My son, the ADHD/Asperger’s WonderKid we affectionately call Clark Kent, recently switched out his Concerta for a natural health and wellness approach to ADHD symptom management. We had a rocky start, but after a few months, we patted each other’s backs and called it a success. Clark started his senior year in high school with his usual high expectations and with pride that he had made it off the meds, a goal of his. After four weeks of school, he printed off his progress reports: zero missed assignments. And he and his partner won his first cross-examination debate tournament of the year. Holy cow! Was it possible that he could post senior year grades worthy of attention from his “A” list schools, the ones that loved his SAT scores but not his class rank? We allowed ourselves to hope, just a tiny bit.
Ah, hope. You fickle beast.
One day he came home from school with some troubling pain in an unmentionable area (or, at least, unmentionable if I want to remain in the good graces of my son) that spurred a trip to the emergency room. It was probably nothing more than a garden-variety infetion, the doc said, but we had to make sure, because the alternatives could be serious. We left with a prescription for mandatory antibiotics.
Side note: Clark had to drag me out of bed to take him to the ER. I had run out of migraine meds and was in bed with the lights out, preferring to suffer there than to brave daylight and driving to go get more Immitrex.
After the ER, Clark went to the pharmacy to get his prescription filled so I could get back in bed. Have I mentioned how awesome it is to have a kid that drives? It’s almost worth the terror of worrying about a vehicle driven by an ADHD teenage boy. So the pharmacist told Clark not to take any vitamins while on the antibiotics, because they could render the antibiotic ineffective.
“Which ones?” I asked, when Clark got home.
“Um, all of them,” he said.
I called. I told the pharmacist about each one.
“To be on the safe side, I’d recommend you just stop them all for the two weeks he’s on the antibiotics,” he said.
“Some help you are,” I thought, but kept my mouth shut. He was helpful, and he didn’t cause this situation. I thanked him and hung up. To Clark, I said, “How about two weeks of the Concerta?”
He shook his head, dark blonde hair windmilling around his crown.
My heart sank. I knew how he felt about this. I knew what going Concerta-free meant to him. I just didn’t have the heart to force him. Thus, I knew where this was headed, with an absolute certainty.
Two weeks later, he had finished the antibiotics, and tanked his grades with missed assignment after missed assignment. Not only that, but getting him re-engaged on the health program wasn’t a gimme. It took another two weeks before he finally resumed it with any regularity. By then, it was too late for the first grading period.
On balance, I’d rather keep Clark healthy. But if I had my druthers, he’d have his health without having to sacrifice his grades. Darn you, ill-timed infection of the you-know-where. Next time, come in the summer. Or not at all.