Tuesday, March 3, 2009

A Brand New Day

It's day six on the ADHD medicine for Nathan, and I am pleased to report that he is doing splendidly! I've been keeping a journal of his ups and downs so that I can show it to his pediatrician at the end of the 30 day trial period. My mom suggested doing this, and for the 328 billionth time in my life, I'm so glad I took her advice! It's helped me to keep track of his behavior, and to be more aware of his progress because I know that I need to write it all down. I tend to notice things better when I know it's going on a list. (Thank you OCD, thank you.)

The first day, we did not see much of a change in terms of his behavior, but we expected it to take a few days for the medication to build up in his system. Day two brought more focus, less distractability and less superfluous movement, but his personality was completely intact and was not at all "zombie-like" or depressed.

Day three was a Saturday, and he had great success working on a school project for about two hours. Not only did he focus on the work at hand, he was not distracted by the normal sounds of the household going on around him. Trevor was cooking dinner and I was playing with Grace rather loudly, and he still sat there and completed his work. The old Nathan would have taken any opportunity to leap off the chair and into the fray until he had escalated it to inappropriate levels of jubilant yelling and laughing. That was always part of his problem...not knowing when to stop. We would lecture, discipline, encourage, threaten and talk until we were blue in the face and he still was unable (we thought unwilling) to calm down. I can see now that his exuberance was linked to his inability to control impulsive behavior.

He was able to sit still during dinner without fidgeting (any more than a normal 71/2 year old, that is!) and jumping up and down in his seat. This has been an ongoing battle with him for years. He could not sit still to save his life, and now we are able to have interesting conversations at dinner without constantly telling him to sit down and eat!

His teachers have noticed a marked improvement in his behavior and focus as well. They have been sending me updates by email that have been a Godsend for me. I was so worried about this medication and it's potential side effects, and it was such a blessing to know that his teachers were looking out for him and keeping us informed.

The very best part of the medication is that we haven't lost Nathan. He is still the sweet, intelligent, kind child that I know and love and his personality is completely intact. He still wants to run around and play with Grace, but it's not out of control. He still laughs loudly and appreciatively at things only a seven year old finds amusing, and he still asks me crazy questions and makes insanely astute observations about the world around him. He's still Nathan, just a little more under control. To be honest, he seems happier to me as though he is finally comfortable with himself. He's proud that he can do his best at school.

The other day he said, "I'm not always thinking about the next thing I'm gonna do." This was huge for him, because that was the very heart of his focus issue. His brain was always flitting to and fro to the next thing he wanted to do, no matter how much he was enjoying the current activity. Now he is able to appreciate what he is doing and do his best.

The only side effect that we have noticed so far is difficulty falling asleep, and even this seems to be easing up a bit. He's always been a good sleeper, and instead of sleeping 10 hours a night, he's sleeping 8.5. Not too much of a change, but enough to make me keep track of his waking and sleeping schedule. We give him his pill around 5:45am to try and offset the sleeplessness a bit, and I think that as his body gets used to the medicine this side effect will lessen.

The thirty days aren't nearly finished yet, and we still have a journey ahead of us but I am greatly encouraged by what we've seen so far.

16 comments:

luvmy4sons said...

So glad to hear that all is going well. Might have to e-mail you about this drug...Hmmm...

Mocha with Linda said...

So so excited to read the encouraging news! I know YOU are bound to be sleeping better!

Heather C said...

What an awesome report! What an awesome God! What an awesome KID! :) I'm so glad you're seeing changes for the better... and that Nathan is still Nathan. That has to make you feel better about the whole thing, right? :) I'll keep praying!

fraizerbaz said...

I am glad that things have worked out positively for you and your son. I'm afraid that I had a completely different experience all together.

About a year ago, my then five year-old daughter started getting written up (for "not listening and following the rules") every other day at preschool. The director of the preschool warned me that if things didn't improve, my little girl would no longer be able to stay on a full-time basis (which is not feasible, as I work full-time). I couldn't understand this as she is so sweet and cooperative at home. After an evaluation by her pediatrician, which included completing a questionnaire to be completed by her preschool teacher and by myself, he started her on 10 mg Ritalin extended release. I read everything I could find about ADHD drugs to make sure this was the right decision.

The "write-ups" at preschool stopped (they were fully aware that she had been prescribed medication) and I thought this very well could be the "magic bullet" that she needed in order to do well in school.

Her appetite actually improved, and she had no sleep issues, however, she started biting her fingers. Soon, started to have fits of rage in the evenings, as she came off the medication, which is totally unlike her sweet normal self. I decided to take her off the meds. Her preschool was not aware of this, and soon she started kindergarten. Her kindergarten teacher (from day one) has done nothing but tell me how much she enjoys having my daughter in her class. She might occasionally blurt out the answers, instead of waiting to be called on, but other than that, there have been no complaints. I now believe that the whole problem stemmed from the way that the preschool teacher had been handling my daughter, and my daughter had been reacting to her, as a result. (Most child psychologists will tell you that negative reinforcement is not the always the best practice.)

I realize that every situation is unique, and what's right for my child may not be right for the next child. However, I feel that I did the right thing by taking her off those meds. My little girl's pediatrician did not try to admonish me. He did not try to persuade me into changing her dosage, or trying a different medication all together. He simply accepted my decision, and things have been fine for everyone ever since.

Lisa said...

I'm so glad to hear it's going well. I'm glad you posted the day to day details. It's helpful:)

The Small Scribbler said...

Keep that journal going. Glad to hear you are seeing positive results.

Kate

Leah in Iowa said...

So glad to read this update and to hear things are going so well for Nathan. Just keep watching and taking notes.

(Sorry I haven't been by in a few days. I will email you privately when I can about my life last week. SO glad it's over!)

TammieFay said...

Rejoicing with you over Nathan's progress! Thank you, Lord!

Buffi said...

I am SO glad to read this Xandra. Thank you for sharing it with us!! God is SO good and SO faithful! We're continuing to lift you guys up!!! Keep us posted!
Blessings,
Buffi

Mrs.Naz@BecomingMe said...

I'm so glad to read that it has been going well.

Melissa said...

So glad to hear that you are having positive results for your and Nathan's sake. will continue to keep him in our prayers.

Beth@Not a Bow in Sight said...

What a great mommy you are- your children were designed uniquely for you and your gifts :)

Andrea said...

Happy for a good report! I can't imagine how hard this would be...keep on keepin' on!

Jill said...

Hey good friend, I am praying for Nathan, and have been since you told us about this new place of life. You are an awesome mom, and I love how you care for your kids. Journaling is so great when it comes to these things....I want to encorage you to write a verse in the journal every few days so that when you are looking back on it and reading it, you see how it fed your soul and kept your mind stayed on Him. Have a great day....I am missing some Gracie stories!!!!!!!!!!!

Crystal said...

That's great news! I'm glad he's doing well! I know it eases your mind! I'll keep you all in my prayers!

Alana said...

This is so wonderful to read! I love that even he can tell that it is helping him. So glad and thankful for you, Xandra!!