When Braden was young and got sick with a cold or what have you, we knew there was no way possible to get medicine down him. Seriously, it would take two of us to hold him down, while another plunged the syringe into his mouth. Our neighbors were so great about coming over and helping. Most of the time, he’d spit the medicine back out at us, and we ended up wearing more of it than actually went into his system.
When our developmental pediatrician suggested we start Braden on medication to relieve some of his anxiety and aggression, we laughed. “How do you suggest we give him the medication?” we asked her as we thought about fight after fight over liquid medication. The thought of trying to get a pill physically into his body seemed like an impossibility.
“Hide it in his food,” she responded.
We bought a pill grinder and applesauce.
Grind the pill…hide it in the applesauce.
Grind the pill…hide it in yogurt.
Grind the pill…hide it in ice cream.
Success…but should we be giving him ice cream two times per day? Was that realistic?
A call to the doctor. “You mentioned he loves peanut butter on rice cakes. Why don’t you try peanut butter?”
Peanut butter! Of course.
Grind the pill…hide it in peanut butter.
So, for the past twelve…yes, twelve years, we have been grinding pills two times per day and putting them into a spoonful of peanut butter for Braden to consume.
Disclaimer: This is not a blog about the value of medication. There are people who do not believe in medicating a child with autism. There are groups and websites dedicated to natural diets, home remedies, etc. For many families, this works, and I’m happy for them. For us, it didn’t work, and we needed something to help Braden and us remain safe. So, yes, he has medication.
About two weeks ago we went on a road trip. The first thing I pack when heading out is Braden’s medication and the peanut butter. There have been a few times when we’ve had to buy peanut butter upon our arrival to a new country as they wouldn’t allow us to bring food into the country (Australia), but we always have our jar of Skippy with us and at the ready.
Anyway, I was about to grind up the pill and mix it into the peanut butter, which is always a hassle, when I suddenly thought, “I’m pretty tired of this routine.” I took the pill and a cup of water to Braden and asked, “Hey Buddy, can you take this for me?” He looked at me, took the pill from my hand, popped it into his mouth, and swallowed it! No water!
Mike and I looked at each other in disbelief. Did he really just do that? Could the days of grinding up pills be over?
The answer is a resounding YES. Now, instead of saying, “It’s time for peanut butter, Braden,” I say, “Time for your medication.” Braden willingly plucks them from my hand and swallows them. I encourage water. He sometimes uses it. I told Mike he reminds me of Dr. House or Nurse Jackie- no need for water.
One of my student’s mom brought in some pancakes the other day for her daughter. She asked if we could have her eat them as there was medication hidden in there and she needed it.
I told her our story.
“I know it sounds silly,” I said, “But it’s life-changing.”
She got a tear in her eye and said, “Oh my gosh, yes. It is life-changing. At this point, I can’t imagine.”
I gave her the peanut butter tip. I also gave her hope.
Thank you, Skippy.
Thank you, Braden.