On Friday, we took Grendel to the doctor to get his final evaluation and potential treatment plan for ADD. The evaluation showed that Grendel definitely has some ADD traits. The doctor agreed with us that it was worth trying some form of medication to see if we could even out his school performance since his finals are coming up and his grades have been all over the place this year.
The drugs that the doctor prescribed are a mild amphetamine. Grendel took his first does on Saturday morning. Grendel hates taking pills. So much so, that there is usually lots screaming and crying involved. Grendel is so motivated to improve the quality of his life that he solemnly took the pill without much ceremony. Unfortunately (we'll get into this later), he took the pill at 9am.
Overall, here is our summary impression of Grendel on drugs: Why the heck did we wait so long to do this???
Grendel was pleasant, communicative, able and eager to focus on his studying today. Several times on Saturday, he offered to do things before he was asked (as opposed to being told three times to do the same thing, before doing a half-assed job when he finally did it). He played basketball this afternoon as a break from studying. He said that he felt like his game was better, that he was actually paying attention to what he was doing. He also said that he didn't mind studying and that the things he read actually seemed to stick in his head. He's still Grendel. He's just a lot less annoying to be around. Let's see if this lasts. However, I'm already impressed.
The one downside is that it IS an amphetamine, so he really could care less about eating. And, he cannot afford to lose any weight. So, we encouraged him to just eat on a schedule whether he really felt like it or not. Also, since he got up late this morning, he didn't take the pill until around 9am, which may mean that he may not be able to get to sleep at his regular time tonight. I guess it was good that we had this weekend to figure out what the effects were going to be.
Grendel normally goes to bed around 9pm. Last night around 8:30 he left the house to take out the trash, and then he went to play basketball for a while (in hopes of wearing himself out a bit for bed). It helped but he was still wide awake. Around 10:00 he asked what he should do about getting to sleep. We offered him several unpalatable options: warm milk, alcohol or Tylenol PM (? uh ... a pill ... No, thanks). He opted to wait it out.
Around 12:30 last night, as he was finally starting to fall asleep, he realized that he was incredibly hungry. He stumbled out of his room, and went the wrong direction into my office. He tripped over some computer cords (not an impossible feat, just a little strange ... but it was dark). He attempted to plug things back in, and then went downstairs. He ate three bowls of cereal, a pack of Pop Tars, and a package of ramen noodles. Then, he finally went to sleep.
This morning, our Internet was down, so he shared his overnight exploits with me. We sat on the floor of my room and diddled with the power and network cables on a couple of the devices in my room. Eventually, we got the telephone (Vonage) and Internet working again. He learned a bit about networking, and I am more inspired to redo the cabling in my office.
This morning, Grendel took his pill around 6am. We figured that the pill has a fifteen hour cycle. Fortunately, he gets up for school around 5. So, if he takes it right after breakfast, he should be ready to sleep around 9pm.
Grendel thinks the medication's benefits are worth the minor inconveniences (no appetite, taking it really early so he can get to sleep at a normal hour). I am really proud of his attitude about the whole thing and hopeful of the changes we saw in him yesterday.
We didn't want to be one of those families who medicate their kids. However, the medication seems to help him, and Grendel still seems to be himself in all the important ways. With the medication, he really is present in the moment and able to remember what he's doing and what's important to do.
After finals are over, I hope to have tangible benefits to report here.