Medicating our children is something that my husband and I take with the greatest caution. Especially when we are looking at a medication that Christian or Olivia would be on long-term. We have only medicated after lengthily discussion and research.

Last November, we made the difficult decision to start Christian on Catapres, hoping to help him with attention and focus at school. We had some luck it. At least, at first. We tweaked the dosage and form of delivery, but the meds were making him unpredictably moody. We lost him to inconsolable bouts of tears that would last for a half-hour and the only thing we could do to help Christian was to quietly hold him while he cried it out. However, at a lower dose in the evenings, the Catapres was proving helpful as a fall-asleep aide. That still holds true. Every evening at dinner, I slip him his Catapres and he is willing to go to bed by 9pm. (On nights when he hasn’t received the meds, he is still (literally) bouncing off the walls at midnight.) This medication has become an important part of our daily routine.

We were asked to reconsider medication to help Christian with focus and attention at school again this year. This school year has been a great struggle for him, his teachers, and his assistants. We were cautious, especially knowing how many changes we were dealing with at the start of this school year, but each day that passed his reports coming home would sting my heart. Christian could not focus or attend to much of anything. He would hit and kick and spit. He was eloping (running away) from classrooms and the playground. He was having issues that we hadn’t heard about for two years. It was time to help him. To re-research medications that could possibly help him have positive days at school.

I was scared and Brian was hesitant, but since we are both former elementary school teachers, we tried to remind ourselves how tremendously important it was for our ADHD students to have their medications before they started school each day. Without their meds, the day was nearly impossible. Was this same thing true for Christian? By not medicating him, were we missing an important part of assisting him???

So, we prayed and researched and talked to other ASD parents. We came to the conclusion that we would try a new med with Christian. We knew which one we wanted to try. I emailed our doctor (so that she had the time to research the medication) and set up an appointment for the following week.

When Christian and I visited Dr. S, she was totally onboard. We chose the med, Risperidone, in liquid form. We would start Christian at a very low dose and slowly work our way up the dosing ladder. Christian only takes the Risperidone in the morning and continues to take the Catapres with his supper every evening. We also added a nasal spray (once in the morning and once at night) for the seasonal allergies that we thought he had been dealing with along with the new pet allergies that he seemed to be suffering from.

Our verdict — the nasal spray seems to be reducing congestion and also Christian’s need for constant head pressure. He was always seeking out things to forcibly push his forehead/nose onto or seeking out the adults around him to squeeze the sides of his head, bridge of his nose, forehead, etc. This is happening less and less. Wonderful! However, there is a weird side effect that we have noticed with Christian and this medication — lack of sleep when he has an evening dose. Yeah. With the evening dose, he is up for the day by 2am. This mama is too tired to do that daily or every other day. We have just figured out this strange connection and will no longer be giving the evening dose.

As for the Risperidone — it took a few days to figure out the best delivery. In the coveted root beer. Straight into the mouth. Sprayed onto his morning toast. Since the dose is SO small and I know it will not be left behind, I have decided on the last one. It’s working. (For now.) We started Christian at a super low dose and stayed on that for 5 days. It didn’t seem to be having much effect, so I bumped it up to the next dosage that our doctor thought that we should try. One day later, we had an AWESOME report come home about Christian’s day. The next day was great, too. And then yesterday was fantastic. (You can read about it here.) Today was divine. We are excited about the way this med has started. We pray that it will continue to be a benefit in Christian’s school life!

 

You may not realize what a HUGE deal this is, but Christian asked for a doctor on Monday evening.  On his own.  Using words.  And then proceeded to poke around at his neck and ears.

Awesome.

Not awesome that he wasn’t feeling well, but SO AWESOME that HE asked to go to the appropriate person who could help him even though he has been scared to go there in the past.  (He’s not a fan of shots.  Who can blame him?)

Tuesday, Christian and I went to the doctor.  (Yeah, Mamas apparently get strep, too. 😦  Yay for meds! )  He wasn’t overly happy about going when it was finally time for our appointment, but he came.  And listened fantastically well!  And anticipated what was going to happen next.  (Like when he saw the doctor with the “ear light” and he took off his headphones so that she could look before we even had to ask him, too! 😀 )  If I hadn’t been SO sick at the time, I would have totally happy danced right there in the examining room!!!  [Feel free to envision that. 😉 ]

And guess what, he needed antibiotics, and we opted for oral meds instead of the usual injection, and Christian is taking the meds amazingly.  [insert a look of happy shock here]  He just needs a chocolate chaser, but really, who doesn’t after taking liquid antibiotics???

