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Wednesday, April 29, 2009

How Do You Teach a Child to Swallow a Pill?

We had an appointment with our children's pediatrician today. I say we because this was the "should we medicate our child for school" appointment. I know it needs to be done. He is having so much trouble focusing in school. His behavior is effecting the other children. I could see this coming a while ago I waited until I had no other choice. But did I wait to long?

I sat there and listened to the doctor explain the usual side effects. One is weight loss. My son barely weighs enough to be restrained by a seatbelt instead of the five-point harness. When he gets taller his pants fall down because he doesn't gain weight. The medication suppresses appetite. He barely eats enough now. I will somehow not freak out as he stumbles when his pants fall off his cute little body.

Then we get to the How to take this medication part of the discussion. It has to be taken whole. It is an extended release medication (NASA helped develop the time release technology). So we have to teach him to swallow a pill whole. I remember when I was in first grade and had to learn to take pills. It was horrible. I hated it! I still have memories of gagging on those cinnamon candy cake decorations. I still can't eat those because of this memory, All I could think about was gagging on them, now I had to teach my child to swallow pills and I was scared.

So we bought Tic Tac's and M&M's for him to practice on. After he played outside this evening he was ready to try. I showed him how to do it with a Tic Tac first, they were smaller. Wouldn't you know it he swallowed it, no gagging, on his first try. He was so excited. Then he tried a M&M and again no problem. He was so proud of himself and was excited that he could start taking his new medicine in the morning.

He wants to have better days at school. He wants to please his teacher with good behavior. He wants to come home with more green (good) days. He wants this medication to work. I want this medication to work.

Still I have been reading the information sheet on the meds over and over again. I try not to focus on the side effects but I can't help but read them over and over again. They may include dry mouth, upset stomach, nausea, diarrhea, appetite loss, trouble sleeping, dizziness, headaches, swelling of hands or feet, blurred vision, and uncontrollable muscle movements. Some of these are more rare than others and I start to question myself for asking him to be prescribed something to help him focus.

Then I tell myself I am his mother, his mommy. I am doing this because I love him. I want him to succeed at school. I want him to have friends, I want him to have fun at school. He needs to enjoy recess by playing with his friends instead of making up classwork he couldn't finish because he couldn't focus.

We both learned something today. He learned to take a pill and I learned he wants to improve his days at school. Tomorrow we both take a step closer to better days at school, all with the swallowing of one little pill.

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