Tag Archives: Health

ADHD Means Never Having To Say You’re Sorry

Doodicus, who is now 10, was diagnosed with ADHD when he was six. One of the most prominent symptoms of ADHD is impulse control.

Lacking impulse control means he has problems thinking clearly through the consequences to his actions, that he does… well, impulsively.

For his birthday, we gave him a Nintendo 3DS. Some may think it’s an elaborate gift, but electronic games are life-savers for us when we have to sit for somewhere for an extended period of time (two- three-hour car drives; dinner with in-laws; doctor appointments, etc.) because it’s the only thing that can keep him quietly distracted. For everyone involved, something like this gaming system can keep our sanity levels on an even keel. If you have an ADD or ADHD child, you know what I’m saying is true.

He’s been begging us to allow him to bring it to show to his friends at the daycare. I have repeatedly stood my ground and said no. In the past, he has actually snuck things to daycare and either lost them or had them damaged, so as far as I’m concerned, he’s not allowed to bring anything electronic with him to share.

However, this week, which he is off from school for winter vacation, he asked over and over again if he could bring his 3DS to show his friends before everyone was back in school. Tuesday night I finally caved with only one seemingly easy condition he would have to meet: exceptional behavior for two days straight. That meant no whining, no complaining, no crying, no fits of rages, no poor housekeeping, no arguing. His BEST behavior is what I was asking for.

And then I found out that of the four 3DS games he has received since his birthday, he had already “lost” two (I actually had one in my possession that I had found left carelessly on the floor a couple of days before). An additional condition was announced. He’d have to find the remaining game cartridge. You’d think I’d asked for the moon with the wailing and gnashing of teeth, albeit in a much more subdued manner considering our FIRST condition. As an incentive, Sparring Partner told him if he found the cartridge today (Wednesday), he could bring it as soon as Thursday to show his friends. With this new fire lit under his ass, Doodicus produced the “lost” cartridge within 10 minutes (it was under the couch).

Finally! With our reluctant blessings, he set aside what he was bringing to daycare tomorrow (Thursday) and got ready for bed. That’s when everything turned sour. I can’t say what he had done, but it was a breach of the housekeeping rules we have and it was something he had done already this morning; no more than 12 hours after my original condition of being on his BEST behavior for 48 hours. Eight of those twelve were spent asleep. So basically within an hour of waking up, he had blown it and then tried to hide it.

The deal of bringing his 3DS to daycare was completely off the table for both Thursday and/or Friday. In other words, we were back to square one and my original rule: no electronics to daycare.

We tried to explain how inability to show responsibility and consideration for the rules of our home is what blew it for him, but instead of listening and learning, all he could do was pound his head into his pillow and demand we give him a DIFFERENT punishment – an alternative. Not a word of apology or remorse was said. Why? Let’s look back at that whole impulse control thing. Normally, we avoid doing something wrong because we are able to think through the consequences to our actions. Doodicus does not…wait, no: He is INCAPABLE of thinking this way. He performs an action without a moment to consider the consequences. This then means that he feels no need to apologize or feel bad about his actions because in his head he’s done nothing wrong (if he thought he had or was going to do something wrong, he probably wouldn’t do it. Make sense?). Instead he just considers us cruel, unfair, and more and more commonly expressed in fits of rage, that we hate him.

The impulse control issues is probably one of the hardest things we deal with when it comes to the ADHD. It contributes to 90% of the day-to-day issues. When my husband is blowing his stack over something Doodicus has done, I have to remind him over and over again that our son just doesn’t have that edit button; that filter in his brain.

This all happened within an hour of me writing this out. In fact, I can hear Doodicus in his room muttering to himself in anger and disappointment (not with himself, but with us). Tomorrow we’ll have to be on high-alert for smuggled items in pockets, socks, shoes, underwear, coat, all of which he’s done before. Tomorrow I will hope that he’s learned something from all of this. And tomorrow I will worry that he may never.

Ambivalence is My Middle Name

It’s funny how I don’t feel like updating here anymore. Every day several times a day I think, “Hey! That would make for a great blog post!” and then? Seriously. I haven’t written a great blog post since never. Speaking of which, I started blogging August 2005.

I have no idea why I brought that up since it’s October somethingorother. Which also reminds me, I won’t be participating in NaBloMo or whatever it’s called.

Did I just hear a collective sigh of relief?

