The long, four-year tunnel finally has a faint light coming from the end! And for the first time since Dude was born, life doesn’t seem so daunting! Why the reprieve? Because we finally have his medication cocktail lined out! And, just as we expected, it’s going to be life changing!
How do we know? How can we tell the meds are working at the right level? Well, it’s simple. I don’t dread picking Dude up from school or spending the weekend with him now. That may sound mean, but it’s true. Remember that Dude’s hyperactivity, impulsivity, and temper almost got him kicked out of daycare when he was just barely 3 years old.
About a month ago, we started medicating him, with 2.5 mg of Adderall. At that dose, a slight difference was noticeable, but Dude was still so impulsive he ran out in front of a car in a parking lot one afternoon. Luckily, the driver spotted him and stopped! We bumped it up to 5 mg, and school reported that he was tired in the morning, but still aggressive. Reluctantly we bumped it up to 7.5 mg and the poor kid was like a zombie! He wasn’t even able to enjoy the fun special day they had at school. He was a mess!! We only gave him that dose once, because he was obviously WAY over-medicated! After seeing Dr. Kristina again, we added some guanfacine to the mix, just 1 mg to start. That was a week ago yesterday. The change has been dramatic!!!
Every single day last week, Dude got a positive report when I picked him up from preschool. Mrs. Jill and Ms. Yvonne reported that his behavior was no worse than any other 4 year old’s. He had a couple of outbursts, but they weren’t severe and he quickly calmed down, with NO VIOLENCE! Yes, you read that right! My kid went a whole week without punching anyone at school! He had a couple tantrums at home, and had to go to his room, but he recovered there much more quickly too!
From a less dramatic, but no less important, perspective, Dude can carry on a conversation without getting lost mid-sentence. He is asking to hold hands in the parking lots now. He’s even reminding his brothers of proper behavior!! In fact, we heard a line in a movie that included the phrase “… get stuck in there with all those weirdos and criminals!” Dude piped up and said to the TV “Do you know that even if they ARE weirdos and criminals, that’s still not nice to say?!” He’s giving up his iPad without fussing when it’s time for bed. He’s playing with friends and brothers better. He’s interested in being more independent in things like getting dressed.
At swim lessons today, a younger boy grabbed a toy Dude was playing with and wouldn’t give it back. I was ready for Dude to start pummeling the little guy, but nope! He just shrugged his shoulders and walked away! Dad and I both noticed that and realized just how significant that was! He got lots of praise for sharing, and letting the other little boy have a turn. When it was time to leave the pool, instead of throwing a massive tantrum that required me to go in after him, he just screamed at the top of his lungs a couple times, then complied! Hey, a couple blood curdling screams is progress, compared to what we normally deal with!!!! Then, when his brother Snix took off running down the hall of the fitness center, Dude told him he wasn’t supposed to run, then was sure to show me how he was walking nicely.
I understand a lot of people will think that this is the way kids are supposed to behave, so it’s no big deal, but if you know anything about ADHD, you’ll understand just how significant “normal” behavior is.