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Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Why I am thankful for medication

I don't write a whole lot here about medication.  This is maybe because it's not something I ever wanted to be part of Janey's life.  If I had never had Janey, never been witness to her life, I'd be someone who, although I'd be too polite to say so, would judge people a little for giving their kids medication for what I'd call in my mind "non-medical problems"  So if you have had that thought, don't feel bad about it.

Tonight, though, I realized anew how very, very thankful I am to medication.  Let me tell you about the evening.  Tony took Freddy to a college fair at his school.  Before he left, he asked me if I wanted him to give Janey her evening medication.  I said no, because I figured he'd be back fairly early and could do it then, and I thought she'd be okay.  Well, the minute Tony left, Janey started crying.  It wasn't severe crying at first, and I mistakenly tried talking to my parents on the phone a little.  That set her off more, and the crying turned into screaming.  I got off the phone, but the damage was done.  Janey spent an hour screaming.  By this, I mean hysterical screaming, screaming like you'd hear if someone was being tortured or in agony of the worst type.  I tried every trick I had to calm her down---food, a bath, a backrub, calm talking, snuggling, TV---but none worked, not a single little bit.  She continued to scream so loudly that my eyes were ringing.  I tried looking right in her eyes and saying "You need to calm down.  You need to stop screaming"  She tried, poor girl, she tried.  She tried to take a deep breath, but her hysteria was such that she just couldn't.

Finally, I gave in.  I don't usually prepare her medication, but I know how to.  We crush pills in a mortar and pestle and dissolve them in water, as Janey can't swallow pills.  I got them ready.  Janey never, ever resists her medication.  In fact, she often asks for it.  Tonight, even though I'm not usually the one to give it to her and even though she was so upset, she took it eagerly.  I'm sure it doesn't taste great, but she just has a drink afterward.

Janey calmed down within minutes of taking the medication.  I am pretty sure there's a little bit of a placebo effect there, as I don't think it works that fast, but in a way, it's not really a placebo effect.  She knows the medication is going to work.  It does.  She knows she will be able to get control, to calm down, and anticipating that lets her use her own rudimentary self-soothing skills along with the help I can offer to calm down some even before the medication kicks in.  Once it fully kicked in, she very happily snuggled with me, played with her iPad some, sang to herself and then within 45 minutes, fell asleep.

I said at the start of this how I would have judged people for giving their kids medication for "non-medical problems".  Well, I think anyone who had seen Janey tonight would see that how she was acting was in a lot of ways a medical problem.  She can't function when she is hysterical.  She can't talk, she can't eat, she can barely breath well.  She can't certainly learn anything, or go anyplace, or enjoy life a single bit.  The medication that allows her to get through the days---still not easily, but to be able to learn a little, talk a little, enjoy food and playing and going places at times---is necessary.  It's completely necessary for her.  I think something clicked in me tonight.  The little part of me that still hated to give her medication, that still thought that I should be able to make her happier on my own, was converted. I am thankful for the medication, as I am thankful for anything that truly helps my girl.


Sabrina Steyling said...

In your situation, yes, the medications have their place, and you should not feel bad about giving them to Janey. She does need them, and no one should judge you for that because they're not living your life. YOU are. And you've got to do what's best for your child.

Sophie's Trains said...

It sounds like the meds are doing what they're intended to do- which is amazing. Who knows why she screams. Maybe it's panic attacks (I have them they're frightening and I'm able to rationalize them to myself usually- stil they leave me shaken up for hours afterwards). Maybe it's another mental condition. You are responsible, you weigh your options but from what you described she seems distressed by the screaming herself. I am so happy she (and you!) have found relief. I think it's safe to say that the screaming fits are not "behavioural" so it makes sense to look beyond behaviourist approaches to deal with them.