About 2 weeks ago we started having problems with D's AD/HD medication. He wasn't just having trouble sleeping; the poor kid wasn't sleeping, period. He went about 3 days with no sleep and little to eat. Both of these issues are side effects of the meds he was on. Although he has been on these meds successfully since February, he is going through a growth spurt, he is 12 with all of the hormones and other crap happening, and the side effects just stopped being tolerable.
He missed a day of school just so that he could stay home and get some sleep (as soon as I didn't give him his meds he fell asleep and didn't want to wake up for a whole day). We then took him to the doctor and told him what was going on. He immediately gave us a new prescription and told us to start with the new meds that night.
Here's the tough part. The old meds were stimulants. They worked within 1/2 hour of entering his body. This new one, Strattera is not a stimulant and requires the meds to build up in his body over time. TIME. That's the big issue. We now have a child off of his active meds. It is amazing how quickly you forget what it was like before the meds. He's bouncing off the walls, flailing his arms about, shouting, being defiant, argumentative, hungry and sleepy. We have spent the last several days basically letting him sleep as much as he needs and letting him eat (within reason) whenever he wants. It's great to see his physical self come back to normal.
It is another thing altogether to see the mental and emotional state. Now, don't get me wrong. D is by no means "severe" with his AD/HD. He is actually quite mild and for that I am thankful. But the difference is deafening. I took him and a friend to see Harry Potter last night. I know...I must have a death wish. A kid freshly off his meds sitting in a noisy theater for 2 1/2 hours (not including the 15 minutes of previews we saw). But I really felt like he deserved something fun. He has been trying so hard to self-control even though that is the deficit in his AD/HD. He really wants to act like a 12 year old and he is giving it everything he's got. So I took him.
Just getting him to stop playing football and get into the car was a challenge. When we got to the theaters and had to stand in the dreaded line for 1/2 hour before they let us into the theater (to then wait another 1/2 hour before the movie started). D and his buddy went into the arcade for a bit. Now this is an interesting situation because although the noisy crowded arcade is the perfect place for him to be noisy and a bit crazy, the noise and craziness are more than he can stand (too much stimulation). So while his buddy is in there playing games, he goes back and forth between the arcade and where I'm standing in line about 10 times. Somewhere along the line he finds a plastic bag and bats it around in the air for about 20 minutes as he is going back and forth. Finally we get into the theater and the torture begins (for him, not me). The seats are bouncy which means he MUST bounce constantly. I sent him to the snack line for popcorn and a drink. That works for a while. He can sit still while he's eating. But one can only eat so much popcorn.
The movie starts and within 15 minutes he's leaning on my shoulder, sighing, fidgeting and wanting to either fall asleep or go home. It's going to be a long evening.
I'll make the long story short. In the end we both stuck it out together. The movie was really good and the action filled parts kept his attention long enough that he could get through the other parts. However the louder the sound got, the more uncomfortable he got. He just doesn't like to be over stimulated. Ironic, isn't it? D did a great job, stuck it out, used all the self-control he could muster. It helped that we were in the theater with about 300 kids between the ages of 5 and 10 who were talking and cheering and generally being noisy so D could comment on stuff and talk to me a little without me having to shush him.
The meds could possibly take another week or so to build up in his system (if they even work for him). Thanksgiving will be interesting. But that is a whole other story. Kind of like the perfect storm of bad situations all coming together...another post...another day.
Deep breath. Families go through these changes in meds all the time with their AD/HD kids. We're not alone. He's doing a great job. He's a
good fantastic kid. I'm off to the store to buy my wares for Thanksgiving...and a few extra bottles of wine.