Fun at Disneyland

Fun at Disneyland

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Keep Calm and Carry On

Things have been bad. Really bad. Blake's mood and irritability went though the roof after we retried Concerta (a stimulant). Dr. (and I) both thought since the Lamactil (a mood stabilizer) was at a therapeutic dose, that perhaps he wouldn't have the negative reactions. Nope, we were wrong. After a wonderful 2 weeks, he became increasingly aggressive and oppositional. We stopped the Concerta, but his mood still has not returned to normal and it's been 5 weeks.

He started at one school, and 3 weeks in, a spot finally became available at James' charter school. This is the school that I had desperately wanted both boys at. It's a K-8 charter focused on "whole child" education. They teach conflict resolution, the staff respect the children, work out alternative solutions and foster community and care for the earth. It seemed perfect.

So, Blake switched schools and right away had issues another student and his friends. He quickly alienated several kids and didn't have any friends. His second week there, we stopped the Concerta. My mom came the next week and though, of course, it was wonderful to see her, it added a level of stress in the house. Blake's mood became increasingly oppositional, He was acting defiant, being sneaky, telling lies, his whole executive functioning deteriorated to the point that was was forgetting everything, even to shut the car door behind him. He was physically attacking James at the slightest provocation. While my mom was visiting, Blake blew up at me because I told him his friend (our next door neighbor) had to go home. We were out in the backyard and he picked up a foam covered plastic bat and came at me, hitting me as hard as he could. It was very violent and all right in front of my mom. I know her heart was breaking seeing it and that made my pain so much deeper.

After that happened, Blake wanted to run away and began packing. We calmed him down and he settled for the night. The next morning, my mom was leaving and I planned on dropping the boys off at school and then taking my mom to the airport. Blake was obsessing on running away still, but now he was making a plan to run away from school with James. I called the school, asked that they keep an extra close eye on the boys and crossed my fingers that the day would be uneventful. I dropped off my mom and we had a very sad and tearful goodbye.

The minute I picked up the boys from school that afternoon, Blake was still obsessing. As soon as we got home, he packed his things and began walking down the street. James went with him. I called the police because there was no way I was going to be able to get them back home safely and keep our 2 year old safe. My husband got home, went and forced the boys into his car and brought them home at the same time the police arrived. The police gave both boys a very stern talking to and talked about the danger on the street. They also called the Children's Crisis Center to come out.

A wonderful therapist came. He has a lot of experience with kids like Blake and said right away that he though we were indeed looking at bipolar and that starting him on an anti-psychotic would be the best course of action. I called Blake's psychiatrist and she agreed and we began Seroquel the following day.

It was shocking how his mood shift continued. He was sliding so far down that I couldn't even see my son though all the chaos. School was a disaster, he was walking out of class without permission and they had to call the office several times to send people out to look for him. The change in the quality of his schoolwork was huge. You could see that there was so much confusion and "static" going on in his head.

At this point, he was 3 weeks at his new school. He had no friends. He was barely getting by.

I called an emergency meeting with his teachers and explained what was going on and how they could help. They seemed reluctant to do anything for him. I didn't have the strength or energy to take on the school. Not with dealing with the daily challenges of having an unstable child and also dealing with the new (and scary medicines). I called an advocate and met with her that week. She is wonderful and I am so glad to have someone in our corner.

The therapist from the children's crisis response team is also visiting us weekly to check on Blake's progress and to help in any way he can. I really like him and feel very fortunate that he has so much knowledge and experience. We tried the Seroquel for two weeks and didn't see any difference, so we just switched to Risperdal three days ago. Unfortunately, that is giving Blake the terrible side effect of vomiting. We are trying to reduce the dose and move up more slowly. The upside is that as of yesterday, we actually saw a pretty dramatic improvement in his mood. I have hope.

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