Sunday, November 6, 2011

One Thing Changes Everything

Friday night, we watched Back to the Future. We spent part of Saturday discussing what we would change if we could go back in time. There are a few things I would change, but one change that I would definitely make would be at the beginning of those changes, and that would change everything else.  What would I do?

Well, I would not have come back to the United States. Gary and I were stationed in Greece when we met. We fell in love and got married there. When I got pregnant, I had to leave Greece. I was getting out of the Navy, and they sent me back to the States to do so.

Knowing what I know now, I would try to stay in Greece. Sure, we would have had to pay for my medical care, but that would have been okay. I loved my obstetrician and would have enjoyed having him for my entire pregnancy. I loved Greece, and I loved being with my husband.

That is what I would have changed. You see, if that had changed, everything else would have changed. That one huge parenting mistake I made when Gabriel was three would never have been made. That mistake for which I still haven't forgiven myself. And that is why I am writing this.

I've lately had a conversation with a dear loved one about her son. Her son has ADHD. My son has ADHD. Her son is not medicated. My son is not medicated. She is considering medicating her son. I have already tried medicating my son son. She has a religious impediment to medicating her son. I had a philosophical impediment to medicating my son.

But I did. We tried three different medications. They did help him focus, but they caused all sorts of other problems. He was the side effect king. And, in the end, we decided that the medication caused more problems than it solved. I am glad we tried. We know what our son is like on medication, and what he is like off medication. We have figured out what he needs to be able to focus. For the most part, we are able to provide that without medication.

What if we had never tried? What if his symptoms were much more severe? What if his life took a downward spiral because of those symptoms, symptoms that might have been helped had I only medicated him? Would I deny my diabetic child insulin? Would I deny my child glasses or braces?

Those questions are easy for me to answer. I know that I would continue searching until I found something that helped my child. I have. And if I had it all to do over again, I would have started those interventions when he was even younger. Xavier may or may not have ADHD. He's a very intelligent little boy, whose brain never shuts off, plus he has very high energy levels. Those two things combined produce symptoms of ADHD. Regardless of whether or not he has ADHD, medication was not the solution for him, but I am glad we tried it. I will never regret that. I would regret the opposite, though. I know I would.

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