Saturday, May 26, 2007

Leaps of faith

Around March of 2005, my sons were taking eight different prescription medications daily. My oldest was on a nose spray, a profilactic antibiotic, and two different allergy medications. My baby was taking Nexium, for reflux, allergy medication and two different breathing treatments, a steriod and a rescue medication. We have decent medical insurance, but between their everyday medications, doctor visits and the illnesses that all those medications were supposed to prevent but weren't, it was really taking it's toll on me, emotionally and financially. In a good month, we were spending $200 for medications and doctor visits. On a bad month, it was easily double that.

The allergist that my oldest son was seeing wasn't doing me any good. My final straw was when, despite all the medications he was on, his allergies were still causing nasal misery and sinus trouble, which led to ear infections. He suggested an additional antibiotic and an oral steroid, because he wasn't really sure what the problem was. I wanted to know how we were going to know which one was going to work the next time we had this problem, and he shrugged his shoulders, and suggested that we deal with that when the time came. I left his office in tears, and filled neither prescription. I'd had enough.

I decided that the medications weren't doing us any good. They seemed to be stabs in the dark - the ordinary things weren't working for my kids, and they were just adding more and more medications. It was a huge leap for me to eschew traditional medication, because it's just not who I am. Doctors are there to help us, and they are to be trusted. They know more than I do. They'd been to school for years and years. I have a wonderful relationship with my childrens' pediatrician - we'd been seeing him since my oldest child was born.

However, it was time to trust myself, trust my instincts and trust how well I know my children. It was for them that I took the leap that I took, because I wanted the best for them, which sometimes means going outside of one's comfort zone.

I stopped all non-essential medications, which meant all the ones for my oldest, the steroid breathing treatment for the youngest and his allergy medication. I kept him on the Nexium and the rescue breathing treatments when he needed them.

I threw away a good bit of the food in my pantry. Gone were the things that had high-fructose corn syrup as the first ingredients, and gone were the things that had artificial flavorings and colorings. We joined an organic produce co-op, where we picked up 25 pounds of fresh fruits and vegetables every two weeks. We bought lots more on the inbetween weeks. I found a multivitamin that didn't have artificial flavorings and colorings. The oldest one started taking a tablespoon of raw local honey every evening, which he loved! Eventually I added acidopholus, which was the ticket to getting the baby off Nexium, and we added Vitamin C.

I'm not religious about our changes - my kids drink soda when we go out to eat. They have lollipops from the dry cleaners. We don't eat as many fruits and veggies as we did two years ago, but they still eat more than they did before that. My littlest one likes carrot juice. They all love when this time of year comes around and we can make fresh fruit smoothies from strawberries and mangoes and oranges. Strawberries are their favorite dessert.

Honestly, though, we don't go to the doctor very often any more. In fact, the last few times we went were for a well checkup in March and for a broken arm in December. And I don't remember before that. This, from a woman who once introduced her husband to her pediatrician as "the other man in my life."

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