My daughter still hasn’t pooped in the potty but she’s not holding it for five days at a stretch, either. She keeps telling me “next time”. In an uncharactheristic move, she also pissed her pants while sitting on my glider-rocker. As I was stripping her down for a quick belly-button-on-down bath, I asked why she did it.

“It was an accident, Mommy! I’m sorry.” …. dramatic pause … I love you.”

I bought a couple tuttu skirts from Target thinking they’d be a novelty. However, Aitch has become so enamoured with them, I went and bought a couple more. She has worn one at least every day now. When it’s cooler, she’ll succumb to the addition of leggings, but it’s like trying to wrestle a cat into a pillowcase.

I went back for a three-month follow-up appointment with my PA. I need a refill of the paxil and ambien. The thing is is that I didn’t really want a refill of the ambien because I was anticipating my evenings just so I could TAKE the ambien. He said as long as I’m able to get up in the morning and feel rested that I’m taking it as I should. And then we talked more about my depression. Actually he asked why I thought I was depressed. I told him I wasn’t really sure, but that maybe it was the miscarriages and infertility or the pregnancy with Aitch that I was sure was going to end with a dead baby and then the loss of my job after ten years and then the cancer. Oh, and let’s not forget my son’s ADHD which makes him do things that make me so angry at everyone and everything that I’m sure my fury will result in one of those rare cases of spontaneous combustion and the only thing that will be left will be a pair of hopefully fabulous shoes and a singe mark on the ceiling.

I’m sorry. What was the question again?

He suggested, as many of you did, I seek counseling. I told him I would think about it, because you see I am still in denial. Enough so I didn’t pick up my refill of paxil and ambien. At least not yet.

In Sanity

I finally returned to see my PA for some pharmaceutical enlightenment. The good news is I apparently lost a couple of pounds since my visit a month ago. The bad news is “I believe that once you reach 40, you become the person you will end up being,” per the PA.

Which sounds totally lame now but there’s quite a kernel of truth there. I responded with a succinct, “Well, that sucks.”

Based on my bloodwork there’s nothing to indicate why I feel BLAH most days, and he didn’t think it was the other possibility, depression. “Do YOU think you’re depressed?”

Isn’t that a trick question? If I answer yes, doesn’t that make me sound like I’m just in it for the drugs and attention? If I answer no, does that mean I’m in denial? I answered with, “I have no idea.”

He asked if I cry. Well, yeah, I cry. Don’t we all? I told him I cried when I read about Leiby, the 8 year old killed in his zero-crime neighborhood. I told him I normally avoid the news because all that stuff makes me sad. The world just seems to be so pathetic. He asked what my husband thought? I said he thinks I am a bitch most days. I go from making pleasantries to a ‘roid-raged cunt in seconds because he didn’t rinse out the dish rag or pick up his socks. I told him that some days I can’t stand being around my son when he’s having a particularly crap ADHD day. Do I sleep at night, he also asked. I fall asleep instantly, but I’ll wake up 3-4 times a night tossing and turning.

Apparently that is all enough to make me fall under “Depression”. However, he hesitated putting that in my chart because he said that will haunt me and my insurance forever. Instead, he said he might just put insomnia. I guess I don’t know what he did eventually put on that sheet. *sigh*

For the “insomnia” (which I would never really consider that insomnia compared to some people I know who sleep 2, maybe 3, hours a night), he prescribed Ambien. For the “depression”, we’re starting with 20mg of Paxil. He gave me a script for 90 days but I’m to return in 30, sooner if necessary.

We wrapped up our exam by discussing my weight, which was my initial concern along with the exhaustion. As he held open the door for me to exit the room, he bluntly told me to quit obsessing about my weight. When I walked past him, he leaned towards me and whispered, “You are NOT fat.” I crushed on him just a bit right then and there.

The First Step

I finally made an appointment to see someone about my mind-numbing exhaustion and what seems to be my endless weight-gain (but I really don’t know about that last part since I refuse to step on our scale for fear the sight of the resulting combination of numbers will send me back to my bed clutching a handful of tissues).

Random note: scheduling an appointment with a PA is so much easier and quicker than trying to get in to see an M.D. I called at 12:30 and had the appointment scheduled for 2:30 – the same afternoon.

