“She must get the WHOLE DOSE.” Pediatrician says. “If she spits out half, get another half dose in her.”
If only my toddler could resist infection the way she resists medicine.
I don’t blame my girl. What happened to the Bubble Gum Medicine of my childhood??? This new stuff smells and tastes terrible.
Alice is on Day 8 of a 10-day cycle of antibiotics. Day 1 she threw up the meds, Day 2 we switched to new antibiotics, Day 3 she mastered the spit.
The trouble with a 16-month-old is that you can’t bribe her to take her medicine.
I tried everything. Tiny squirts of medicine, aiming for the back of the throat or the side of her cheek…I plugged her nose so she’d have to swallow to breathe–didn’t work, she’d spit it out to breathe. I tried blowing in her face while administering the medicine–no effect.
I scooped the antibiotics back into her mouth. She screamed and spit and fought.
So how do you get a toddler who doesn’t understand reason or bribery to take her medicine?
Ice cream soup. Mix the medicine in with melted chocolate ice cream and put it in the syringe.
The fight was over. Alice is no longer spitting and crying–she’s pretty happy about medicine now (just as good as Bubblegum Medicine!) and she’s getting the proper dose.
My successful recipe is 1 tablespoon of chocolate ice cream to 1 teaspoon antibiotics.**Ask your doctor first–our antibiotics were compatible with dairy but not all medications are.
That’s my “parent hack” for sick toddlers…what’s yours?
It’s 9 pm. Tonight Alice was the sickest she’s ever been–limp, feverish, shaking. Scary. She puked all over me. Twice. There was no toweling it off. We had to take a bath together.
If she couldn’t keep her antibiotics down we were in for a trip to the emergency room for an antibiotic injection–doctor’s orders. Charles, the patient and crafty, mixed her antibiotics with milk and spent an hour dribbling tiny amounts into her mouth against her protests. She didn’t throw up. Emergency room trip averted.
She perked up a little once the Motrin kicked in. Enough to get fully cleaned up and go to bed. I’m dreading when it wears off.
There is a garbage bag of pukey clothes by the front door that one of us needs to take to the laundry room–but we are beat.
We really are parents, aren’t we?
I sat in on a wonderful HealthMinder Session at BlogHer called Special Needs and Caregiving: Becoming an Expert Caregiver–and I took notes for all of you who couldn’t be there.
My only personal IEP experience is that I acted as a Spanish interpreter at one (1) IEP meeting in Boulder, CO when I was in college–I read about these issues a lot, but I’m not an expert–these panelists are:
Carol Greenburg -an Aspie Mom who is Executive director of Brooklyn Special Needs Consulting, and the East Coast Regional Director of the Autism Women’s Network.
Kristen Chew - a Classics professor; mother of a 15-year-old son, Charlie, who’s on the moderate to severe end of the autism spectrum, blogs at We Got Him about life with Charlie and blogs about education, disability, politics and human rights at Care2.com.
Tanis Miller – The Red Neck Mommy, a funny and fabulous blogger who is also mom to two special needs children: Shale, who died suddenly before his fifth birthday, and Jumby, who has spastic cerebral palsy among other serious physical and developmental problems.
And now, their advice:
1. When you’re working with your child’s school, teachers and district, it’s helpful to understand where they’re coming from. (from Carol Greenburg) The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA- the law that controls how states provide early intervention, special education, etc) is a federal mandate the is UNFUNDED. The federal government says, “States, you have to make this happen, but we’re not going to give you any money to do it. You figure out how to take care of these kids on your own.” This means a lot of the teachers and administrators you talk to are feeling the pressure of limited resources.
2. If you can help it, don’t cry. All three panelists agreed that tears weaken your ability to negotiate, but only Carol had always made it out of IEP meetings without crying. Which leads us to…
3. Don’t go solo. Again all panelists agreed that having someone else there, whether it’s your spouse, a friend or a special education advocate, another person provides perspective and support. Race, Gender, Class and Culture all place into IEP decisions–and all negotiations. Your spouse, friend or advocate might be better at reaching the people on the other side of the table and at minimum you have some back up.
4. Advocate for yourself and your child in person. This is from Carol Greenburg – If you have limited resources for help, go in person to the advocacy organization, with all your records, and ask for their help. Most non-profits and resource organizations have limited funds and limited personnel–if you call you might get put off, if you show up the odds are very good you’ll get help.
