Health care is a basic human right, not a privilege. For some reason, we’ve allowed ourselves as Americans to be fooled into accepting that one must be blessed with “means” to actuate appropriate health care. As a nation we have failed to realize that our health care system is a barometer of our society’s value for human life.

-Me

Monday, October 16, 2006

The Blahs and Other Such Things

Maybe it is the weather. Maybe it is the time of year. Maybe it is because I live in cold, humdrum Minnesota where being in the comfortable climate median is more of a fantasy rather than a reality that ever plays itself out. Regardless of the whyevers and whatevers of my blahs, I’ve decided I most certainly have them. Seriously. I ate a chocolate chip cookie dough blizzard yesterday. I reined in the sugars pretty well but woke up this morning at 211. I corrected and metered in at 379 one hour later. WTF? So what, is my body releasing cortisol to make my emotions feel better? Some sort of steroidal anesthetic? Hmmmph. I don’t care WHY or WHAT is causing this but it is PISSING ME RIGHT THE **** OFF.

That being said, I really had a tough week last week. Sandis had his first Kindergarten conferences last Thursday. It did not go so well. Sandis’s teacher wonders if I have ever thought about having Sandis checked for “hyperactivity disorder”. GRRRRRR….

Truth be told, Sandis visited with a psychologist when he was three to be evaluated for the aforementioned disorder. He was handed, on a silver platter no less (not really but it felt that way) with a provisional ADHD diagnosis. Provisional meaning that it was a diagnosis that pended upon his behavior as he grew older. At age 3, it really is very hard to pin ANY child down long enough to effectively evaluate them for something like ADHD.

Following this provisional diagnosis I met with Sandis’s psychologist several times (myself only) learning different parenting techniques to use with Sandis to help him manage his energetic and impulsive tendencies. Over the past few years, Sandis’s behavior has improved exponentially. He is such a smart, happy, well-adjusted (okay maybe I’m taking it a little far here) little boy! I had high hopes that he would really do well in kindergarten this year. He still has problems staying focused, but he really works hard on this!

When Sandis’s teacher mentioned that I should take him to the dr. to have him evaluated and possibly treated for hyperactivity disorder, I felt like I had been punched in the gut. I felt like I had failed. I felt like WE had failed, both Sandis and I. The next thing that happened is that my guards went up. Sandis and I have worked very hard and seen great improvement with his actions and impulsivity, and I REFUSE to let a teacher DIAGNOSE him and I REFUSE to fall prey to the growing trend of medicating every active child in the American universe.

I believe that Sandis has been blessed with passion and energy. I believe that what the teacher finds disconcerting and a trial in her class now is what will eventually be a truly valuable trait of my son’s. I do not want to take this away from him! I want to teach him how to function with the gifts and blessings that God has given him. I think we ALL know that not every gift and blessing in our life is always easy to have! My children are blessings, but they challenge me every day! I believe that medicating Sandis to make him more “acceptable” to his teacher would be denying him this awesome gift that God has given him. In his good moments, Sandis’s energy and passion will lift your heart. In his bad moments, they will make your ears blow steam. That is my son, that is who he is!
Beyond my frustrations with my virtual diagnosis of ADHD from Sandis’s teacher, I have also been putting a lot of thought into Sandis’s actions lately and when he is most reactive and seemingly most out of control. I’ve noticed that Sandis is EXTREMELY sensitive to noises. He is also sensitive to lights (fluorescent especially), some smells, and especially sensitive to motion around him. If there is too much noise, light, movement, smell in any one environment, he literally cannot “bring himself down” or “center” himself. It is like he can’t think beyond the sensory stimulation. I see this, and I recognize that perhaps there is a problem here. I have to recognize this because he is my son and I KNOW that there are certain places and situations that my son just cannot tolerate. I have made provisions to deal with Sandis’s sensory sensitivity in my daily life and actions, but how would his teachers and the school staff know to do this? I also believe that Sandis may SEEM ADHD to his teacher, but I really don’t think that ADHD fits my son. I think his teacher is wrong.