I am SO proud of my boy.  Way to go, Christian!!! 🙂

Our basement has become the “dumping ground” this week.  After a record number of clean-ups on Tuesday and an over-snuggly day on Wednesday, we decided that Christian needed to see the doctor to rule out another UTI.  Thankfully (because of a 1/2-day of school on Thurs.), I was able to schedule an appointment for right after school.  Christian’s turned into a pro at peeing into the “hat” at the office.  🙂  Unfortunately, the fast results read negative, however, because he was showing symptoms similar to the last 2 times that he had a UTI, the doc decided to shoot him up with the antibiotic anyway.  Christian’s a trooper.  He was NOT happy about the shots, but gave the nurses high-fives as we left the office.  What a guy.  😉 

Too bad the antibiotic hasn’t been slowing down the bathroom issue.  Friday was at least 10 basement clean-ups (Christian didn’t have school).  Saturday — 5.  Today (so far) — 2.  Sigh.  I guess the number is decreasing, but I’d rather have it at a complete zero.  You know?!?

Liv has been testing Christian’s patience this week.  Constantly being right in the midst of what he is working on.  Wanting to do what he’s doing as soon as he starts doing it even if it’s something that she normally doesn’t care to do.  I guess that’s what little sisters do, huh???  So, Liv has been acting like a typical 3-year-old little sister and Christian is pretty frustrated with her right now…

I’ve been working on a new communication board for Christian.  Since he’s reading SO well and his PECS are kind of bulky to carry around, I printed off a bunch of words, stuck them to magnetic strips, and put them on a small magnetic dry erase board.  He hasn’t taken to it yet, but its new.  He does like the magnetic words, though, because he knows them and can read them.  I figure with the board being dry erase, too, we can just write a word on it if we don’t have it on a magnet.  I’m hoping it will be slick.  🙂  eventually…

Saturday — we braved the Agricultural Expo at the local fairgrounds.  Liv loves it.  They have a petting zoo.  🙂  Christian tolerates it, as long as he is riding in the wagon (which he is quickly outgrowing, especially if Olivia insists on riding in it with him).  It went fine.  Although, it’s really hard to maneuver a wagon in a crowded building.

Oh, and Christian decided to wake-up for the day at 3:30 (and, unfortunately, had only gone to bed around 11pm).  Thankfully, after the Ag Expo, Brian and Liv went back to take a nap and Christian was willing to lay down with me on the couch.  We were both sleeping within 5 minutes.  It’s the first time in a LONG time that he has taken a nap.  I’m SO glad that he did!  🙂

After supper last night, we headed over to my in-law’s church where they were having a Spring Blast.  They had events going on all day, but we were trying to catch the tail end of a concert and then the fireworks.  The concert was FANTASTIC!!!  The band Koine was playing.  Wow!  The awesomest (I know, NOT a real word) thing that happened was just watching Christian.  He immediately started dancing.  His dancing.  And he closed his eyes.  You could tell that he was just ABSORBING the music.  It was absolutely beautiful!  🙂  (I have to say that my eyes teared up a couple of times.)  He still did try (and succeed a few times) in running away and around and even once up front by the band eyeing up a banjo, but it was just so incredible to watch how the music of the hymns brought to life just moved him!  🙂

Christian and Olivia also LOVED the fireworks.  🙂  I could hear Christian say, “Fireworks!  I love!”  🙂  It was a really good show. 

Christian was pretty wound up, though, when we got home.  Between the music, fireworks, and his nap, he wasn’t able to fall asleep until after 11pm, but he stayed asleep through the night, so I have no complaints! 😉

What a week…

… Christian has a UTI.  A bad one and the start of an ear infection.  😦

He had his antibiotic shot.  😦  But should be feeling better by Noon tomorrow.  🙂  Which is great because we have Christmas with Brian’s family tomorrow night.

Now to see what our weather does…

Hmm…is Christian sick?  That is the question this morning. 😦

If I had to venture a guess, I would say he has a UTI.  Urgency.  Frequent trips to the bathroom without the ability to produce consistently.  Refusal to drink anything.  (Perhaps hurting when he pees?)  Hiding under the covers on his bed.  Wanting to snuggle instead of constantly running.  Feeling quite warm.  Etc.

Thankfully, I was able to schedule a doctor’s appointment for later in the day.  I hope that we will be able to find out what’s wrong before we leave the office.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Perhaps she will be able to tell me, too, whether or not the ankle that has been bothering me for a week most likely has a stress fracture.  I’m pretty sure it is.  Bummer.  😦

This week has been one of those fast-moving “never a dull moment” kind of weeks.  Christian has been home all week (except for Tuesday, and even then I was called to pick him up early from school).  I don’t think that he has minded getting to hang out in his favorite jammies all day though.  😉  He is starting to move around a little more quickly and we are starting to hear cycles of his “happy screaming” come back to life, but he is not quite back to normal.  (And this I can tell for sure, because he is napping right now, which never happens when he is perfectly healthy.)

