And also with you.
For years these have been the last words uttered between Nik and I as we drift off into a hopeful sleep. Anyone who lives with a child with a sleep disorder knows that it can be rough. The hardest part, I might add, isn't waking in the night but the long days that follow when we must still function. We must be patient and loving, responsible and alert, even when all we want to do is lay down in the fetal position and sleep a long dreamless sleep.
You'd be surprised -- or maybe you wouldn't -- just how unhelpful our doctors have been. I vividly remember one time when I was still working and in the middle of an intense five week program attended by 30 foreign diplomats for which I was largely responsible. Oliver hadn't slept in 4 nights and I was on the brink of despair. I called the pediatrician's office and couldn't stop sobbing. Bring him right in, they urged me. I walked out of there a half hour later with their sympathy and a recommendation for melatonin and benedryl. That was it. And it was not nearly enough.
Oliver is seven now and we've finally gotten someone to take the issue of our sleeplessness seriously. I'm not crazy about medicating my boy but at this point I'm starting to believe that we don't have much choice anymore. What else can we do that we haven't already tried? So. Clonidine. We started giving it regularly ten days or so ago and, after adjusting the dose a bit, it looks like we now have sleep -- seven to ten hours every night for the past five nights. I'm seeing some other differences as well -- the constant restlessness, the galloping the running -- they all seem to have abated a bit. He seems calmer and less impulsive. He has surprised me with word choices. Instead of: "I want eat," he says, "Let's go eat." Even, "I'm hungry," with the all important use of the pronoun. I don't know if that is the clonidine or the effect of some solid sleep. A bit of both? Either way, I'll take it.
I felt a little weird putting this post together. It seems so revealing to talk about my son's medications. But I spent a couple of evenings looking for blogs that mentioned the use of clonidine for children with autism and I couldn't find anything useful. Judging by the comments I got on my last post about the subject, I guess other parents are giving it a try and I wonder: why is there so much written about diets -- what we feed our kids and what we don't feed our kids, but so little sharing about medication? Why is there such a stigma? Because, really, if medication helps us get some sleep then I'm gonna feel like shouting it from the rooftops.