5. Sometimes what you advocate for might be the wrong thing. This is from Kristen Chew, who talked about fighting her son’s placement in a program that, ultimately, was a great thing for him. ”A lot of advocacy, to me, is about being open to being wrong,” she said. The other panelists agreed that this has happened in their experience too. You know your child better than anyone, but sometimes other people understand the appropriate resources or treatment options better. “Again, it comes back to having perspective,” Tanis said.
6. Avoid catastrophic thinking, but do look your fears in the face and deal with them. “What’s going to happen to my child when he turns 21? What happens when I’m gone?” The panelists said that thinking about these things can be be so scary it paralyzes you. Kristen Chew said she and her husband faced those fears and with the help of a good lawyer developed plans for their son’s life transitions–she highly recommends it.
7. Follow the evidence. When you’re researching treatments, therapies or someone presents a treatment to you, how do you know what’s good? “Evidence-based, replicable science will point you in the right direction,” says Carol Greenburg. And be very skeptical of “cures.”
I also want to give a shout out to Lisa Lightner who was nominated for a Bloganthropy Award for her excellent work in special needs advocacy. Her website, A Day In Our Shoes is a must read, these posts in particular:
What’s made you an effective advocate for your child?
I promised a recap of BlogHer’s Healthminder day, but there’s no way I could to all the wonderful women who spoke and participated today justice if I tried to cover it all. I’m going to do a series of small posts with my favorite big ideas, quotes, etc., from the women who participated today.
The First Panel–Our Real Health: The Last Taboo
Moderator: Shwen Gwee
There were two big ideas on this panel:
- How much personal information should you share when you blog about health?
- What is it to be an empowered patient and how should healthcare providers respond to these “difficult” patients?
The big consensus on how much to share was that every person has to find their own line.
- Erin (the Queen of Spain) is on the “share it all” side of things–her brave, intimate writing about her life and illness is what has built the online community she loves.
- Dr. Manning writes about her life and experiences with patients in the hospital–but she doesn’t let it all hang out. She has to protect patient privacy and she limits what she says about family, religion and politics.
- Barbara Ficarra said she was most comfortable with no personal details at all–she takes the journalist approach to writing online.
What resonated with me: Dr. Manning said she blogs “so she can read it” (Toni Morrison said she wrote The Bluest Eye so she could read it). And she says that “there’s one version of me”–the doctor, the educator, the mother, the woman who doesn’t want to take spinning class because it will mess up her hair…she’s going to be all of that on her blog and in her life as well. She’s gotten comfortable with that.
I’m getting comfortable being the “one version of me” too–and some of the bloggers I spoke to today, The Other Julia Roberts and Jen Lee Reeves of Born Just Right come to mind–also talked about merging their professional selves and their parent/blogger selves into one. A good trend, I think.
And what of empowered/difficult patients?
- Erin proudly proclaimed that she is empowered/difficult–and that’s why she’s making progress toward health. She fired multiple rheumatologists before finding “the one.”
- Barbara Ficarra R.N. said, “There are some difficult patients, but mostly just patients who want to be heard.”
- Dr. Manning talked about how a patient who asks questions ultimately brings out the best in a doctor. She welcomes the empowered patient and tries to bring out the questions from every patient she sees.
It’s my first BlogHer conference and I am psyched! I will be at HealthMinder Day tomorrow, and regular BlogHer on Friday and Saturday.
I know this blog has been sorely neglected in the past month (2 months, really), but that’s about to change in a big way.
First, if you aren’t there to experience it yourself, you can expect a full report on HealthMinder day (the Special Needs/Care Giver track) from me–tomorrow.
And if you are here in NYC and going to do the BlogHer thing, I want to hang out! I am a good person to hang out with at BlogHer ’12 because:
- I live in NYC and I know how to find a bathroom when you’re out and about. If you’ve ever been here before you know how important that is.
- Did you see my business card? Yes, those are rounded corners. If we meet you can have one. My contact info is on the other side even!
- I’m going to BlogHer to get to know bloggers. I didn’t even know about the swag when I bought my pass. I don’t do sponsored posts or brand relationships (remember my posts about the Pfizer birth control recall? I don’t think they want to network with me). What I really want to do is meet some other bloggers and geek out about blogging, social media, legal and social justice, children’s health… yes, this is nerdy, but I think that if you’re going to BlogHer there’s a good chance you feel the same way.
So, if you’re reading this and you’re going to be in town for BlogHer, message me on Twitter and let’s do this!
And if you’re not going to be in town, I’m sorry we don’t get to meet this time. BUT, I do promise you that this blog is about to get more interesting and you should still message me on Twitter–we can be internet friends for now.