That is the question. We go to the pediatrician on Thursday for E's 4-year-old checkup appt. So, in the meantime, I'm running through every possible scenario in my mind, of how it'll be when we discuss the dreaded 4-letter acronym......ADHD.......and what to do about it.
We haven't seen the ped in quite a while, since my boys have the annoying habit of only getting sick on weekends, when the ped is obviously unavailable. We end up at urgent care, which works fine, but means the ped is WAY behind the times on what's up with E these days.
It seems pretty clear to anyone who spends time with E that there is a hyperactivity/impulse control/aggression issue. Is it officially ADHD? Guess that remains to be seen. For a while before A got diagnosed on the autism spectrum, I had my suspicions and my "mother's intuition" telling me that something wasn't right, and leading me toward autism once I began to research and read. Well, same thing here. The more I learn, the more I think ADHD. And it's depressing. I know I have blessed little to complain about, if ADHD is the worst thing that my formerly 1.5 lb baby has to deal with, but still it's not something you'd wish to have.
All along, even when it was just talking hypothetically, I've always said that modern medicines exist for a reason. They do help people, and have a benefit in many cases. So many people go into "crotchety old person" mode when discussing these kind of medicines.....you've heard it, stuff like: "well, in MY day we didn't have those newfangled drugs. We just had to discipline our kids and make them behave" etc etc etc. But I've always said that if it ever was necessary for a child of mine to take meds, and it would help them, we'd do it without question.
Well, can I take back the "without question" part? Because the closer it gets to the time in which meds might really be prescribed, the shakier I'm getting about the concept. Is it a cop-out? Isn't there more I could have done, or could be doing, before resorting to a chemical solution? Will he have to be on these meds forever? What are the potential side effects? Are the long-term effects even known yet?
Part of me just wants to go in to the doctor on Thursday, throw myself at her feet and say "DO SOMETHING, HELP ME!!!!!!!" Then I'll gather up my prescription for mind-altering drugs and be on my way, right? But the other part of me is worried, thinks that I might be pushing too heavily and too quickly for meds for only selfish reasons......because I'm tired, because I'm stressed, because I'm at my wits' end with him and am just giving up. In other words, don't expect me to work hard and bring about improvements in his behavior on my own, just let the chemicals do it.
And even if we do choose to try meds, which one? I dread the thought of having to go through (possibly) several different drugs before finding one that seems to work without turning my little bundle of joy into a zombie, etc. And going back in for follow-up blood tests to check levels, etc....oh joy, won't that be fun for a 4 year old?
I guess the only redeeming fact in all of this, if you can even call it that, is that preemies have been proven to have a higher incidence of ADHD. Therefore, maybe it is NOT all in my mind, maybe I'm NOT just a lazy mom, maybe there is a true, real, physical reason for his behavior and his struggles with control. We've dodged so many bullets with him in 4 years....IUGR, PDA, failure to thrive, being on a vent, inability to eat, etc etc etc. Today, other than these behavioral/aggression problems, he is a healthy, smart and thriving little boy. And I never hesitated to let NICU docs give him indomethacin for that PDA, right? So if his difficulties have a biological cause, they might respond to a biologically-based treatment......?
Well, I'm not really any closer to deciding what to do yet, but it helps to talk it through. I do know that if we end up choosing meds for him, I'm NOT going to be broadcasting it in our social circles, etc. There's still a certain stigma attached, at least around here anyway. Guess that's another post for another day.