Sunday, May 22, 2011

The Good... the Bad... the Ugly

Let's start with THE UGLY.... here is what happens when a student driver goes straight instead of turning right:

Mike and Blake were waiting in the left turn lane to turn into China One for dinner. A student driver (around age 22) was pulling out of the parking lot. He was supposed to turn right... but instead floored it, and ran straight into Mike and B :( That yellow line in the pic USED to be on the passenger side of the van!


The van was totalled.


Mike and Blake were not seriously hurt. They both had whiplash and Mike had banged his head pretty hard, but neither one had to be hospitalized.... just some good pain meds and a day off work/ school.

And another good:

Mike got a new truck :) It's a 1999 Dodge Ram and he LOVES it.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

The journey continues...

Yesterday Blake was home from school sick. I stayed home with him. He chose to not take his meds in the morning (when he finally woke up at 11:00).

We went out to dinner with Mike's mom and brother and Blake was a pain in the booty! On the way home he was even worse. I asked him how he felt about his behavior and he said, "Not good".

We talked about his decision to not take his meds and what a difference it makes. You would think the fact that HE can feel a difference when he takes them would be enough for him to continue taking them. Oh well. I can't force the kid.

On another note... he has now decided he wants to grow his hair out to donate it to Locks of Love. I don't know which is more exciting to him... donating his hair, or making me crazy by growing it long. LOL :)

Friday, April 22, 2011

Going strong...

I have lost count of which week we are on in the Concerta journey (I originally put the "ADHD journey" and then realized, we've been on that particular journey for 11 years now). I think it's the end of week 5??

I received another email from Blake's teacher: (I have to say that it irritates me to NO END that I cannot copy and paste things into blogger).

Mrs. A,
I have seen great improvements in Blake. he is more focused and more on task within the classroom. I no longer see outbursts or attention seeking behaviors. I am also seeing a different way that others look at him. He did draw negative attention to himself with his behaviors and since that has ended, that has made him more approachable for students. He is still participating and answering questions in class. I have not seen a negative effect in terms of regression or a lack of participation from him. When he has ideas or comments to add to the class he does so in a respectful manner. I have also had a few subs since our last email and his name is not ending up on the disruptive or disrespectful list of students that I get from the sub. Let me know if there is anything else I can do for you, overall he is doing great.

Once again... confirmation that we made the right decision.

Once again... confirmation that we have our Blake back.

We had our last med. eval on Tuesday. They left his dosage where it is and we will go back in 3 months for another review. Blake lost 4 pounds in the past 2 weeks. Not good :( We have to monitor his weight and if he has days where he doesn't want to eat, we have to get him some Ensure or Pediasure drinks. He was excited when she said to give him a "shake"... until we told him she didn't mean McDonald's shake and that it certainly wouldn't taste as good. LOL!

Blake has also had trouble sleeping since he started the Concerta. We send him to bed at 8:30 and at midnight he is still awake. UGH. Mike knows someone who takes melatonin to help with sleeping... so we discussed it with the doc. He said it won't hurt, but that it doesn't help everyone. So we figured we'd give it a try. He has been taking it just a few days, but it seems to be helping (he's no longer awake when I head up to bed). Maybe getting enough sleep will make him less moody/ crabby in the afternoon/ evenings.

So... we'll continue to hike this path and see where it takes us next.

Friday, April 8, 2011

Concerta week 3

Blake's been on the concerta now for 3 weeks. We went at the beginning of this week for a med eval and the doc upped his dose. He said it'll take some time to get everything balanced out. I sent B's teacher a note asking how he's been doing at school. This is the email I got back from him: I have seen a huge improvement in his behavior. he is less impulsive and is getting his work done in class. He is also not as distracted in the classroom. In fact as I am typing this he is working on task while music is playing within the classroom. Usually when this was done earlier in the year he would be very distracted and could not concentrate. I will keep tabs on him and look for any side effects other wise he is doing great. I will also ask specials teachers to see if they are noticing improvements Made me cry. Had Blake read it and he agreed with it and is SO proud of himself for staying on task. I am so glad we made this decision.

Thursday, March 31, 2011

Week 2

Week 2 is going pretty good. Blake has good moments and bad moments. He's been getting more aggitated this week... I'm thinking it's because his body has adjusted to the dosage of meds he's on and it needs to increase a bit. He has MORE good moments than bad... which is good :) His thoughts are more congruent now, and he pays attention to details more. Today when we were driving, he kept asking about things he saw along the road... and when we were trying to remember the date, he said, "Well, we went to the Capitol on Tuesday and the sticker said the date was the 29th, so today has to be the 31st" He wouldn't have been able to focus on that thought long enough to establish the date before. He is becoming likeable again. I know that is horrible to say.... but we've been dealing with his attitude for so long, and it has gotten worse. Now he is tolerable... and even when we can tell the meds are wearing off in the evenings, he is still tolerable :) In all honesty... I like it :) Go back to the doc on Monday I think it is... find out what our next steps are. Mike said he's heard that melatonin will help with Blake's restlessness at night... we'll talk to the doc about that and see what he has to say. Hoping I can make it to the appt. Have to call for a sub for the afterschool program and go from there :) Time will tell... but so far we are pleased with the results and feel like this was the right decision for Blake.

