Ok. So. Where to being with this. Maybe at the beginning.
First of all a few disclaimers: 1) I realize that not every kid will have this reaction to this specific type of medication. 2) I realize not everyone would agree to giving their kids allergy meds in the first place, so you will have to just get over that if you want to read this post. 3) No matter what I say in this post I make no claims to have handled this whole situation with any shred of grace.
Having said all that...
We took Miles to his pediatrician last week because he was basically hacking up a friggin' lung and we were scared it might be pneumonia. Even though I had Googled it and he didn't really have any of the other pneumonia-like symptoms, I still went to the worst case scenario and thought that he surely had pneumonia. This theory also came from this fact that at least one other child at his daycare had been diagnosed with contagious pneumonia last week.
So off to the doctor we go. After a thorough exam and lots of talking about his symptoms the doctor tells us what his thinks is going on--allergies. I have suspected this for quite some time now but I was glad to get at least partical confirmation that I was not Crazy McCrazylady to think he might have allergies.
We talk about all of our options and land on trying Claritin. Awesome. After 2 nights of listening to my poor child cough his brains out I was so happy to see a remedy might be in sight.
The first night we gave him like half of what the recommended dosage was for a child his age, per his doc. We noticed that he was sort of restless, that it took him a long time to actually get to sleep and that he woke up at an ungodly hour (5 a.m.) which we thought was odd but we really didn't think much of it beyond that.
Let me just preface this next part by saying that Miles is a good sleeper. A really good sleeper. I am NOT being smug about it in any way shape or form, I am just stating the facts. He almost always sleeps like a rock for 10-11 hours and takes a 2-3 hour nap each day. Again, I only say this so you will know just how upsetting and weird what happened was.
So the next night we give him the full recommended dosage of the Claritin. I had specifically asked the doc about giving it to him at bedtime and he said he thought that would be a good idea since it will most likely help to calm his cough at night.
THEN ALL HELL BROKE LOOSE.
We could hear him rustling around in his crib from the moment we put him down. Finally, at 10:30 he starts to cry. And the crying DOES NOT STOP. He was psychotic, out of sorts, disoriented, upset, AWAKE...honestly. THE WHOLE NIGHT. Did I say the whole night? Because I'm not sure you heard me the first few times. Literally at 4:45 a.m. when we had not gotten any sleep I was still trying to get him to calm down. At one point we thought about throwing him in the car and heading to the ER because he was just out of his mind. He would sort of calm down a little at some points because clearly he was tired and knew that it was "night night" time. But the poor kid was so hyped up on meds he couldn't simmer down enough to actually get some solid sleep.
But let me tell you--I thank my lucky stars for my husband's patience that seems comes from a place that I will never understand ... but am always grateful for.
In my totally worried and sleep-deprived state I thought about all the ways I would torture our doctor for giving us the devil's medicine.
I know it's not his fault. Like I said, all kids react differently to meds and Miles just happened to react POORLY. (That is an understatement.)
I said in my FB status the next morning that I thought it was one of the worst nights of my life, because it was. I had The Mama Guilt in huge quantities for giving him the Claritin in the first place. And on top of that I was worried that I had somehow permanently damaged my child's brain. And on top of that I had just listened to my boy scream for hours on end, unable to do anything to help him. And on top of that I hadn't slept a wink all night. So Yeah, it kinda sucked.
And the next night, after throwing the Claritin in the garbage, he slept like a rock again. Thank you sweet Jesus.
The moral of the story is this, readers: There is no moral. I don't have any advice or wisdom to impart after all of this. Because, at the end of the day, we did what we thought was best for Miles at the time, and at the time we thought that was giving him Claritin. There's really no right or wrong here. Parenting, in my experience, is all about trial and error. This was an error. And now we learn from our mistakes and move on. We will have to go down a different road in order to help Miles deal with his allergies
We will figure it out.
And we will all sleep better knowing the evil Claritin is in the garbage where it belongs. :-)