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Saturday, May 5, 2012

Peace Destroyed

The last four days have been hellish. I'm not even kidding. Sweetie's been more than a handful, and I've noticed that my voice has been raised each day. I really am not a yeller by nature. One of the great things about giving kids choices is that it puts the power of many situations in the kids' hands and power struggles are diverted thus a calmer mother. From Tuesday on this week, The kids have gotten home from school, and I've been absolutely spent.

Since Tuesday, every day I have given Sweetie choices and the downward spiral has begun and run its terrible course. Last night, the Warden came home with a vase of flowers in his hand. What a GREAT guy! He knew how hard I've been trying to keep it together and just how difficult it's been. Sweetie's been violent, mean, and destructive. It's been AWFUL!

 This morning, the house is quiet. The Warden and I are laying here in bed, and he says, "Who knows what's in the medicine [Sweetie's] taking."

 WOAH! Wait a minute!!!

Let me share the story with you....

Monday, I took Sweetie to school. I was told that there had been a lot of coughing going on. They had actually called my cell phone and asked me to come get Sweetie, but I didn't get the message until I had already brought Sweetie home. Ugh! Yah, a real mother of the year moment.

Things seemed very similar to asthma, but they were so different. I heard no wheezing. There was no caving in of the chest, but Sweetie's heart was beating SUPER fast and hard. I went ahead and started treating it as asthma. I got out the nebulizer and administered a treatment.

Sweetie's asthma has been so non-existent that when #5 was having all of his asthma struggles this winter, and we mentioned Sweetie's asthma, Sweetie was so surprised to hear that one of the inhalers in the cupboard was for Sweetie. I'm hopeful that Sweetie will outgrow asthma as #2 did.

Anyway, back to the story at hand....

Gave the treatment and Sweetie went right down for a nap and later woke with a fever. Hmm...asthma doesn't have a fever.

By evening, Sweetie sounded TERRIBLE. It takes quite a bit to get the Warden alarmed, and it was clear that he was worried. I called the advice nurse. They weren't feeling that Sweetie was in imminent danger but made an appointment for the next morning.

I took Sweetie in to see the doctor the next day. The doctor agreed that this was most likely not asthma. She listened with her stethoscope over and over and over. Finally she said that she'd like us to go down and have his chest x-rayed.

We did. I need to share that during all of this and for days and days prior to this, things have been SUPER heavenly with Sweetie. Things have been, for the most part, happy and calm in our house. We have been on a good path.  During all of this time at the doctor and interaction between just Sweetie and me, things have been really functional and great.

We got the X-ray taken. They had Sweetie stand for it. Sweetie's body shook while it was being taken. The trembling had started that morning--one of the symptoms that had the Warden really concerned. The shaking made me feel really sad and sorry for Sweetie, but the X-ray was done with no problems. Sweetie was told to hold still and Sweetie did--very compliant and well...sweet. I was very proud of Sweetie.

We went back up and within moments, there, on the computer screen (isn't the age we live in amazing?), was Sweetie's chest. I really didn't need anyone to tell me what I was looking at. It was apparent that there was some cloudiness in both lungs. We were dealing with the beginnings of either bronchitis or pneumonia, the doctor shared. After viewing the X-ray, she added that one of Sweetie's ears looked a bit red. Antibiotics were prescribed.

 I went downstairs to the pharmacy while a nebulizer treatment was run. I returned just after the treatment finished and administered the first, and largest, dose of Zithromax. Sweetie, I was directed, is to take the Zithromax for five days.

We left the clinic and went to get something to eat. We went to Wendy's. I bought Sweetie some chicken nuggets, French fries and a small vanilla Frosty.

In the car on the way home, things started to get a bit different. I can't really describe what it was because it was way back on Tuesday, but I remember sitting in the hallway later and looking to see if there may have been some ingredients in Sweetie's lunch that may have caused the behaviors. It was really as if a switch had been flipped. Scary! I finally concluded that it must have been the corn syrup or the sugar in the Frosty. I was never going to buy one of those again.

I got Sweetie home and into bed for a nap. There was a bit of a struggle, but because Sweetie wasn't feeling good, sleep finally overtook.

Each day since Tuesday has been a HUGE struggle. There have been frightening moments of violence. I am usually the target. I had been so happy in these last few weeks to see these days gone. I COULD NOT figure out why they had returned. I have been doing everything the same way as usual. I've watched everything that's gone into Sweetie's mouth. I have served protein to balance every sugar. I have been making bread. Really, every safeguard has been taken.

Everything, that is, except for one thing--a necessary evil.  This brings us to this morning's conversation with the Warden....

All the Warden said was, "Who knows what's in that medicine [Sweetie's] taking." He was thinking about sugar, corn syrup, etc. I suddenly realized what color the medicine is....RED!

Every day since Tuesday, I have been administering red 40 to Sweetie. Every day since, I have dealt with a demon child the very best I could. Every day, giving the same choices I usually do, Sweetie has chosen the worst possible options. Since removing red 40 from our home, I have learned that this poor decision making isn't in Sweetie's nature. I am convinced that Sweetie's biggest problem is not so much sugar as it is red dye.

Today is the last day of the medicine. I will administer it around 1pm and then buckle my seat belt and prepare for the bumpy ride that lies ahead. The only problem is that red dye stays in the system for days from what I've heard and what I've experienced.

 If you think about it, most children's medicines are tinted red, pink, orange or purple--some amount of red is included to make each of these.

 If I ever doubted before, I don't any more. Red 40 turns my heaven into hell.


Patrick and Paige said...

YEP!!!! you just hit the nail on the head!!!! I just realized that Anderson was on antibiotics and they were RED!!!! UGH! No wonder I have been struggling with his behavior! we are on day 4 off of the stuff and his behavior has improved! Thank you for this post! My eyes are WIDE OPEN NOW! Oh and BTW they have Dye Free Medicine! Great STUFF!

Alyson said...

So sad, but now you know. You'll ask for dye-free meds whenever they're prescribed, and I see dye-free cough suppressants all the time. Fingers crossed for you guys, but glad that Z got it so quickly!

LeAnn said...

What a hard week you have had. I feel so sad then children get sick anyway; and then it is maddening to have it be something in the antibiotic that they are taking. Hope he gets feeling better quickly. Sending prayers for him and you all!

Tonya said...

Holy moly! This Red dye stuff is so interesting. Z is amazing for even thinking about the meds. I don't know that I would have. I'm glad your figuring things out though, so little sweetie can be at his best. You're such good parents.

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