I called the ADHD pediatric psychiatry clinic at the University of Minnesota on Friday. I talked with a psychologist there who has agreed to see Sandis and evaluate him for ADHD and the many things that are often misdiagnosed as ADHD. This clinic also has a medical doctor and a psychiatrist. They are equipped to not screen patients with the intent to diagnose ADHD, but with the intent to truly find out what is causing the child’s problems, whether those problems are medical, psychological, nutritional, etc…..The psychiatrist did tell me, after our conversation, that from what I described, Sandis did not seem to fit a traditional ADHD profile, and that we would talk more when I see him at our appointment. I scheduled for October 19th so I’ll keep everyone updated!

There is also the possibility that my son is an active/alert personality young man who has enough energy that he could certainly spare some to his classmates! Thus far, Sandis’s learning has not been impaired by what the teacher has called attention problems. We DO have a behavior intervention meeting planned with a behavior interventionist at the school on October 25th. I am scared of what the future will bring us, but I am willing to do whatever it takes to make my son’s school experience as good as it can be. And honestly, it doesn’t have to be at THIS school with THIS teacher that that happens!

8 comments:

Minnesota Nice said...

Hey Sarah,
One (of many) thing that db teaches us is how to be proactive medical consumers and I know that you will settle for no less than the proper diagnosis for Sandis.
Have a good week ahead.

Carlynn said...

Hi, thanks for your nice comment on my blog, I think it's just getting used to things as well. Some days are easier than others.

Your blog is great. I like some of your latest posts, especially the one on Splenda. I also have a weird relationship with sweetners and think I would rather do without than use something like aspartame. But you didn't say what Bob thought of the recipe, did he notice that it was a light version?

And your post on Sandis was really interesting. I loved it when you said that he has been blessed with passion and energy. You sound like a wonderful mom. I once looked at a book called The Highly Sensitive Person: How to Thrive When the World Overwhelms You. One of the traits of a highly sensitive person is being easily overwhelmed by stimuli. Maybe it has something that could help? I don't know, maybe not. In any case, I think you are right to think about the diagnosis first and to resist this overwhelming urge that exists now to medicate.

Scott K. Johnson said...

Hi Sarah!

I too recently had a morning where my BG just kept going up and up and up, no matter how much insulin I pumped in.

I finally changed the set, and things started working - but I had to wonder - where did it all go?! I didnt' get any blockage alerts, nor did I have any 'wet spots' from insulin leaking or anything like that. So where the heck did it go?

Anyways.

Sarah, it is very clear from your post that you are a world class mom, and both Bob & your kids are very lucky and blessed to have you in that "spot".

I hope that you are able to get to the bottom of what (if anything) is going on, and are able to get him into a healthy position (either location or state of mind) where he can thrive.

Take care!

Minnesota Nice said...

When you have a sec, do tell what disappointed you about French Meadow.

Bernard said...

Sarah,

I'm sorry to hear about Sandis and your troubles.

We've been homeschooling for several years now. We're blessed that we can do this, and I thank God every day for the strength of my wife and our great kids.

One of the things I learnt in this process is that each child has a different style of learning. Some can't learn unless they are moving physically. That's just how God made them.

Here's one page I found that outlines four learning styles. Maybe Sandis just has a kinesthetic learning style and he needs to be on the move. I don't think many public (or private) schools can effectively teach kids who like to move while they're learning.

I hope you learn something useful at your appointment. Best of luck.

MileMasterSarah said...

Bernard, Wow, thanks for that link! That really really really does sound like my son. Even his teacher says that he learns best with hands on activities. I wonder what I can do with him that will help embrace this? This really has helped me this morning, my funkiness has been especially draining this morning, and this has helped lift the fog of my funk, THANKS!

Minnesota Nice said...

Yeah, everything you said about FM is true - crowded, frequent transitions in staff (causing goof-ups in orders), lack of seating, high prices - but I've been going there for years so never expect anything different.
They won me over when I said I was craving peanut butter toast and they brought me this platter of inch-thick slabs of toasted raisen bread and a coffee cup (literally) of peanut butter. I guess that's what you call "hog heaven".

Jessica said...

Go girl! My son is what my husband and I like to call the wild child. He loves activity and practically dances all night long in his sleep. If he isn't moving, something is very wrong. ADHD was suggested to me by his preschool teacher and I wanted to slap her. Yes, he requires attention, and Yes he can be a handful. But mostly he is sweet and GOOD and an active BOY!!! Don't ever forget - you are the mom. You will make the decision because you know the best and the most about your precious son.