Monday, March 11, 2013

Decisions Made

Music Man is now on medication.  Yup.  I said I wouldn't do it unless I felt it was necessary.  I put up every possible barrier I could think of to make sure I didn't have to do something to change my children.  But now, both of my twins are medicated.

Ballerina has been on Focalin for some time now.  To say that it solves all of her problems wouldn't be accurate.  But it does attenuate so many of her impulses which allows her to focus and learn.  We recently increased her Focalin dose (doubling it, in effect, but that's only because you can only increase it by 5mg increments and she was only receiving 5mg/day).  I really don't directly see the effect of the Focalin.  She only receives it when she has school (benefit of a steroid -- when it's in her system, it works but you don't need to maintain a level so she can have "time off").  But her teacher is telling me that she is noticing more attentive behavior, especially while on the carpet.  She comes out of school generally happy and I see the progress in the work she brings home as well as the way she handles her homework.  I'm still walking her through it all, but I'm supposed to be.  She's getting the idea as the year has been progressing.

Music Man on the other hand, didn't have an ADHD diagnosis.  Until this year, I really wasn't hearing much about his attention problems.  But this school year, I am daily getting reports that he is "out of location".  He is requiring almost one-on-one in order to get him to complete a task.  He's become more and more self-willed with more and more anxieties that have been coming to light.  When we saw the developmental specialist in October, she had brought up the possibility of prescribing Strattera, and non-steroid ADHD medication that also seems to help children with anxieties.  But at the time, I didn't think this was necessary.  I didn't think that his attention issues were that severe, and his anxieties were more of a concern but I didn't want to give him an ADHD medication if this wasn't much of a concern. I didn't realize what was going on.

For the last 4 months, I've been watching my son struggle.  I've been seeing him perseverate on the things that cause him anxiety (specifically, elevators).  I've been seeing the reports coming home from school every day that elopement has become an issue once again (this resolved before the winter).  I'm watching him struggle every day.  It was so bad one day about a month ago.....I was in the school doing some volunteer work (I'm there every Tuesday) and I hear him screaming.  His screaming is so loud that he literally empties the office because they are looking to see what is wrong with this child.  The problem was that he had to walk past an elevator to get from his classroom to the music classroom (and he has to pass this elevator several times a week to get to specials).  After trying for several minutes, they actually took him outside to get between the two doors so they could avoid having him walk past the elevator.  They did make him successfully walk past the elevator to return to the classroom and it was a one-time thing (once they knew the severity of the problem, they started implementing strategies), but this was a slap in the face to me, showing me how bad things really are.  It was this that made me realize that we need to do something.

So, on Tuesday evening, Music Man began Strattera.  We have now increased the dose from 10 to 18 mg as we are stepping our way up to 40mg.  We were told that we shouldn't see much of an effect for 4-6 weeks.  Every morning, Music Man has a couple of spoonfuls of applesauce.  What he doesn't know is that inside the applesauce is Strattera powder that I get from opening the capsules.  His teacher told me late last week that he seemed to be a little more manageable in terms of his anxieties, but they weren't seeing any changes with the attention issues.  But his teacher is familiar with Strattera and that it takes time to reach full effectiveness.

So, now we have 2 children on very different medication.  One of the things that I'm terrified of is mixing up which child gets which medication.  They take it at the same time, but in very different ways.  And, even opened up, there is an appearance difference between the two.  Ballerina has her Focalin mixed with chocolate pudding.  Music Man has his mixed with applesauce.  Like I said....very different.  But they get their medicine early in the day, before I've had anything to ensure I'm awake (i.e. coffee).  Hopefully that will never happen.

Living life through chemistry.....that's us!

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