Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Fear


For four days this week, we have medical appointments. Today was the first of those days. Last night when I awoke Jie Jie at 11:30pm to use the bathroom, she FLEW up out of bed and thus began a four hour panic attack about getting a shot and post traumatic stress stuff. I had explained to her that she might need a blood test and she seemed fine, but as she slept, I think at the time I woke her up she had been dreaming or remembering a time in China when she'd had a shot on her bottom and it was very scary to her and she "cried big one."

This was almost what she was like on the plane coming to the US with me last year, but at that time, she was asleep and could not be awoken. This time, she was awake, but her eyes unseeing, darting around wildly, screaming, thrashing, shaking, calling for her Po Po. She'd let me hold her and try to calm down, but then freak out, again. This went on and on and on. I tried everything, and at the 2.5 hour mark even had her walk around the house with all the lights on then sit at the kitchen table to have a snack, but she wouldn't eat or drink anything.

At hour three, she had physical manifestations of her fear, terrible tummy aches that caused her to double over and grab her knees to her chest and plead for the pain to, "Stop, stop, please stop!" Of course I told her that her stomach wasn't sick, only nervous, and that if she could relax it would stop, but it only helped her a little to hear that.

Around 3am, I got into bed with her in my bed (we co-sleep with our beds against each other) and turned out the lights. She still didn't settle down, though she tried. After I got kicked for the thousandth time, I asked if she wanted to get into her own bed and she said yes and I had high hopes that she was ready to settle, but she didn't. I finally told her that I had medicine to make her feel better and gave her some ibuprofen. After some time, we both finally fell asleep. I let her sleep in until 10am this morning. If I'd had a sedative, I'd have given it to her at the two hour mark - honestly, and I'm all about natural parenting. After all that thrashing and shaking, I hoped the ibuprofen helped relax her muscles and prevent soreness from waking her up and I think it worked well. As for the placebo effect on her tummy pain, I was glad of that, too.

Unfortunately, as I was typing this tonight, she came in, starting all over again. I was pretty strict this time about telling her that her tummy is NOT sick and it's only nervous because she's afraid of her other doctor's appointments and, after some time, she seems to be settling back into bed.

I cannot go another round tonight with her. She got an ultrasound tomorrow evening at 7:30pm, so she can sleep in in the morning, but I cannot, I have to work.

Funny thing, when she awoke this morning, she used a few more Chinese words than I've heard in a very long time and she asked to bring her stuffed monkey, who has not gotten any notice before, to the appointment. When I asked how monkey was, she said he was scared. When I asked how she was, she said okay or just a tiny bit scared. She also asked me not to tell the doctors that she was scared and cried during the night. When I asked her why, she said because of privacy. She so much wants to be brave!

It looks like her MRI on Friday will involve contrast, which means having an IV placed. I haven't told her yet. At the same time, she will have her blood drawn. I've arranged for the nurse of one of her specialists to do it and place a heparin lock ahead of the MRI because they are experienced PICU or NICU nurses and can get a good stick on one try. They will also use local numbing spray and make it as fun as possible. Then, there is a higher chance that she'll be able to relax for the MRI just like she did last time and not require any sedation.

Up until now, I've always given her some lead time in knowing what was coming up for appointments. Now, I'm going to wait until the morning of so she can have every chance of getting a good night's sleep.

I wish I could take the entire week off to spend alone with her, doing super attaching and bonding 101 things together. I know it would make her feel more secure, but that just isn't an option. This is the downside of being a single mama. Please remember Jie Jie in your prayers. She and I did pray together last night to ask Jesus to help her through this and she actually repeated the words of the prayer as I said them, so that she became the one saying the prayer. I was so proud of her, that her faith is growing and growing.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Managing medical fear is not easy. Especially when we don't know the whole back story to our children's fears. I wish I had been there to comfort my now 11 yr old daughter but I am here now. We ended up getting EMDR (eye movement desenitization reprocessing emdr.com )treatment for my daughter's consistent pain and medical fears.

That combined with a low (half)dose of anti-anxiety med before any appointment helps her a great deal. Once we had some non-eventful appts and she had a few non-painful outcomes she has been able to tolerate more and more appts without the anti-anxiety meds and sleep thru the night without nightmares before an appt.

She is now old enough to be able to decide for herself if she needs that little bit of help. However, we are stuck (pardon the pun) about getting her some vaccines. She had her first rounds when she was sedated for other surgeries and the flu mist, not a shot.
Now she needs three shots in the next year and she is terrified. We tried the lydocain once but it was weird for her with having to cover the cream with plastic in order for it to work. I will ask her doctor about the numbing spray, thanks for the idea!