Monday, January 12, 2009

Of the OG

My dear little OG is going through her annual winter blahs.

By "blahs," what I mean is this somewhat controversial syndrome called PANDAS. PANDAS stands for "Pediatric Autoimmune Neuropsychiatric Disorders Associated with Strep" (which is, upon examination, a rather tortured acronym, but whaddya gonna do). She was diagnosed with it a couple years ago, by the nutty West Austin doctors that specialize in this sort of thing (e.g. ADHD, autism, Tourette's).

Kids with this syndrome react with neurologic symptoms - e.g. tics, obsessive/compulsive behavior, hyperactive/impulsive behavior changes, mood lability - to the presence of elevated strep titers, or the antibodies created after an exposure to strep. These kids are misdiagnosed all the time as ADHD, or Tourette's, or Asperger's. (If you Google it, look up "PANDAS" and "strep," because if you leave out the "strep" part, all you get is stuff, pandas. Ask me how I know.)

What's different about PANDAS kids is that they have these episodes, usually during cold and flu season, for several weeks, long enough for you to start thinking "oh, my god, my child is INSANE....and then, they GET BETTER. And they aren't crazy, tic-ing, repetitive, hyperactive nutballs anymore! They're fine!

Unfortunately, it's cold and flu season again, and the OG got her first strep exposure of the season via her little cousin (who is a strep carrier, I of those kiddos that has it ALL the time. That's not good, either.) About a week later, she started in with the fatigue, and sleeping until ten o'clock, which is NOT typical behavior for my Type A morning girl.

However, I didn't know she was truly getting sick until she started engaging in the most BIZARRE behavior, for her, that I have ever seen. And, believe me, I love her and respect her and think she is the coolest chick in the world...but that is saying something!

What she is doing is stressing - to the point of sobbing, sometimes - over the guilt she feels about thinking something bad about someone. Not SAYING it, mind you...just THINKING about it. For like two weeks she has cried multiple times per day about death. Why? Because she is terrified that if she thinks about someone dying, it must mean she WANTS them to die, and what if they DID die, and what if she CAUSED them to die by THINKING about them dying, and boo hoo hoo hoo!

Or, like, when she thinks something insulting about someone, she feels ABSOLUTELY COMPELLED to tell me about it! Every day! Like, I pick her up from school, and she immediately volunteers - often crying - "I thought about calling someone a nincompoop today," or "It occurred to me that so-and-so is overweight. WHAT IF I CALLED THEM FAT? Boo hoo hoo! Am I a horrible person?"

The good part, like I mentioned, is that we've been here before, and know it'll get better. Our marvelous female pediatrician - as good the missed and lamented Dr. H., but with an actual bedside manner - agreed to put her on the same hardcore antibiotics, a MONTH of Zithromax, that the West Austin freaky doctor clinic put her on a couple of years ago, which WORKED. (I LOVE her. I LOVE that she believes me, and that she actually read the doctor's report, and that she called me well after hours to talk about what she read. The OG asked me if she was my doctor, and I said, wistfully, "I wish...")

And, yes, a week into the antibiotics, she's already way better. She's still feeling the need to tell me every evil thought she has - and is just a little too interested in what exact words are "cuss" words, but that may just be because she's in third grade - but her facial tics have stopped, and she's no longer freaking out her after-school teacher by sobbing about how all she thinks about is death. (I had a brief "don't call CPS" moment, there, having to explain to the nice concerned young lady, "No, she's not depressed; no, there's nothing weird going on at home; no, we don't systematically kill her pets one by one in front of her.")

The other good part is that I think she has finally tapped into her bleeding-heart liberal side, which she could not help but have. It's like, suddenly, empathy has entered her heart, and it's freakin' BREAKING it. I think she's suppressed thinking about pain and suffering and loss up till now. But, now, though she's completely devastated by these notions, I think she has reached the point that she can wrap her mind around them. And, lo and behold, she's being nice to her sister - hugging, comforting, and EVEN SLEEPING with her - due to, I think, her sudden realization that we don't have each other forever.

Raising kids is hard. Although kind of funny. Two rather priceless moment during all this: First, over break, The Man was giving her some minor reprimand for something, and told her to go sit in her room for a bit. I came by a bit later and heard her crying. I asked her what was wrong, and she said, "I got in trouble. AND I CALLED DADDY 'STUPID'!"

I'm all, hmmm...that doesn't sound right. So, I said, " his face?" And she sobbed, breaking down, "No, but I THOUGHT IT!!!"

Next, the other night, she came up to me, stricken, saying "I keep thinking about a cuss word!" I said, OK, what word is it? She said, "It's um...(whimper, whine)...I CAN'T SAY IT!!!" I gently prodded a bit longer, and she finally said, "It's...THE 'C' WORD!"

Me, I'm all..."What 'C' word do you mean?" Because, I tell you, my mind was kinda reeling. She replied, "The...'CR' word!"

Oh..."crap," of course.

1 comment:

Badger said...

OMG, I have never heard of this PANDAS thing but I am going to look into it. Ever since he started KINDERGARTEN, which was like 8 years ago, the boy has freaked out every December/January. Tics, inability to focus, nasty attitude, etc. We always put it down to the change in routine but holy crap, it might be that strep thing you're talking about! If so, then we can fix it, yes? AWESOME!

The things I learn from my blogging pals, I tells ya.