No Meds Land

Of all the things I deal with relating to this different brain of my son’s, meds is what I hate the most. Yep, I used the word hate. I’ll say it sucks too. I’ll stop there because I think you get the point.

I hate the whole fucking meds thing, OK? OK I really feel like I need to make my feelings known. In the first year after our official diagnosis, I made appointments, at different times, when I thought, I HAVE to get more help somewhere, someway. Each of those appointments was canceled after Michael had one “calm” day. I’d convince myself yet again that I had a typical child and I was completely crazy for thinking that he was so different. And then the tantrums would rev up and I’d have no idea what the trigger was or how to help him down . . . or how to help myself, which led to another appointment with a meds doctor. And so the cycle went.

One fine day we were headed to a party that was on the other side of town from where we live. We were a bit early, so we stopped at a drug store to pick up some gum and waste time. As I was walking in the parking lot with my two kids, I ran into a dad that I knew, who had been struggling with some similar yet seemingly more intense issues with his son. Those are the best meetings, the serendipitous ones that the Divine schedules.

He proceeded to tell me how the tiniest dose of an anti-psychotic drug changed his life, his son’s life, and the lives of everyone in his family. He said he felt like he was meeting his son for the first time (his son was eight) almost every day. He explained how there were almost no more rage-filled outbursts, how his son was actually engaged in school and conversations with peers. This dad said it felt like a miracle.

We met at a school specifically for high-functioning autistic children and children labeled with Asperger’s syndrome. My assumption, from what I heard through the grapevine, was that his son was just too high-needs to attend that school. It turns out he was back in the public school system doing great. WHAT? I couldn’t believe it and had to pick up my chin off the pavement.

All I could think was, I’m in! I’m all in, in fact. I don’t want meds, but I need help, and if this is the help I need, I’m in. I had to hear it from someone I knew though. The dad explained that this doctor d meets with the parents (or parent) first. Then he schedules an appointment with the child alone. Then he has one last evaluation with the parent(s) to share his recommendations. Again, I’m in, what’s the number? He didn’t know, so I called his wife the next day. She and I spoke for over an hour. I boohooed to that kind, open-eared, knows-all-about-it woman. She was so gracious and struggling in her own beautiful way. She gave me the time I needed to feel confident in moving forward with the evaluation.

I made the call and committed to the appointment. I had made the call before, but this was the first time I made the appointment and refused to cancel. I knew in my heart that if it still didn’t feel right, I could always say no thank you.



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