Words to live by:

"With man this is impossible, but with God ALL things are possible." Matthew 19:26

Monday, February 7, 2011

Learning to live ... and love with A.D.H.D.

A.D.H.D.---just what do those 4 initials stand for?
What? My child?
Whatever...no way...I don't believe in that stuff...A good old fashioned "tail-whoopin" will do the trick...I'm not giving my child medicine, I don't wanna dope em' up...We'll work it out...That's all a bunch of new words for bad behavior...

I remember the very first time I ever heard this term:
about 20 years ago and a co-worker was talking about her 2 children having ADHD... "What is that?"  She told me it was like forgetfullness, her children couldn't brush their teeth without being told multiple times, they would go into a room for a reason and forget why (over and over)...
I didn't buy it...AT ALL!!!!!
I didn't say anything outloud, but I thought...HMMMMM...sounds like a belt is what they need.
Get some control mom!!!!
And then she said they were on medication for it: Good grief! I thought...are you crazy???

Fast forward to the year 1999.
I was 34 years old and had tried getting pregnant for 7 years. I had gone to a fertilization doctor and 2 weeks after my consultation visit, I was pregnant! (Talk about a good doctor!) 
Just kidding...it was simply God's plan.
Remember I said I had tried to have a baby for 7 years? Can I tell you what the #7 means scripturally?
It really does.
On July 29th, 1999...I had the most PERFECT little baby boy...gorgeous olive skin and a head full of black hair. I was in heaven. I remember the second I heard him cry. I erupted into a wailing cry...I had waited for so long, and I loved this baby beyond words.
He was perfect!

12 hours later:
When the nurse handed him to me for the first time, I took my precious boy and he pushed his feet against my hand and stood up full throttle in the palm of my hand, his legs were so strong...I thought, this is weird but he's perfect.
It took 4 nurses to hold him down to give him blood work.We laughed...but the nurses weren't laughing so much.
We came home and 4 days after being born he had a double ear infection and was deeply conjested. The nurses said it was "infant mucus"...I didn't agree. The doctor didn't agree, he gave my 5 day old baby antibiotics...not a good sign.
My baby was up every hour...crying. Doctor visit after doctor visit...we couldn't figure out why he was so unsettled. The doctors didn't know. He was just a "cryer"...is what I was told.
Night after night of no sleep...crying and NOT being able to figure out why!
We'd play a while, cry awhile...both of us...holding each other...just crying.
At 3 weeks old, we tried soft cereal...to satisfy...nothing helped.
He was still up every1-2 hours...crying...screaming...
This went on for 2 and a half years.
I cried, we cried, he cried, my friends started staying away, feeling awkward around us, not wanting to do things with us...my baby cried...all the time, in restuarants, on vacations, in the car, at church, everywhere.
It wasn't colic.
It was unexplainable...everyone that tried to help, would say the same exact thing...almost word for word---"It's like he cant be satisfied."
and he couldn't. 
Maybe for a little while, a few minutes. But every half hour-hour he would cry, whine, make that loud whaling noise...I can still hear it now, that same pitch, over and over!
I didn't know what to do!
What can I do for you?!!??!!
Why won't you just be satistifed!???
Why won't you stop?!!!
He turned over at 4 months, he crawled at 6 months, he walked at 9 months...wow! He must be a genious!

I did find something finally, that would help (at least for while)...balls. He loved any kind of ball...I know all little boys do. But this was almost fanatical...As long as he had a ball to hit, throw, catch, roll...things were better.
I still remember the day we were helping Anna Lee, his sister, with softball out in the front yard.
Reed was 18 months old and wanted to "play" so bad...so we gave him a bat and pitched him a ball...he hit it clear across the yard into the street...we were speechless.

He was 2, then 3, then 4...we cried our way through the years.
Don't get me wrong...there were plenty times we hugged and snuggled and played and smiled...but the tears-unsatisfiable emotions, constant behavior issues were there far more than any other people we knew.
We were overwhelmed...many people would ask, "what are you gonna do?" or "I don't know how you do it"
...he was my son.
My baby.
My perfect little boy.
I did it because of all that. There was simply no choice, nor would I had ever wanted any other choice.
I just had to figure it out.

It was time for kindergarten. He was still...well, how was this going to work? He BOUNCED off the walls. He couldn't--wouldn't sit still. He was short tempered. He wouldn't listen.
Maybe the teachers could help
1st day of school: to the principal's office...
Happened again...and again...
I was called in for a teacher's conference...of course...I knew it was coming. He had frowny faces almost every day. My little boy...I wish I could help!
I met with the teacher, "he won't listen, he won't sit still, he's not going to learn..."
Why didn't she understand!!! This is my child you're talking about...(but I knew it was true)
I tried everything at home that I could possibly do.  Nothing changed. Lord, please...
The teacher suggested holding him back.
He was playing any sport he could..."getting that energy out", maybe that will help.
The coaches told me, "He's hard to coach..." Oh Lord, not you too! That's what he loves the most! Please be patient, I know he can do it!

