After the whirlwind of a weekend we’ve had, I need to take a moment and recap our psychiatrist visit on Friday. It was interesting to get another doctor’s opinion on everything.
While in the waiting room, filling out paperwork, Colin and Robbie (he was off school that day and had to tag along) wanted a candy from the candy dish. We said okay – just one! – and they each grabbed one. The choices were peppermint and butterscotch. We told both boys to suck on the candy – don’t chew it. In hindsight, it might have been better to just let them chew! A few seconds later, Colin began freaking out. He’d accidentally swallowed his butterscotch candy. Panic ensued. Screaming ensued. Rick kept his cool while I lost mine. He tried to talk him down, got him a cup of water and soothed him.
The beginning of our session with Dr. L was frustrating. I never feel like we’re able to convey the story of our days concisely or accurately when talking to someone new. Colin kept wanting to play with anything but the toys in the office. The doctor seemed very reserved and I almost felt as if he just had no idea what we were talking about at first.
Then something clicked and I suddenly felt like the doctor got it.
He basically suggested a medication overhaul, but asked us where we would like to start. We had no desire to change more than one thing at a time – otherwise, how would we know what was really helping?
We decided that what we really wanted for him first was more sleep. If he’d sleep more, everything else just might fall into place.
Dr. L prescribed clonidine – 0.1mg tablets – and told us to start by breaking this tiny pill in half to see how he does. This is essentially a blood pressure medicine, so I’ll admit this makes me a bit nervous, but the doctor said it’s often used in ADHD kiddos to help calm them in the evening, wind down, etc. (Click the word “clonidine” above to read an interesting article about it’s use.)
Friday and Saturday nights, we gave him 1/2 a pill. We saw no results whatsoever. He was still up until 10 or 11pm, still freaking out about every noise outside (and inside!). Saturday night he even tried to tell us there was a scarecrow outside his window. (Admittedly, whenever he says something like this, I tend to panic a bit, too! What if there’s actually a man standing outside his window??) We checked – no scarecrow.
Last night, we decided to try a whole pill. We also gave it to him earlier, hoping that might help him wind down for the night. Around 6pm, he took the pill. We ate dinner shortly after.
I’m not sure if it was because it was taken on an empty stomach or if a whole pill just hit him that much harder than half a pill, but it definitely worked. He was almost loopy, though. I kept asking him if he felt okay and he’d say yes. Asked him if he was sleepy and he kept saying no. He was moving a lot slower and seemed almost tipsy.
When bedtime came, he only got up once. He slept from about 8:30pm until 5:45am.
We’re going back to the psychiatrist in about a week and a half to discuss how this treatment is going and possibly move on to phase 2 of med changes.
The next phase he suggested was changing from Metadate in the AM and Methylphenidate in the PM with just one Concerta in the AM. He said even Metadate CD (which Colin takes) only lasts for 4-6 hours. Concerta has been shown to last for 10-12 hours because it is a slower release. It’s still the same medicine – Ritalin – so I don’t think he’d react poorly or anything to the change. And having a slower, steadier release of ritalin throughout the day might even out his highs and lows as well.
The last change – and the one we may or may not resort to, depending on how everything else goes – is adding Zoloft or another antidepressant. I honestly think if he’s getting more sleep and has a more steady stream of ritalin througout the day, the meltdowns and depression might clear up on their own. If not.. an antidepressant might be something to consider down the road.
I’m glad we’re making small changes. I get knots in my stomach just thinking about it. I hate trying to explain medication changes to any of my family/friends. Surely they must think we’re just doping our kid up. Do they think we’re crazy to try something off-label on a child? Even if it is FDA approved?
But who do you trust? Who do you listen to? If not the doctors and any/all publications you can get your hands on…who? What can you do? I don’t feel like we have the option to notmedicate him. I feel like we’re just trying to find the best options for him and everyone around him. I need to drown out the noise in my head because a) it’s not fair of me to give voices to those I love when they haven’t actually said anything and b) they really have no idea what we’re going through, for the most part. All Rick and I can do is work together to do the best we can for Colin.
As for the quote in the subject line… I know it’s one that’s been around the block a few times, but I saw it for the first time in a while when I was at Kroger yesterday. (We have one of those big, fancy Krogers that sells everything from steaks to couches!) It made me smile. Life isn’t about waiting for everything to be perfect…it’s about enjoying every imperfect moment. We may not have it all figured out – we may never get it all figured out! – but we’re doing our best to have some fun along the way.