putting out fires

Today I had to take Aidan to see the psychiatrist as part of his intake/diagnosis process. He has been upset all day about this appointment, although he’s met the psychiatrist on several occasions, and I explained he’s a talking doctor who doesn’t even touch you, let alone do anything that hurts your body! Aidan was skeptical. I also told him a little bit about why we’re seeing the doctor. Because like his big brothers, sometimes Aidan’s brain gets a little mixed up and isn’t able to concentrate the way we would like it to. So like his brothers, the psychiatrist is going to give Aidan some medicine that helps his brain work better, like a super duper vitamin. Hopefully this will make school seem a teeny bit easier, and will help him concentrate a little more. 

On the way to the psychiatrist’s office, Aidan sat in the back seat like a dejected little inmate on his way to his death sentence. I felt so bad for him. At one point he said quietly “Well, I hope I don’t have to get a shot.” I explained again that the psychiatrist wouldn’t do anything to hurt Aidan, that he is just a talking doctor. With my other kids, I have a sixth sense about what they need at any given moment. I know whether a big hug or a sweet word will calm their fears. Aidan has always been a bit of an enigma to me, sixth sense-wise. I can’t read him like I can read the others. Since he has so much difficulty with processing verbal language, talking to him doesn’t really help him most of the time, it just makes him more irritable. And since he has such severe Sensory Processing Disorder symptoms right now, sometimes if you give him a hug, that sends him into an emotional tailspin. So it’s really hard to know how to comfort my little boy. Which is something I hate more than anything in the world.

As we pulled into the parking lot of the psychiatrist’s office, my cell phone rang. It was the school nurse– big surprise! We almost made it a whole day without a call from her! She said Jonah was in her office. He had gone to the bathroom and was terrified because he had wiped his little tushy and found blood on the toilet paper. She had explained that this can be normal, etc., but he wasn’t buying it from her and needed Mommy to reassure him. So I talked to him and told him the same thing the nurse had. Which made him feel a whole lot better. Another fire put out. Whew.

The psychiatrist went through his whole evaluation process with Aidan and verified that he had ADHD. He gave me instructions about what medication to try, and a prescription. We’ll just see how it goes. I know from experience with Jonah and Ben that this process can take years. Figuring out which medicine and what dose will have the most positive effects with the least side effects can be a very very long and frustrating process. It’s taken us FOUR YEARS of desperation to get Ben and Jonah to the point that they are emotionally and behaviorally stable. Most of the time. 

It’s a strange feeling to know that tomorrow my little Aidan will take a medication for the first time to change the way his brain works. I’m so used to gearing up for that “first try” of meds, watching every breath my child takes to make sure he’s not having an allergic reaction, that he’s not going crazy, that the meds are working, or are they not working…it’s terrifying every single time I put a new med into my child’s mouth. But when you’ve tried absolutely every single thing to help your child before you get to the point of meds, and nothing has made life measurably better for him, Alex and my decision is to try medication. So tomorrow I’ll be walking on a bed of nails, anxious with each step about what Aidan’s next breath might bring.

When we got home, I saw right away that Ella had a rash all over her face. She hadn’t eaten or had anything to drink while we were gone, and nothing unusual had happened today to make her break out. I tried washing her face but that didn’t help. I called the pediatrician to make sure that she wasn’t having an allergic reaction to the antibiotics she started yesterday for her sinus infection. The doctor said the rash was probably not due to the antibiotics, to give her the next dose and just keep an eye on her to see if things got worse. Thanks a lot. 

Then I got to pry playdoh out of all the crevices in the house where Ella had stashed little bits of it while I was on the phone with the pediatrician, trying to solve the Rash Mystery. That girl is quick! She can get playdoh into all sorts of strange areas! She knows how to work fast when Mommy’s not looking. 

At the end of this crazy day, I am thankful for Aidan and Ella’s laughter as they play together in the new tent a friend graciously gave them yesterday. I am thankful for Ben who is out zipping around on his rollerblades with friends. I am thankful for knowing that Jonah has had a hard day, but is now resting in the sanctuary of my bed, watching TV, and that I was able to make all his worries go away. I am so grateful for this joyful chaos that is my life.

As I put Jonah to bed tonight, he mumbled through a mouthful of sleep, “Thank you for the way you take care of me.” Now that, my friends, is why I love being the mom of my four special kids.

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