Wednesday, 20 March 2013

A Delicate Balance

There are so many things I could be talking about, but tonight I am talking about Nathan's gut.  I put that video up the other night, one, to enlighten others, but two, to vent some frustration.  Because that was Nate on a pretty bad day.  He was not responsive at all, unable to focus, definitely in his world and unwilling to join us in ours.  I can't say that this is the norm for him anymore, which I am very grateful for, but seeing him like that gives me a lot of anxiety, makes me feel like we are backsliding.  The straw that broke the camel's back for me was the note I received in his little school communication book from his teacher yesterday.  It confirmed that they were completely unable to engage him at school.  For the full two and a half hours he was there.  Mommy officially freaked out. 

This is another one of those moments when mom has to ignore the reassuring comments of well meaning friends, sitters, etc.  "He seems ok to me".  "he focused with me for a while on the ipad the other day".  I know he did- he is completely entranced with any visual stimulation, so the ipad works most of the time with him.  But when I am struggling to get him to say "more" which was one of his first meaningful words, I know it's time for action.

I had my suspicions regarding the culprit of his nutty behavior and after some discussion today his pediatrician confirmed my line of thinking.  Yeast.  Glad we paid her a visit.  Nate had an ear infection about two and a half weeks ago.  I called the pediatrician's office, but of course it was Friday afternoon and they didn't have anything available.  The well meaning receptionist suggested Righttime Pediatrics, our local urgent care center.  I didn't feel like I had any other choice, Nate was screaming in pain, so off we went.  Our visit went smoothly, other than when the doctor asked me if I was "doing anything" about Nate's autism, at which point I had to resist the urge to jump across the exam table and bop him one.  Really I am glad that he asked, not every parent is running around looking for anything under the sun to help their kid- he was just doing his job.  The issue with places like these is that they don't know your child.  So he didn't know that I'm giving the boy a ridiculous number of supplements, have him on a special diet, and send him to every intervention we are financially capable of.  He also didn't know about Nate's history of yeast issues in his gut.  When Nate was first diagnosed with autism, we sent off a stool specimen and he had yeast overgrowth, which can intensify many autistic behaviors.  Major "symptoms", which of course can be other things (like happiness) are nonsensical laughter (I know how that sounds yes), more repetitive behaviors, further regression, etc. 

What is nonsensical laughter you ask?  Well, I can describe it well- Nate used to do it all the time, and has been doing it again for the past few weeks.  When you find your kid sitting in a corner looking at nothing at all and cracking up, then you will be able to as well.  It's disturbing. 

In any case, this well meaning doctor did what he does for every ear infection, he wrote a script for antibiotics.  Nate's ear looked really bad.  So he wrote for very strong antibiotics- two full weeks of them.  Antibiotics kill bacteria, including the good bacteria that prevents yeast infections.  Strong antibiotics= yeast overgrowth in a person who already has issues with this.  I was aware of all of this, I doubled Nate's probiotics while I was giving him the antibiotic, but clearly that wasn't enough.

This means that Nate and mommy will be going through yuckiness for the next several weeks- in the form of nystatin.  For someone with thrush, no biggie, you swish the stuff in your mouth.  For Nate...where do I start?  First he hates the taste and spits it all over me.  It's bright yellow and STICKY.  I strip us both down to our skivvies every time I give it to him.  If I didn't neither of us would own any unstained clothing at this point.  We did this for 3 months last winter.  November through February.  Really, we would have no clothing. The most difficult part is what it does to Nate physically- at least initially.  It's called yeast "die off" and it's not pretty.  Major diarrhea, mood swings, head banging, and initially, further regression.  This is due to the byproducts of the yeast being destroyed.  And it sucks.  I am hoping it won't be as bad this time, as we caught it pretty quickly. 

Anyway, please keep my Natey in your thoughts as we try to get his little gut balanced again.  Last time we did this we saw a different boy emerge.  Looking forward to seeing him again!  And from now on, prophylactic nystatin whenever he has antibiotics.  I prefer the annoyance of giving him something he hates to the heartbreak of watching him backslide any day. 

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