Saturday, March 21, 2015

Help! My Child Won't Take Her Medicine!

As I write this post I am sitting downstairs in my dining room listening to my daughter alternate between sobbing and screaming at the top of her lungs from her bedroom. I am both furious with her and worried for her, and also heartbroken at this situation. I'm trying my hardest to stay calm in front of her and not break down, but it is so hard I have to just walk away many times. Maybe some of you can relate, and might have some advice. Maybe if you read this you've experience something similar and will know that you're not the only one out there. Here's the deal:

Currently my 9 year old daughter has pneumonia. She hadn't really been feeling great for a few weeks (which has contributed to me not doing any blogging whatsoever), and I chalked it up to allergies and a little bit of drama. Total mom fail. I finally took her to the doctor on Tuesday, and he said pneumonia. We got three different prescriptions and instructions to limit activity for a while. Scary, sure. But manageable, right? We hit the pharmacy, got some froyo and headed home. That's where it got tricky.

Medicine time. Ugh. Most parents hate this I'm sure. Seems like most kids out there are not big fans of taking medicine. Mine never has been. It's always a fight. But this time was just......crazy. I don't know what else to call it. So, she did Albuterol just fine. She did the Prednisolone liquid with some drama, but got it down. Next came the Amoxicillin. Oh. My. Gosh. In all of my research the last few days, I read that most kids actually like the taste of Amoxicillin! Mine is not one of those kids. Go figure. She started out pretty normal She smelled it, made a face, smelled it again, started whining. Dragged out the process for about half an hour. Finally swallowed half a dose, then promptly threw it right back up. Crap. This is going to be harder than I thought. Now she's starting to panic. Shes shaking and crying, and breathing really hard and fast. Sobbing that she just can't do it. We tried explaining to her that she had to take it if she wanted to get better. That it would only taste bad for a second. She could wash it down with ice cream if she wanted. We went round and round like this for about an hour. Finally the hubs made a deal with her. If she took her medicine, he'd take a shot of Jack Daniels (at this point, I could have used that shot, and I don't really drink). For some crazy reason this worked, and with a little more prodding, she finally got the dreaded medicine down. And hubs took his shot like a champ, by the way. :)  This whole process took a couple of hours, and by the end we were all drained. I thought the worst was over and it would be easier from there on out. Ha! Silly me....

Look at this sweet face! How could anything this adorable cause this much chaos? I love her so much it hurts.

Wednesday morning comes. Here we go again. Just as bad this time. Worse actually. She threw up the first attempt-again. So what is the best way to handle a child that just refuses to take medicine? I tried patience and sympathy. I tried tough love. I tried bribery. I tried threats. I tried disguising the medicine with every kind of food or beverage I could think of. She's totally panicking again. I don't think I've ever had a panic attack in my lifetime, but I imagine this is what it looks like. So eventually I gave up. Later that afternoon, and again that evening I tried again, with the same result each time. It was a very long day filled with chaos and screams, and tears from both of us. So we decided to call the doctor and get a new prescription, this time for pills. All afternoon we practiced swallowing things. We started with nerds, then moved on to M&Ms. Then we tried making small balls with American cheese, figuring we could wrap the pills in the cheese to make them easier to swallow. I was optimistic! Silly me.....

The pills were a no go as well. We broke them in half, wrapped them in cheese, wrapped them in fruit roll ups, crushed them up in ice cream, nothing worked. I tried crushing it up in the syrup on her pancakes Thursday morning. I tried mixing it with chocolate milk. More tears, more crazy anxiety. She had cried so much at this point she looked like she had two black eyes. And now not only am I worried about her being sick, I'm also worried about this anxiety. It doesn't seem normal. She says she'd rather have a shot than take the medicine, in any form. Back to the doctor. The doctors all seem reluctant to give the shots unless it absolutely the only option. Apparently it's super painful, and you have to go in three days in a row to get them. This time the doctor told us about a chewable option of a different antibiotic. He gave us a sample in the office so we could make sure she would take it before he wrote the prescription. Guess what? Success! Hallelujah! She had teary eyes, and made it clear it did not taste good, but she swallowed it right there in the office with minimal drama. Score! I was so relieved finally! Silly me....

We had barely made it out of the parking lot before she started getting hysterical again. I told myself if she could chew the medicine in the office she could do it at home, and went ahead and drove to CVS to fill the script. To add more drama to an already rough situation, No CVS in town had this particular medicine in stock. We were at the store for 45 minutes while they checked. I had to get this poor sick girl home, so we let it go for the day.

Friday morning I spent hours on the phone with just about every pharmacy that our insurance will cover. No one has this elusive medicine! GRR, So annoying. Back to the doctor's office, thinking this time it will be the needle. Instead, they were gracious enough to give us some samples of the chewables. Awesome! This is good. These are only a once a day thing. Surely we can handle it after all this. Silly me....

I think Friday night's meltdown may have been the worst since this started. We went in circles for hours. There were calm moments in the midst of the madness, but then they would turn back to the crazy and we would start all over again. "Unhinged" is a word a friend of mine used on facebook, and it's the most accurate I can think of. Friday night was not a good night y'all. There aren't words.

So, today is Saturday, and I didn't push the issue today. She just took her other meds and rested. Hubs and I were, however, able to sneak half a crushed up tablet into her sweet and sour sauce without her knowing! Don't tell, K? A small triumph, but I'll take it, considering the couple of moments I merely mentioned the words "sick" or "medicine", she totally freaked out. I am so tired, and so sad, and so worried, and so lost. I just don't know how to help this kid right now. I feel so helpless. So she's still upstairs, hopefully calming herself down, and I am trying to pull myself together by writing all this out.

Here's my thing. There's stubbornly not wanting to take medicine and making a big dramatic moment out of it, and then there's my child. In my eyes, this is not normal behavior. It scares me. It seems like an anxiety issue that she can't control, rather than a power struggle with a child trying to assert their independence. How do you tell the difference? Seems like most people I know feel like, I'm the parent, I should just be able to make her take the medicine for crying out loud! Trust me, I wish I could. It seems like most people feel like I'm being too soft on her, or that I'm being a pushover and letting her manipulate me. Listen, my daughter is such a good kid. She is so sweet, and wickedly smart. But she can be difficult. She's very strong willed and stubborn, and she does push her boundaries. Quite often in fact. But this feels different to me. This feels like she can't control it. She doesn't want this to happen. She just wants to be well and go about her normal everyday life. And I feel like punishments and negativity are only making things worse in this situation. As moms (and dads), when our kids hurt, we hurt just as bad, if not worse. We just want them to be happy and healthy, and when they're not it breaks our hearts. So, what causes this issue in children, and what can I, as a parent, do to help her?

Getting so personal about my family on this blog is kind of uncomfortable for me. It's scary to put this kind of thing out there. No judgements please. I'm just hoping some of you may have some advice, or stories of your own to share.  If you do, I'd love to hear them! Or maybe you've had a similar experience, and reading this will help you to know that you're not in it alone. Either way, sometimes it just feels better to write things down and share them. I'll keep you updated on our situation. We gotta get this girl well! Now I'm headed upstairs to hug and love on that precious little one.

xo, Summer

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xo, Summer