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Not Improving July 15, 2008

Posted by linnic in behavior, Medication.
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Our summer started out rough, very rough.  I really thought that by now, things would have improved, but they have not.  We are having multiple rages a day, many requiring restraint, some requiring additional meds to get him to calm down.

He had a big rage at the park the other day because he was hungry.  We live 15 minutes from the park, and would eat when we came home, but that didn’t matter.  I had to sit in the backseat holding holding his arms so that he would not take off his seatbelt and attack his brother and sister.  It seems like we are always dealing with a rage, preventing one, or recovering from one.  I am truly exhausted!

We had a med change; an increase in his Concerta from 27 mg to 36 mg.  This does not seem to have helped at all, in fact, I dare say things are slightly worse.  One of the things I hate about med changes is going back in to the Dr.  “So, did the medicine help?” How hard it is to answer!  Sometimes I feel like I literally have to split hairs.  Well our intensity is down slightly, but our frequency and duration are up.  So is that an improvement??

I have been reading some other blogs and support group postings about bipolar kids and see these parents whose child is now 10 or 12 and I just don’t how we are going to make it that long.  My son is getting bigger and much stronger.  Restraining him is increasingly difficult.  His aggression is more serious.  I’m truly at a loss as to what to do.  If we don’t restrain, people get hurt, but we are close to the point where restraint won’t be an option.  Then what?  What can I do to keep everyone safe?  I would love to hear some comments of what parents do.

I must say I truly appreciate all of the comments that I have received.  WordPress does not allow me to respond to individual comments, but please know that I do read them.   It is nice to know that I am not alone in this struggle and that there are parents out there who completely understand!!

What to do June 10, 2008

Posted by linnic in behavior.
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I feel like we have turned back the clocks to last October, a point when my son’s tantrums were at an all time high.  He has been very unstable since summer started.  We have had to give a PRN for behavior and had to do more restraints in the past 2 weeks than in the previous 6 months combined.  He is completely destructive, extremely aggressive, and defiant.  Then he will turn around and be the sweetest kids ever.  We have had to walk on eggshells lately.  Today he damaged the shower doors in my bathroom- will have to replace a piece he broke, he damaged a regular wooden door, tore the window shades down and crumpled them up, and put bruises up and down my legs.  NOTHING seems to be working right now.  We did have a med change and I thought that was helping a bit, but maybe not.  We are on a physical and emotional roller coaster all day long and I am completely exhausted.  I don’t know where to go for help or what to do.

I signed up with a yahoo! group of some other parents of BP kids, but haven’t been accepted just yet.  I am hoping that conversing with other parents of young kids with BP will help.

Spray paint- AGAIN! June 3, 2008

Posted by linnic in behavior.
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I THOUGHT we had gotten rid of all the spray paint in the house, but boy was I wrong!  My son found a lone white can and resprayed his car!  I am so furious with him.  I have now taken the chargers for both cars and locked them up for at least a week.  I am trying to decide if I should make him scrub the car clean again- obviously it did nothing to deter him.  I know he is impulsive and that is part of the ADHD/bipolar, but geez!!

Things this summer have been terrible!  We have had to restrain and punish like crazy and NOTHING seems to work.  He has had everyone in the family in tears; including my parents!  I don’t know what to do with him! I am completely at my witts end.  We called the Dr and she wants us to give him a few days on the new medicine, but I’m not sure how much I can take.  We had 4 hours of bliss today because he went to an anger management group for that time.  I wish it would have been all day long.

We have started a positive reinforcement chart in which he can earn happy/sad faces, and then gets a prize if he has so many of them.  Right now, he is earning a face every 30 minutes and if he gets 10 out of 12 by 1:00 then he gets a prize.  Then in the afternoon/evening if he earns 12/14 he can get a prize.  So far he has earned one prize in the past 6 days.

He had been doing so much better before school let out and now we have fallen down the mountain.

To hospitalize or not? April 26, 2008

Posted by linnic in behavior, Diagnosis, Medication.
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My son had to be hospitalized for the first (God willing the last) time this past October.  I mentioned this in a previous post, but did not go into much detail.

Last October we moved, this was a tough time for every but especially for my son.  His behavior at home and school was at an all time low.  We were restraining multiple times a day.  His episodes would last anywhere from 30 min to over 2-3 hours.  We would be in a restraint for 15 minutes, out for 10, then back into another one.  We were under the care of a psychiatrist and a social worker, but nothing seemed to be helping.

In early October, he was having horrible problems at school.  I am a teacher at the school he was attending and was having to leave my class to help with him.  That afternoon we had him in the principal’s office and were in the 3rd restraint of the day.  He was completely out of control and trying to knock over and throw furniture, hit, kick, and bite the 4 adults in the room.  It reminded me of caged animal.  We were 30 minutes into a restraint and he was only becoming more aggressive.  Our school counselor worked at a crisis center on the weekends and suggested it.   I knew the time had come to seek hospitalization.  What I didn’t know was that the only psychiatric hospital in town did not accept kids under the age of 12.  The closest place that did was 3 1/2 hours away.

We called in a police officer to help us transport him to the crisis center.  He finally calmed when the officer walked into the room.  By the time we were at the crisis center he was calm, but not back to normal.  His speech and thought processing was significantly delayed.  The crisis center set up an appointment with the hospital to admit him, and my father and I drove with him for the 3 1/2 hour trip to the hospital.

Having never admitted someone to a psychiatric hospital, I did not know what it entailed.  We arrived around midnight and they gave us some paperwork to fill out.  Soon, a nurse came down to get him.  We said our goodbyes to him, gave him a hug and kiss and he left.  I did not know that it would be 2 days before I would see him again.

Apparently many parents drop off their child and head home, but there was no way I could leave him in a city 3 1/2 hours away.  We found a hotel and stayed the night.  The next day, my father and I wanted to return to the hospital but were discouraged to do so.  They wanted time to evaluate him and get a handle on the situation.  We set out to find an affordable place to stay for the week they were projecting he would be there.

The week ended up being 5 days, but it was the longest 5 days.  During that time I saw him on 3 different days each time for only 1 hour.  This was my little baby.  he was only 5 years old and I felt that I had sent him to jail.  There were tears every time he went back into the facility.

The hospitalization put everyone through hell.  My son, dad, myself, but also those left back at home…his grandma, sister, brother, and stepdad.  We left there with new medications, a new diagnosis- bipolar mood disorder, and a new appreciation for family.

Was it the right decision to hospitalize him?  I will never know.  It did qualify us for some intensive services through our county’s mental health agency- free services.  His medication, therapy sessions, and even attendant care (someone to sit with him in school or at home to help him control himself) are all paid for.  We now have access to services that we could not have provided for him.  We finally have a doctor with a lot of experience dealing with kids like my son.

I certainly hope that no one reading this will ever have to go through what we went through last October.  I have never felt more alone and like a terrible parent as I did during those 5 days.  I do believe it helped us, even if indirectly.  Things have significantly improved since that time.  Things are far from perfect, but they are better.