When one of the reasons to schedule an appointment to see a professional includes “unexplained weight gain”, the last thing I wanted to do was step on the scale. Unfortunately it was the first thing the nurse had me do. I almost asked if I could turn around so I wouldn’t see the final results, but I sucked it up. I was in the middle of telling her that she’ll need to move the big scale over one more notch as she slid the little one quickly to the far right…and stopped just shy of the end.

Good thing I hadn’t yet eaten lunch.

My PA came in and I told him that I wanted to have my thyroid checked as well as general blood work-up (cholesterol, lipids, iron, etc., etc.,) since I was already there. In addition to asking about symptoms, he asked if I still had my menses. For a split second I wasn’t sure what he even had said but was able to respond without preceding it with, “Uh, wha….? OH! You mean my period!”

Before he left the exam room to get the order for the lab, he informed me that fatigue is usually caused by one of two things, thyroid disease or depression.

I responded deadpan, “I know. I’m here to rule out the thyroid.”

Unhealthy Thoughts

Upon seeing a new post from me today you might assume it’s one about Father’s Day or our 14th wedding anniversary (which will be tomorrow). Maybe an addendum to multi-installment posts from last year at this time, which were about my solo trip to Boston to meet up with several bloggers?

But it’s none of those. What else could I possible add to what I’ve said in the past about Father’s Day or our anniversary? And my East Coast trip will always be a wonderful adventure.

Instead, I need to talk about how this summer has started off as a rather rude slap to the face. I’ve always looked forward to this time of the year as a vacation, regardless of how much I was working. Evenings were spent on the deck sipping lemonade (which may or may not have been infused with vodka) and I would spend the weekdays hoping the weekends were going to be sunny and hot so I could go to the pool, water park or the lake.

Last year, after years of putting it on my wish list for the family, we finally bought an annual membership to one of the small private lakes nearby. We spent several evenings last year on the sandy shores…actually more often in the shallows of the lake trying to keep Aitch from walking in over head with fearless abandon; and I remember thinking how this year it would be even more relaxing with the kids just a little older. I could sit in a chair and soak up the sun’s rays, acquiring a healthy, golden glow that had come so easily in the past. I loved seeing the tan lines of flip-flops on my feet symbolizing freedom, vacation, warmth, and care-free days.

Even though I’ve had nine months to get use to the idea that my summers will never be the same, it’s been a harder-than-expected adjustment now that the temperature has finally warmed up. I almost can forget the seriousness of being diagnosed with malignant melanoma until someone asks about my scar. When I tell them what it’s from, they get a pitying look on their face and almost always have a story about how their neighbor, uncle, co-worker, or cousin died from it. It’s then that I’m reminded with a thud that I can’t just walk out into the yard to pull weeds or water my new trees or mow the grass without hesitation, without preparation, without protection.

We installed an umbrella on the riding mower and I bought a full-coverage, long-sleeved swim top. Cans of sunscreen are tucked away by the exterior doors, garage, and in my van, just an arm’s-length away when I need them. I’ve bought a few hats for those times I expect to be in the sun for an extended period of time: parades, picnics, farmers market, antique fairs… and of course, the lake.

Even though I feel I’m pretty prepared, I’m not enjoying the first summer-like days of the season very much. When I got back from a late afternoon trip to the lake with the kids, I noticed faint lines on my feet from my flip-flops. What made me feel so happy before, now makes me nervous. I wore sunscreen and stood in the shade as much as I could while staying within close range of Aitch who still is fearless in the water, and we were out there for less than an hour. And last night, Sparring Partner and I set up the pool, and each time I wasn’t immediately needed to help SP with something, I stood in the shade of the house envious of my husband’s lack of stinky and sticky sunscreen and obvious sock tan-lines.

I hope that this first summer will be all I need to adjust to this lifestyle change. I also hope that I’ll get at least 40 more in case it isn’t.

Imbalanced

My mom was in and out of the hospital¬† this winter and with me the second closest in distance to her and my dad, I’ve been heavily involved in updating the rest of the family as to her current health. I am lucky that my brother, the only son, married a wonderful lady who has also been very hands-on throughout the ordeal. She and my brother live the closest to my parents, only a couple miles up the highway on their own farm so they check on my parents to make sure they have groceries and are eating and especially that my mother is taking her medications.