1st grade...same thing...my heart was breaking for my child. Sad faces, red lights, notes sent home, teacher meetings, heartache, helplessness...
Beginning of 2nd grade...sent to office 2nd week of school.
Then...an angel. 
His teacher called me and said, "Dara, I've watched him for 2 weeks, and I 'know' that he can't help some of the things he's doing...he needs to get out of his seat and walk around...he needs to sharpen his pencil, he needs to walk down the hall for a minute...if  it's ok, I'm going to allow him to do these things within reason?" Are you serious? You're going to try to HELP my child? You're not MAD!!!!??? You actually like my child?
Thank you God.
I took Reed to the doctor the next week, to a neurologist.
After a series of testing (EEG, blood work, ADHD testing) it was determined that he indeed did have that "crazy disease" that I had heard of long ago. The EEG even showed that he was having sleep siezures. His body would "twitch" for hours, from his head to his toes and back again.
Yes, it was highly suggested that he be put on a low dosage of medication. And yes, I was VERY hesitant. But I tried it...he tried it.
After 3 days, his teacher called.
Oh Lord, not again...
"dara, he's not even the same little boy. He is sitting in his chair, he's listening and learning, behaving...he's going to be just fine." I sat on the couch and cried, hard, like a baby...it had been 7 years....again...7 years...there's that number again...
He couldn't help it!
It wasn't HIS fault...it wasn't MY fault!
He had a disease and I believed it!
I studied ADHD and I thanked God for showing us how to handle it. Yes, I thanked God!
He started catching up with the other students in class...
He still played sports...I think his heart beats FASTER when he has a ball in his hand!!! ANd just for the record: He's really good. :)
It was 3rd grade. He took the SAT and the scores came in. His teacher called me in...
again...a teacher calling me in...
"Dara, I was skimming over the scores and saw a student whose score was incredibly high, I looked to see who it was, and it is Reed."
Are you kidding me? Are you sure? They wanted to hold him back! He couldn't learn! He has ADHD...
He was introduced into the Gifted program the next year and into the DUKE TIP program in which he'll take the A.C.T. in the 7th grade and he was submitted by a teacher to be in the Student Leadership of America team.
To God be the Glory...

Well of course, there's still been trials...
one teacher called me in (again) and said, "HE's going to have to learn self control!" I smiled, and said kindly, "he has ADHD...that's what he's missing. But I'll be sure to give him his medication each day."
I know it's hard to understand...I know it's overdiagnosed, I know it's controversial...
But I KNOW...that my child has it. and it's been hard. it's still hard. every day is a challenge.

But we've learned to make necessary changes...we set small goals (Pick up 3 things in your room--instead of 'pick up your room!')...make challenges, goals.
Don't expect the same from an ADHD child as someone without it. You will be dissapointed.
It's hard on the other siblings. Talk with them...educate them about ADHD.
Don't get mad because they need to walk around...and around....and around. They NEED to.
Don't be ashamed.
Don't deny. They need you.
You will need to rearrange your schedule, help them out. Take your time.
Don't "baby" them...there's a very fine line. and there's a difference...
Choose your battles wisely.
Go those extra steps...it's not about you!
If your child had diabetes, would you give him insulin?  Think about it...
Count to 10...a lot.
Smile, encourage, hug, keep your mouth closed sometimes, reward...
Find that 'somethin'g that makes them tick...(balls, a challenge, a competition) support and encouarge !!!!!
Remember what my co-worker told me 20 years ago??? about brushing teeth? Well, yes, I tell him about 20 times each day to brush his teeth...and he forgets or gets distracted, 19 times...

The years have gotten better...Reed sometimes is still misunderstood, misbehaved and rather fiesty (to say the least), but he is also...loved, respected, accepted...just because he's "Reed". SOmeone recently looked at a picture on my wall of Reed, and while pointing at the picture, said, "That one's gonna make you proud one day..." I smiled, and said..."He already does."

I love my special...little, olive skinned, brown hair, brown-eyed, , strong0willed, ADHD boy.
And oh yes, that #7  ?????
REED MURPHY---Perfection at it's best.

for now,
These are my Thoughts

1 comment:

  1. I thanked God tonight for you sharing this story of your life. I'm there with you Momma! Even though my experiences are unique to my wild child, I'm still that loving Mom like yourself trying to bring a little peace and understanding to her son's world. And sometimes I may even take the time to tell a close friend. Our life is full of tears, predictions, charts, medicine, doctor visits, and meltdowns. But the Lord blessed us with the opportunity to raise one of his little angels. It's rough, tough, and full of P A T I E N C E. I'm glad He chose me. Thanks for sharing your story, now I don't feel alone anymore. Bev