Monday, July 19, 2010

Experiment Update Week One

So here is where we are...

Last week Jacob took half his regular dosage of Metadate, his previously prescribed medication.

He spent all last week with my parents and was alone with them until Wednesday afternoon when I showed up with the other two children.

On Wednesday afternoon he pointed toy guns at me and let me know that he would likely kill me one day and how the day his siblings were born were the worst days of his life. Typical jealousy of suddenly having to share the grandparents or medication withdrawal? I'm thinking a little of both. He was kinda scary.

He did better on Thursday, possibly having gotten used to the fact that we weren't leaving.

I left Friday to spend the weekend with my scrapbooking girls and Jacob was still getting only one pill. I felt really sorry for my mother but when I called her on Saturday she said she thought he was getting used to the half dose because she couldn't really tell a difference between them anymore.

So I brought him home last night.

We have been using a ticket system where he earns one for chores completed without complaint. If he is rude a ticket is removed. He must earn twenty to play Wii for an hour. After two weeks he finally had twenty. I think that hour of Wii motivated him because he was really good last night even though his meds had worn off at 4.

This morning, so far, he hasn't had a pill at all. He fed the cat and the dog without being prompted. He hasn't screamed or made his crazy noises yet. Oh, and did I mention he slept until 8:45? He hasn't done that since, well, ever although he did sleep on the couch because he said it was too scary upstairs by himself so score one for anxiety.

I wanted him to go without any medication an entire week but my father-in-law will be here Thursday morning until next Monday so I anticipate needing to use it during that time. Why yes. The same father-in-law who has never even met Elizabeth, who we have not seen since 2006, and has never felt the need to ever visit decides NOW in the middle of my great experiment that he can't stay away another minute. Of course.

His visit also sets me back a few more days in beginning our gluten-free diet.

Oh yeah. We are going gluten-free. And possibly after that casein-free. This is an experiment after all. We may as well try it all. I'll elaborate more on that later.

So to recap: Jacob has been medication free since about 4ish yesterday. I see no evidence of his usual behaviors in fact he's been down right pleasant. Of course, he's been awake only an hour and his brother and sister aren't here to pester him.

Monday, July 12, 2010

Our Great Summer Experiment


Two months ago Jacob's behavior started getting more erratic, more aggressive, and more annoying.

Three weeks ago we finally met with a psychiatrist who was supposed to help us through all of that. His course of action was to replace his current medications with Concerta.

Two weeks ago Jacob began developing strange fears which quickly evolved into what I can only describe as nightly psychotic episodes.

Four days ago we discontinued use of the so-called "wonder drug".

Today Jacob has slept for the past three nights hearing no noises whatsoever. He's forgotten all about the robbers and killers that were surely waiting right outside the window for him every bit of those two weeks.


$160 for the initial psych appointment
$79 for the follow-up appointment
$26.15 for a 10 day supply of Concerta
$8.65 for 10 Zoloft
$65.00 for the 90-day supply of Concerta I never should have filled

$238.90 to drive my child crazy for two weeks.

But the fact that he is now again "normal", and by normal I mean, inattentive, loud, and a little bit lazy.....well, priceless I guess.

He is currently taking the Metadate again, although my mom just today halved his usual dose and my plan is to have him off of even that one by the time he returns home on Sunday.

The rest of the summer might be really unpleasant, but I think it's something we have to try.

His therapist really does think he has an anxiety disorder. I've always thought so myself, too, even before Medicine Induced Breakdown 2010 occured, so I want him off of the stimulant medicines that Dr. Google assures me can cause anxiety to see if he actually has anxiety.

And then we'll go from there.

I may have him reevaluated. I may not.

It really just depends on what the next few weeks bring.

It makes me so sad to think I gave my kid drugs that completely altered his thinking.

I know the Metadate really helped him and we'll most likely return to it as school starts but for now, he'll be living drug-free.


Thursday, July 08, 2010

I Need a Good Night's Sleep. Or a Banana Daiquiri

So we went on vacation last week.

Against our better judgement.

We went to The Woodlands. Again. A few photos....

You'd think by the looks of that last one that we had a very restful time.

You'd be mistaken.

If you read my previous post, then you already know that we've been having a bit of a rough time with Jacob lately. My mom was still offering to keep him with her when we dropped the animals off at her house, but I just didn't feel that was fair at all. Rotten or not, he's still a member of our family so he should be included in the family vacation. At least that is what I kept telling myself every sleepless night we spent at that serene resort. You see, Jacob didn't sleep the entire time, therefore we didn't sleep the entire time.

I can't believe I thought the attitude and anger was bad, Oh Dear Lawrd, the night terrors and paranoia are enough to make me bang my head clear through the wall. Three nights without sleep makes Mommy (and Daddy) vvveeerrryyy cranky.

The days went well. He was agreeable (mostly) and found friends at the pool (which is big for him). But by nightfall he was a trembling, freaked-out mess. If he heard a noise outside he was sure it was robbers coming to kill us, if the air conditioner kicked on he'd start to cry and beg us to turn it off, he'd cower in a corner picking his palms until they bled begging us, "WHAT IS THAT NOISE?" and there would be no noise.

