WIll It Matter?
Will it ever end? The damage these drugs leave in their wake seems to pop up everywhere. I see it on the news and with new people I meet that tell me how it has affected them. I see it with myself and my boys. For me it’s still, 3 years after I got off of them, sleeping. The jerks or muscle crawling. The dreams. For my boys, it’s sleep walking and night terrors.
And Jacob. My poor Jacob. It has affected him the worst of my living boys. He has learning disablilities and dyslexia. His atonomic nervous system has been affected. The specialists at BC Children’s Hospital agree it’s his autonomic system, but unfortuately they can’t pinpoint exactly as they are not sure how to look since it involves the brain. They could probably tell us through an exam of his brain at autopsy. I for one, don’t want that option at all. His fight or flight is at extremes and we are never quite certain just how he will react. We have to be paying attention at all times so he doesn’t hurt himself or others. It’s quite a job to calm him down as he doesn’t have the capacity to calm himself. He just lives un utter fear or fight for his life, sometimes even over little things. It’s so hard as his mother to watch him like this because he wants to control it and he can’t. I can see the fear and begging in his eyes to help him make it stop. And then afterwards, if he can remember, he feels downright awful. Not the life I anticipated for my little guy.
And his digestive system. That is also something that seretonin affects. And my poor boys digestive system is an issue all its own. He cannot feel his bowels. That means he doesn’t know if he has to use the bathroom. And when he sits to try, doesn’t know how to use the muscles it takes to push since he can’t feel the contractions. Oh, he pees just fine and even stays dry at night for some time. But he can’t tell if he needs to have a movement. The doctors at BCCH have given us a regiment of PEG and practice. Give him the PEG to keep his stool soft and go on the potty after mealtimes to get in the habit of using the toilet. They anticipated that with a strict regiment, his bowel would shrink and he would learn to feel again and successfully use the toilet in a year. Here we are a year and a half later of the strict regime and still no where closer. Actually, I think he’s worse, as he hasn’t pooped in a week. Something so simple that we take for granted and probably never think about it unless it’s a problem, has been a problem for his whole life. I can’t help but hurt for my boy over a natural, automatic system, that he doesn’t have. So unfair.
So off to the hospital in Kamloops he goes. They are going to put a tube in his nose, down to his intestines and pump him full of fluids and PEG to get the poop out. His colon should only be 3cm wide and he’s at 7cm at last XRay. The doctors hope, is that they clean him out at the hospital so that his bowels are empty, and shrunk back down to 3cm. Then we continue our regiment, that shrunk back to normal size, his body will eventually learn to ‘feel’ when something enters the bowel and he will go on his own. After 7 years of this, I am not particularily optimistic. I have asked for help for so long and only recieved it after Matthew’s death. I am glad that Matthew left behind some clues to help his big brother. But until we find some medical professionals who actually believe these drugs are bad and could really be the culprit in his issues, we are up said creek without a paddle.
A new mission begins, and begins for Jacob. Finding a way for his body to work properly to some extent and getting the message out that these drugs affect the unborn in different ways. They will have long term damage. Even if they don’t believe that their son or daughters behavoiral label in school could be linked to the exposure they had in the womb. Drug exposure seems to affect impulse control and judgement among other things and at different levels. Of course, if most people look at an older child with behavioral issues who were born addicted to cocaine or meth or crack, they will agree it makes sense that the drugs could cause these things. But not antidepressants. No way. They are safe. They may not even pass through to the baby at all. Even if I show them the chemical makeup and the fact they are very close to cocaine, no way. Cocaine is an illigal drug and is bound to cause damage. Isn’t that why it’s illigal? But antidepressants are a prescription with the doctor certain they are safe so that makes all the difference in the world. And to compound the issues, parents seem to have no problem putting more of that poison into their child’s body such as antidepressants, antipsychotics and/or behavoiral medication such as Ritalin. How does one help change the world so our children are safe? It seems an impossible task. One that I will gladly take on. Even if I only help save one child from any risk, it will be worth it.