Friday, March 25, 2011

Concerta week 1

Imagine you are in a room full of people. A LOT of people. They are all chattering and laughing and talking. There is a radio on the room blaring music. There is a TV in the room that is blaring white noise. You are in the center of the room with all of that noise. Try to think. To focus. To remember the name of the person you were just introduced to.

Now, imagine the noise suddenly and abruptly stops. Silence. Echoes of the chaos and static ring in your head. Silence.

We talked to Blake's pediatrician about putting him on medication for ADHD. Doc said that in Blake's head, the above scenario is how he lives every minute of every day. He can't think or focus. He doesn't have the ability to *care* about anything, because there is too much chaos in his head. He said that the medication will take that chaos away, and Blake will be able to think.
The pediatrician told us what to expect while Blake's body adjusts to the medication. He may lose weight because his apptetite may be decreased. He said Blake is by no means overweight, but at 118 pounds he can lose a few pounds and it won't be a problem. If he continues to lose weight, then Doc will take him off the meds.

Other symptoms we may notice: overly clingy, weepy, introverted, trouble sleeping, asking a ton of questions, "couch potato-ish". Doc said that all of these things will balance out in 2-3 months when we get the right dosage of meds in him and his body gets used it.

Blake started taking Concerta this week. He started taking it on Monday morning. Came home from school Monday afternoon saying he already noticed a difference and that he felt calmer at school. Placebo effect?

On Wednesday we both had a snow day and he spent a great deal of the day at a friend's house.

On Thursday, another snow day for Blake. Shelley stayed home with him. She said she noticed an improvement in his behavior. He helped shovel the walk for a full 45 minutes without whining or stopping, did 3 (?) loads of laundry, made a necklace for Great Gramma (who we are going to visit next week), and did anything she asked him to do without argument or fuss. When I got home Thursday night, he was bouncing off the walls. The doc said that would happen.

I talked to him today when he got home from school. He said he feels like he can focus better, feels calmer, and can stay on task easier. He said the only time he's not on task is at recess when you aren't supposed to be on task :)

I have noticed that he is less argumentative. If we tell him no, he accepts that. He is able to stop his thoughts....he was telling me something that he had already told me and I stopped him and said, "Yes, you told me that yesterday." and he said, "Oh, oh yeah." and moved on to something else. This is VERY different from before. Before, he would just continue talking about what he had started talking about.

I think this was a good decision that we should have made a long time ago.

Friday, March 11, 2011

ADHD? Fact or fiction?

This past summer, we took Blake for counseling and he was diagnosed with ADHD. The counselor said his was a mild case and she thought behavior modification would be helpful. We had to change some of the ways we talked to Blake, and some of our expectations of him. It worked... for a while.

Now his behaviors are escalating. He is an almost constant disruption at school, has been kicked out of "specials" such as gym and music because he can't control himself. Hasn't been turning in his work. Can't stay on task. Tries to manipulate the classroom rules. Lies. Doesn't have any close friends. Has behaviors that are "strange" and cause peers to shy away from him.

So what do we do? We are working on filling out ADHD questionnaires. Have an appointment with the pediatrician to discuss medication. As much as I hate thinking of medicating him.... I hate thinking of him having SO much difficulty in his life even more. I hate thinking of him not having a best friend... being shunned because he acts "weird".... not being able to focus on schoolwork enough to complete it, or complete it well. He brought home a rough draft of a paper he was supposed to have written last trimester (he didn't finish it and therefore got a bad grade in writing). He was having a rough day the day he did bring it home. He wrote his final draft and he changed a few things, a lot of things really.... the "final" draft was messier and more disjointed than the rough draft was. *sigh*

We have tried the behavior modification. Have tried watching his diet. Have tried getting him involved in things to help him burn off energy. But it's not working anymore. I am frustrated with him on a daily basis. He is VERY overwhelming, and when he's having a bad day is even MORE overwhelming (which I never thought possible until I lived it).

Do I want a bunch of advice on ADHD? Nope. Do I want to hear "you should do this...."? Nope. I was support. Unconiditional support that my decision is what is best for my child at this time.

I know some people think ADHD doesn't exist and that there are other ways around it. I challenge them to live with Blake for a few months. LIVE with him... 24/7... deal with his behaviors and his meltdowns and his attitude and his feelings of not being good enough. See if you can figure out why mac n cheese for dinner yesterday threw him off, but mac n cheese for dinner last week was nothing major. Why he will act like a perfect gentleman one day, and an out of control bull-in-a-china shop the next.

The speech therapist at my school gave us an analogy of children with austism. I think it works well with this situation as well. Children with autism are just like other children. They can do the same things. They just need to be programmed differently. Just like if you compare a Mac and a PC. They are both computers... they can both DO the same things... give the same outcomes.... but they have very different operating systems and have to be programmed in different ways.

Our job is to learn Blake's programming language so that we can teach him how to be successful. Will meds help? I have no idea. But if they do, I am going to give praise. If they don't... at least we tried. I need to try, for Blake's sake.