So, for years, I have struggled with the idea of medicating Cameron. Now, don’t get me wrong, I am not one of those mothers who believes vaccinations caused Cameron’s autism. He’s up-to-date on all of his vaccinations and soon, even his dental will be up-to-date.
No, I have struggled with the idea of medicating Cameron for his autism.
See, with an autistic child, they can be extremely difficult to handle at times. Now, I know what you are thinking, children are difficult, children can be willful… etc.
Yes, I understand all of this. But it is more than a few temper tantrums. Cameron not only throws fits, but he will hurt himself when he’s angry. He claws at his own flesh, bites himself, throws himself into things (luckily my big TV is one of the old tube ones or he’d have knocked it over on himself by now). He can be cruel to my cats, biting them, hitting them… all because I simply said the word “No” to him.
His speech is impaired by his autism. For a few years he only spoke in what I called, “Cameronese”. But with therapy, he’s gotten better.
But, the biggest trouble lies with sleep. As some of my friends can attest to, I spent weeks this summer trying to regulate his bedtime. And when I succeeded, it would only last for a few days… maybe a week. Sleep is something I don’t get nearly enough of at times, in this house.
Well, finally, after three years, I have given in. We went to his pediatrician, (only to be seen by the new doctor who just recently joined the practice) and after a long conversation, he started Cameron on 0.1 mg of Clonidine.
Okay, so those of you who are use to taking Aspirin, Execedrin… etc, please notice I said 0.1 mg. With my Execedrin Migraine, I am given a dose of 250 mg. So his dose is miniscule in comparison.
I am a little wary of the medication. Not because I have ever heard anything bad about it, but because I have seen the effects Ty’s medicine has had on him. He literally becomes a zombie and I’ve even seen him shake and tremble with withdrawal at the beginning of the summer when he’s allowed to stop taking it. But Ty isn’t taking this medication, he is taking something else and never has been on Clonidine (he’s been diagnosed with ADHD).
So here are some possible side effects:
Clonidine may cause side effects. Tell your doctor if any of these symptoms or those listed in the SPECIAL PRECAUTIONS section, are severe or do not go away:
- dry mouth
- decreased sexual ability
If you experience any of the following symptoms, call your doctor immediately:
- rash anywhere on the body
- swelling of the face, throat, tongue, lips, eyes, hands, feet, ankles, or lower legs
- difficulty swallowing or breathing
So, I figured I would try and keep a journal of his reaction to the drug. So here goes:
Friday evening, after mixing the crushed pill with orange juice and giving it to Cameron at about 6:40, I was surprised to find him asleep by 7:30. Except for when I woke him up to use the bathroom (because he tends to wet the bed if I allow him to sleep too long), Cameron slept all night until I woke up at 7:38 yesterday morning.
Cameron seemed pretty much the same yesterday morning, with the exception of two things.
1. I was actually able to get Cameron to sit down and eat. He also sat down to watch the majority of Shrek 4 with me, until it came to the part where the Pied Piper makes all the ogres dance and he jumped up to dance with them. (which, I wish I had videotaped, but he was naked at the time and it wouldn’t have been appropriate)
2. His speech improved. It was as if something had clicked within him. Now, his speech had been improving. He was learning new phrases and words all the time. But this was coherent. He was speaking to me, trying to have a conversation and even recalling it now brings tears to my eyes. I have lived in a world so alone from everyone else, that to finally have my child try and talk to me, nearly broke my heart.
Now, he did eventually get overly excited. Begging to “Go see Nana” and then when I mentioned going to the Christmas parade, he got even more excited. He kept saying “Ho ho ho, Merry Christmas” or “I love Christmas”. So after telling me to get dressed for hours (he can be so bossy), we got ready and headed downtown to the parade.
I strapped him into the portable stroller and we stood on the railroad tracks and watched the parade from beginning to end. He thoroughly enjoyed himself. He came home with tons of candy and even tried to pickpocket one of the soldiers and undress another (long story, but everyone around us had a good laugh).
We returned home a little before 6:30, but because he hadn’t eaten yet, I didn’t give him his pill until about 7:30 and he was asleep within 30 minutes.
I am working today, so he is with my mother until I get off. So I will update on how he does with her and with me later on this evening or tomorrow.