I'd like to say that we scooped him up and soothed him but after a couple or five hours of that it wears you down. There was much yelling, threatening, time-outs in the bathroom, and a couple of spankings that did no good whatsoever. We gave him melatonin, and another melatonin, sleepytime tea, and an adult Tylenol PM, and that did no good whatsoever either. The kid was convinced we would not survive until morning and as much as it pissed me the hell off because, dammit, that was my vacation! I should've been RESTING!, I felt so sorry for him. He was just so pitiful. Also, he scared the SHIT out of me because, HELLO?, my MIL has schizophrenia, what if it's genetic????

My husband wanted to leave after the first night, but I insisted we stay. I won a free night at that place and scored a pretty awesome deal for the next two so I was cashing in. There were awesome, awesome breakfasts to be eaten, feet to be rubbed, and a poolside bar to enjoy and after seeing my little two waiting patiently in their backwards swimsuits while their parents attempted to caffeine-up, I couldn't do it to them. And did I mention the breakfast. breakfast.

So I did what I had to do to make the days enjoyable for all. I got drunk on banana daiquris at the poolside bar. The drunk removed the grumpy so all was right with the world. At least my world. Mmmmmm......banana daiquris.

He did sleep a little better the next night, but the last night was just awful. I truly expected my husband to get in the car and just leave us there. Remarkably, the little kids slept all week. Thank goodness. I would never want them to witness their brother like that.

So after our Woodlands vacation was over, we traveled north to get the animals and decided to just spend the holiday weekend up there with my parents as it was pouring in our part of the world and dry and sunny in theirs. Jacob (and the other kids) love it there and it's pretty calming for Jacob. Usually. I thought he'd sleep better there since he's used to the sounds and surroundings but if anything he was worse. In fact, as each night passed, he seemed to get worse and worse. There was nothing any of us could do for him and I'm ashamed to say that after a week of it, none of us were anymore understanding. We were all convinced he was either crazy or spoiled and about to punish him into even a short spurt of sleep.

You try going a week without sleep. See how calm and sweet you can be. My mom is the sweetest person alive and I think she seriously considered pitching a tent outside for him. Sadly, my mom developed Shingles on Sunday. I'm sure from the stress of it all.

So fast-forward to yesterday because I got nothing different, same noises, same robbers, same bleeding palms and shaking in a corner, same OMG-WE-NEED-SLEEP panic.

Yesterday, was our follow-up appointment with the psychiatrist who felt it absolutely necessary to switch Jacob's medications yet not at all address the anxiety his therapist sent us there for because, well, all kids are going to be afraid of some things and, he probably feels anxious because of all the bullying, I mean, who wouldn't, let's just change his ADD meds even though you all state he's doing pretty well with the other one.

So the psychiatrist wants to know how the new meds are doing and I tell him, WOW, they didn't work at first, but then they worked okay, and then somewhere in there he started thinking we were all going to be the victims of a bloody massacre, WHAT DO YOU THINK ABOUT THAT???? Well, the psychiatrist thinks that stimulant medications such as those given for ADD can cause anxiety, *shrug*, here's a prescription for Zoloft. Bring 70 more dollars in two weeks and we'll discuss if that works.

And the truly sad thing is that I just nodded, drove to the CVS, and filled that prescription PLUS the one for 90 days worth of Concerta, put my kid and his meds in my mom's car and sent him to spend a week with her because, GEEZ LOUISE, we need some fracking sleep.

It wasn't until this afternoon after listening to my mother recount their sleepless night and her suggestion that maybe, just maybe, the CONCERTA could be causing his fears/paranoia/schizophrenic tendencies, did that even cross my mind.


WTH? Why did that NEVER occur to me? I read the insert that came with the drugs and it didn't say anything about completely losing your mind as the sun set, but Dr. Google and all those other poor souls who experienced similarities set me straight.

Then I did something completely unheard of. I called Jacob and asked himself. When did you start hearing the noises? The day after I took the grey pill. And it also makes him feel floaty.


I told my mom not to give him another Concerta. Ever.

She has a few of his old meds left and will switch to those. I'm keeping him off the Zoloft too until I can determine if it was the medicine causing the anxiety or if he truly has anxiety and THEN I will treat it through his pediatrician. Or another psychiatrist if I can ever get an appointment with one.

I can't believe I didn't trust my kid enough to just KNOW it had to be something. Maybe it's not, but in my heart, I know it is. I took my kid to that place, let them take blood from his arm (which all I have to say about that is...HELL), switched his medications to make him feel all floaty, yelled at him for sharing (loudly) the noises and paranoia he was going through, all the time telling him to trust me, take your medicine, the doctor wouldn't give it to you if it wasn't going to make you feel better.

Yeah. Right.

According to Dr. Google and some other doctors who have specialists of ADD and shit like that next to their internet names, Concerta SHOULD NOT be given to children or adults with known anxiety disorders for just this reason. Now, Jacob has never been diagnosed with anxiety, but I told the psychiatrist specifically at our first appointment that the therapist and I both felt he suffered from it and the main reason I was there was to find a way for him to deal with that.

He's a freaking psychiatrist. Isn't HE supposed to know these things?

I guess this is why they could fit me right in and no other psychiatrist on our insurance could see us until fall.


If it turns out we are right, it's the meds doing this to him, I think I'm going to call that "psychiatrist" and ask for the 400 dollars I've dished out to him so we can have a do over vacation.

I already hear the banana daiquiris calling me.