I went with my mom to see her family doctor who runs the tiny clinic in the town near the farm. He’s run the clinic for a few years now and they are very lucky to have him. The rubberbanding my mom was doing, the repeated hospital admissions, was most like due to her unchecked depression. The problem was cyclical:

  • Depressed
  • Not eating or keeping hydrated
  • Sepsis set in
  • Admission
  • Sepsis treated (but not the depression)
  • Discharged
  • Depressed about the admission
  • Not eating/hydrating
  • Readmission
  • Treated
  • Discharged
  • Depressed…

This last time she was taken to the emergency department at the hospital in the city I live instead of the very tiny critical access hospital in the above admissions. When I caught up with the ER doc, her analysis, which was backed up by lab work, indicated that all physically was fine with my mom. The infection from the sepsis was gone; blood pressure and thyroid levels good; but psychologically? She was “dead”. She wouldn’t look at the doctor and she wouldn’t answer any questions. It was following this appointment that we met up with the family doctor I mentioned previously.

If we didn’t get the symptoms of depression under control, she would continue the cyclical pattern already well established. He had a wonderful way of describing the depression to my mother, who I recall telling me many years to “get over it” when I was diagnosed with mild depression.

Diabetes is a chemical imbalance in the pancreas. Renal failure is a chemical imbalance in the kidneys. Depression is a chemical imbalance in the brain. It’s a disease of a major organ and shouldn’t be stigmatized, even though he knows it is, especially when one lives in a community made up of mostly farmers and their wives who never saw a need for a secondary education, at least in the peer group of my parents.

We reviewed her meds, one by one, discontinuing a couple and adding a couple in the hope that once her depression becomes manageable, her health (and memory, which has been declining in a frightfully rapid manner) would level out. In fact, he told us that one of the first signs of depression is memory loss or the appearance of senility especially in a geriatric patient. I have to believe this as my mom’s memory and recollection has improved, but I definitely see the early symptoms of dementia. I have to admit that I’m so glad Aitch is old enough to self-entertain herself on the days my mom comes up to spend time with her. In other words, she will tell grandma that her diaper needs to be changed instead of me coming home and finding her diaper heavy with several hours of urine.

I see a little back-sliding in the improvements that had been made after her hospital admissions due to her rapidly deteriorating dental health and related mounting expenses. A couple weeks ago, one of her front teeth broke. According to the dentist, it had failed due to fatigue. An odd, but fitting description. My mom was faced with making the decision to get a partial bridge or a permanent one (a cost difference of a couple thousand dollars) when even more problems were found. Unfortunately, antidepressants can accelerate dental decay.

The decline of my mother’s health has been gradual but steady.¬† I have a couple of siblings who see her very rarely as they live overseas and while I think it’s hard for me to see my mom like that, I can’t imagine what it’s like for them to see her age so drastically and radically between the time they saw her last and now.

Six Months Later and I’m Right Back Where I Started

Yesterday was my six month appointment with my dermatologist. It was scheduled as a mole check, not necessarily a follow up to my surgery on the malignant melanoma in October. The scar has improved in appearance, but it still has the ability to make my friends pull back in horror and grimace when I show them. The edges are still rather purplish-red prompting the doc to suggest laser work to break down those blood vessels and lighten the scar’s edges if things don’t improve on their own in another three months. Due to lack of insurance – or a job – I’ll be stuck with red, angry margins for a while.

He then did a quick mole-check, literally scanning me from head to toe. He asked if I had any moles that I was concerned about and I showed him three, two of which he agreed should be biopsied, while the third was a wild card and he would biopsy anyway and eliminate it from future worries altogether. A fourth mole, a freckle really, on the top of my foot he marked with his pen to be sliced.

The nurse numbed the four areas quickly and efficiently and then he removed each and dropped them in their respective vials to be sent off to the lab. I should have the results by the end of next week. Then again, maybe not.

I was glad to get rid of the mole on my inner thigh (the one that looks the most suspicious). That fucker was growing a singular hair of bristle brush quality. I remember after my pregnancy with Aitch, once I could finally see that part of me again, the hair had sprouted to mythical proportions. I’m fairly certain a little boy named Jack was eyeballing it as a worthy challenge.

And now I wait again and hope for good news. My doctor was especially pleased when I told him that my swimsuit this year is one that covers me neck to hip and shoulders to forearm. A rashguard designed specifically for women with a built-in shelf-bra. Now I can stop taking those contortionist lessons that I had scheduled to help me apply sunscreen to my back with my feet.