Thursday, July 22, 2010

Round Two: Hope is Still in the Lead

My mom and I visited Taz at the hospital last night. He was bouncing off the walls, which is generally how he's been at home, but usually he's more subdued in new places. But no, he was talking a mile a minute, dancing around, barely able to focus on anything. He's definitely still manic.

But he was happy to see us. He even gave Chica a big hug and kiss. He wanted us to stay in his room. He didn't want to show us around or tell us what he did that day. He just wanted us to watch him play as he danced around and blabbered away. Even my mom noticed a huge difference from how he usually is. She didn't believe me at first that he needed to be in the hospital but on the way home she told that now she does because Taz is just not "there" right now.

Pretty quickly he started having trouble with Chica. I ended up getting a nurse to come in and help us because that's one of the main issues at home and I wanted to be consistent with whatever behavior program they're using with him. When the nurse came in she brought the psychiatrist assigned to Taz along. The nurse asked Taz what was going on. He said he wanted to crash us with a big monster truck. Then he said very quickly that he wanted to go home. It broke my heart. I couldn't respond right away because I was afraid I'd start crying.

Then the psychiatrist (Dr. F) pulled me aside while my mom played with Taz. Dr. F told me he had a chance to do some observation and testing with Taz. He said he definitely can see some pretty big delays. He had to do the testing in short 2 minutes bursts because of his attention span. He didn't dispute the bipolar diagnosis like I thought he would. He did say that we probably needed a strong behavioral program at home when Taz is released (I know that's a bad word but I can't think of a better one).

Dr. F sounded very experienced and knowledgeable about treating kids with mental illness, especially kids with similar issues to Taz. I asked him if he sees a lot of kids like him. He said, yes, a lot. He said that Taz has a lot of things working against him; born addicted to drugs, developmental delays, early childhood trauma, and genetics. But that he has things working for him too; a stable home environment and good advocates getting him the best treatment we can. That's the first time a professional has ever acknowledged the work we do. I like him already :)

Dr. F wants to try Intuniv, which I believe is an ADHD drug. I'm sure Taz qualifies for that diagnosis but Dr. F thinks he has the bipolar as well. The reason he wants to try it is because they've found that with kids born addicted to drugs, the non-stimulant ADHD medications inhibit the fight or flight response that's the main driving force of the behavior. When he said that I said, "yes, let's have that please!" Because Dh and I noticed that Taz seems to be almost in constant flight or flight mode.

Dr. F also mentioned trying a new form of Risperdal that they've found doesn't wear off after a few months like it has been for a lot of people. He also mentioned the possibility of a mood stabilizer. It all depends on how the Intuniv works.

He told me he sees the kids every day to monitor how the medication is working. That's the good thing about being inpatient is they can raise the dose much quicker. So while we're adjusting the meds Chica is safe from him, and hopefully after 10-14 days Taz can come home. While I know there's no miracle cure, I think the combination of new medication, our in-home program (which is going to start right away), and the structure of school starting in the fall, will make a huge difference. I asked Dr. F if he felt like it was good for Taz to be there and if he felt it would harm him. He said it was good. I'm worried about attachment but I'll get into that in another post.

So...hope is still out there my friends.

Oh, and after I went back to the visit with Taz he had calmed down a bit and agreed to take us on a tour, then gave big hugs as we said goodbye.


  1. So very pleased for you all. The pdoc really sounds good. Keeping you all in my thoughts.

  2. Sounds like things are moving in the right direction. I'm so thankful to hear that things are looking up.