning day, and I would really love if he could help me. “Noooo!” he shrieked. Ok, here we go with the intensity that comes with the stimulant medication, I think to myself (as if the boy weren’t intense enough without medication!) I try to make a game of picking up the toys and throwing them into his sister’s shopping cart. “Let’s go shopping for toys!” “Nooooo, that’s boring!” he cries. Then the excessive talking started. He was excitedly talking about some nature program he had found on the Xbox streaming. The phone was ringing and he didn’t miss a beat, running his words together and hardly taking a breath. I give the signal that I’m about to be on the phone. He missed the cue and kept right on jabbering, so I keep the conversation short. I start cleaning the house. Now you know that children often claim to be bored on summer vacation, they often lay around and moan and groan about not having anything to do, but my son was literally screaming, “I’m bored!” “I’m soooo bored!” So I set up the tiny pool I just bought, pour in 1 bag of sand, scatter some cheap fake jewels I bought for a dollar at Michaels, pour the second bag of sand on top of the jewels, fill the pool with water, and teach the kids to “panhandle” for the precious gems. I continued to clean the house, but the boy kept running inside and showing me the trinkets he found in the sand, leaving a trail of muddy water on the floor I was attempting to sweep and mop. Oh well, the kids were busy and happy.
The psychiatrist appointment was at 4PM, and the pill had pretty much worn off, leaving an exceptionally calm boy. I guess that’s one good thing about a stimulant. It makes you go, go, go, and when it wears off, you’re exhausted. We met the behavioral specialist in the waiting room and were called into the psychiatrist’s office fairly quickly. The first thing the doctor asked was how the stimulant medication was going. I told her that an hour after I gave it to him, he became very energetic. That it seems as if his emotions are intensified, and I gave her the example of how a child complains of boredom, and how the boy was complaining earlier. She asked if I felt that we were able to function as a family while the boy is unmedicated, and I said, yes absolutely. We were medicating him so he could get an education and have acceptable behavior for school. She said, “then don’t medicate him.” What? Excuse me? She continued, “why don’t we see each other after the first week of school and see how he’s doing in class.” I was still in shock. I stammered, “Well, I was thinking of homeschooling him because he was just not able to handle the school environment at this point.” The psychiatrist said, “Good. I think he would do well with more one on one education time.” I had to lift my jaw off my chest, my mouth had been hanging agape. Saywhatnow? I could not believe how easy this was. How open she was to not using medication, how open she was to homeschooling! I had been prepared for the worst. I was prepared to discontinue seeing her if needs be. I was prepared to be lectured about not giving the boy “the best quality of life” or how unfair it was to withhold a medication that would possibly give him control of himself and a better self esteem and a better education… all those things I had been told by teachers and other professionals. She must have noticed the stunned expression on my face because she went on to say, “Well, obviously the normal ADHD medications are not working for him. If there continues to be problems later on, we can give anti-psychotic medications a try if you’d like. We usually don’t resort to those except in extreme cases because they have many side effects. But lets just see how he develops over the summer.” And she held out her hand, I automatically shook it and gathered up my papers and we left the appointment. I should add that while the psychiatrist was talking I glanced over at the behavioral specialist and she had a shocked expression too.
A footnote: The one day I tried the most recent stimulant medication, we had mixed results, both bad and good. There were no severe side effects, no meltdowns, no mania. I was reaffirmed in our decision to not medicate when my son crawled into bed with me at 3AM. He was unable to sleep. He kicked and wiggled and squirmed until I forcefully made him leave my room at 5:45AM. Daddy just happened to be sleeping on the couch because he had a fever and stomach virus and had laid in bed all Monday. His back was too sore to continue laying in bed. Daddy got up at 6, when his alarm went off for work. He got the boy some chocolate milk and turned on the TV to PBS cartoons; after all, you can lead a kid to bed, but you can’t make them sleep. The boy got 5 hours of sleep last night, and today he has wide, glazy eyes and is behaving wildly. We have not had a sleep issue in months, not since the last dose of stimulant medication. Methinks this is going to be a long day. And yet I’m so relieved that we are done with our trials with medication.