 However, since Christian’s illness is not contagious, we have been trying to have therapy yesterday and today.  So, yesterday afternoon PS was here having therapy with Christian in the basement, where Olivia had joined them.  (Really, I think Olivia is under the impression that the therapists foremost job is to play with her. 😉 )  Christian and Liv were bouncing around in the ballpit and pretending to be stuck in one of the corners.  Well, Christian was actually stuck with Liv laying on top of him, so PS grabbed Olivia by the hands to pick her up off of him when she started crying hysterically.  This was not her whiny cry.  This was not her attention-getting cry.  This was her real “I’m hurt!” cry.  Poor PS was trying to console an inconsolable Olivia. I came down and brought Livs back upstairs and sat her down on my lap.  Anytime she moved her arm, even the tiniest little bit, she would scream out in pain and start crying again.

Instinctually, my gut said, “dislocated elbow.”  Christian had 3 or 4 dislocated elbows when he was between the ages of 2-3.  It seemed like this was exactly was Liv had going on, but there was a bit of doubt in my mind just because she had never had this problem before.  After trying to console her for 2+ hours, I decided to take her into the urgent care once AT & LW got here to do therapy with Christian.  Liv was still crying as I got her into the car, cried on the way over to the clinic, cried getting out of the car…and then we were sitting in the registration area when all of the sudden she turned to me and said, “Mommy, my arm not hurt anymore.”  She was bending and twisting her arm again with a smile on her face.  So, we just talked to the nurse, who confirmed my initial thought of it being a dislocated elbow” and told me that if we didn’t wait to see the doctor, she wouldn’t charge us for the visit.  We left with a couple more stickers than what we came with.  🙂

Today, Christian is doing well, but still has a pretty significant cough.  And Olivia has a belly ache, threw-up once, and has taken three naps already (and it is only 1pm).  Poor Livs, is just not doing well.  😦  I’m hoping that all of the extra sleep will be what she needs to help her tummy feel better!

I have been more exhausted than normal and thinking that my ears may have some fluid inside, but am doing OK.  Looking forward to having everybody feeling better again. 🙂  (And hopefully soon…)

Christian is actually sick now.  😦

Sunday morning, he woke-up with a fever at 4:45 (stupid daylight’s savings changes).  (He felt hot, although we never got his temp to see how “hot” he was.)  He was napping by 8am.  (Um, totally NOT normal!!!)  Brian stayed home with him while Olivia and I went to LARB’s baptism.  (Brian was also a godfather.)  I guess Christian laid around, not wanting to eat or drink until 1pm-ish, at which point he then ate some toast and pretzels and drank some water.  When I got home, he curled up on me and slept some more and snuggled on the couch.  I started cancelling therapy, school, and the bus for Monday.  Boom — 7pm — Christian got up and ran downstairs.  He was running and playing with the DVD player.  Yep, his fever had broken.  He seemed back to normal to me…

…but because the fever had lasted so late into the evening, I kept him home on Monday.  He seemed perfectly fine all day.  I cancelled the bus on Tuesday to keep an eye on his cough for an extra hour, which subsided after he was awake for a 1/2-hour, so I took him to school.  Miss JB called me at 1pm and told me that Christian looked like he was going to fall asleep on the table and asked if I wanted to pick him up a little early since he had 4 hours of therapy after school.  So, I picked him up 30-minutes early.  They told me that he had a really good day, but that he was very quiet (whispering answers/noises) and inactive.  SO not him!  He didn’t nap (of course) once we got home, but was extremely quiet and not moving at the speed-of-light like normal.  He fought the sleep as long as he could, but fell asleep around 6:15 while AB was here.  So tired.  (And since he had fallen asleep SO early, he woke at 11:45 and was up until 4am.  Then he napped until 6 before he was up for the day.)

I was starting to put the clues together by this time — quiet, slow-moving Christian is NOT a healthy Christian — so what was wrong???  I was thinking ears — ear infection(s) because he was SO quiet.  (I know that when I had my ear infection in the last year that my voice kind of echoed in my head when I talked, so maybe his voice was too loud for him??)  And then I was concerned about his cough.  It just didn’t sound good.

So, I kept him home today.  I finally got a 2pm appointment with the nurse practitioner.  She was very good and did his whole work-up on the floor with us because that was where Christian was the most comfortable.  (Although, he definitely did NOT want to be at the doctor’s office!!)  Yep, fluid in his ears, his glands were swollen, and he had a wheeze in his breathing.  Sigh.  Poor guy.  (At least she said that he is not contagious!!!)  She wanted him on antibiotics and since I canNOT get him to take oral meds that left us the only option of an antibiotic injection. 

Christian is surprisingly strong.  It took 3 nurses and myself wrestling him (on the floor, so that he wouldn’t fall off of the table) to give him the shot.  The nurses didn’t really want to do it, but I knew that was my only option to get him the full dose of medicine.  (I would have been wearing it otherwise.  Seriously.)

So, Christian will be home again tomorrow.  Perhaps with some therapy (as he is not contagious) depending on how tired he is.  I’m going to play Friday by ear.  We’ll see.  I just hope that he sleeps better tonight! 😉