Monday, January 16, 2012

Update on the Little Prince

My last post was one of desperation. I have to say that things didn't get much better after that. Billy's tirade lasted four or five days. One particularly bad day, I took my phone, walked out onto the porch, shutting the front door on the sound of Billy banging on his bedroom door, and sat down to call a close friend and cry. We talked for a while and one thing she said to me was that she was not an advocate of institutionalizing children, but she was afraid that in this case, it might be necessary. I was NOT pleased to hear that.

My husband had worked the night before and as he works 24 hour shifts, he was sleeping that morning. When he woke up and found me in a state of tears, snot, and raw nerves, he said I should have woken him up. He said that we might have to think about hospitalizing Billy. I immediately burst into sobs and wails, saying that's what my friend had said and I couldn't imagine such a thing. How could I send my 6-year-old away to strangers? He's my baby! My husband helped me count my blessings to calm me down and urged me to call our counselor to see what he thought.

When the counselor called me back and heard the tale of woe, his response was that if we didn't get him under control quickly, we might have to send him to a residential treatment facility. We met with him and I cried in his office. I knew that I would do whatever was best for Billy, even if it meant sending him to some in-patient treatment, but the idea of it ripped my heart out. Our counselor urged me to harass the psychiatrist's office every day until we were able to get an earlier appointment. He said he was not able to make diagnoses, but he was leaning towards Billy having bipolar disorder, as well as some OCD, which would require some other meds (which would hopefully bring the situation under control without having to send Billy anywhere). We, personally, have long thought he might have some mild autism, perhaps Asperger's.

The psychiatrist's office was able to get us in last Wednesday. Since our counselor works some days out of the same office as our psychiatrist, he had met with the doctor and discussed with him the problems and his observations before our appointment. When I came in, he asked me some questions and then asked me if we were willing to go to a stronger medicine. It carries more risks, but we are at our wit's end and we don't know what else to do. The counselor who has been at this for thirty years doesn't even know what else to do at this point. And it has to be better than sending him to a facility. So, they took him off his afternoon med and his antidepressant and put him on an anti-psychotic. The doctor is not willing to change his diagnosis yet or label Billy as anything, but the meds that he put him on treat autism, bipolar, and schizophrenia. My ex-husband's family has more than enough bipolar and schizophrenia to go around, so it is entirely possible that one or more of my children could inherit these problems.

So, we've started him on half a dose. When his body gets used to that and he overcomes his sleepiness from the meds, we will bump him up to a full dose. We are praying that this makes a difference for him and that he will have little to no side effects from it. He did not behave well Saturday, when I hosted a friend's baby shower. But, he has been pretty good yesterday and today, so we are praying that this continues.

One blessing to come out of this was that I visited a new Sunday School class last week and met a woman who has a son with mild autism. He was placed on the same meds and she swore by them. So, when the doctor suggested them, I had already heard of them. And it is nice to have someone to talk to who knows what we are going through.

Our next step with him is to get him a dental appointment. He has needed some work done for a while, but it was either that we didn't have the money for it or that we had hoped he would lose the baby teeth soon rather than wasting a fortune on teeth that may fall out in a month. However, he has a couple that are really causing him problems and look really bad. My husband also believes that if his teeth were fixed, he might eat more and might be better-tempered. However, I am not sure how we will get him to hold still for the work I foresee coming. If they come near him with a needle or a drill, he will flip. The insurance company said they would cover sedation if the dentist gets pre-authorization and can show reason why it is necessary. I had hoped for a little bit more of a concrete diagnosis for Billy. I mean, they might be more likely to approve sedation for a child who has autism or bipolar disorder than a child who is just diagnosed as ADHD. ADHD just doesn't adequately cover Billy.

If his eating doesn't improve after his dental work, I am going to take him back to our primary care physician. I worry about his physical health as well as his mental and emotional health. He hasn't gained weight in more than two years (he's always been very skinny), he's almost seven and hasn't had even a hint of a loose tooth yet, and he complains about stomachaches all the time. He doesn't sleep well either, but I assume that has more to do with the mental and emotional issues he has.

Please pray for my little guy. I feel so sorry for him. But, I also feel sorry for the girls and for us because we all suffer with this.

1 comment:

Palooski65 said...

My heart goes out to Billy, you, your girls, and your husband. I know what an emotional roller-coaster it can be dealing with those problems. I've not had it with my children but I do have a grandson that was "incorrigible" (for lack of a more technical term) AND he was mildly retarded. My oldest son was married to his grandmother and they had legal custody of him. I watched them struggle with him from the age of 2until he was 17 and then they DID have to institutionalize him. He does seem very content -- at least, he has a sense of "grown-up" freedom. It's heartbreaking for ALL concerned. I send you, and yours, loving thoughts and many prayers.