This morning in our kitchen, taking his last dose and “pounding it” with daddy
For the past 602 days, my son has required some form of oral medication. It started when he was ten days old and was diagnosed with a pretty severe case of reflux. Because he was losing weight and unable to keep breast milk down, his pediatrician prescribed his first medication. I remember it feeling so incredibly wrong to be giving my tiny, infant son a chemical substance. I hated the way the smell of it interfered with his delicious, natural, new smell - but it was necessary and we would have done anything to keep him comfortable and growing. We tried dozens of other suggestions and I cut out many foods from my diet, but nothing but the medicine seemed to have any real impact.
At six months old, he was put on medication to try to control the extra fluid caused by the hole in his heart. His cardiologist prescribed it in an effort to hopefully help his heart work more efficiently, help him gain weight and try to give him a little extra energy. There were a few times when he had an ear infection that it felt like we were squirting a syringe full of some substance in his mouth every few hours for weeks at a time.
His catheterization procedure allowed us to immediately end his heart meds and I remember how happy I was to hand the remaining dosage over to the nurse before we checked out of the hospital last February. But every few months, he would outgrow his reflux dosage and we’d have to up it and give him more and more. Eventually the reflux meds stopped working all together and we had to switch to a different one that required constant refrigeration and a drive to a pharmacy on the other side of town who could fill a compounded prescription. We never went anywhere overnight without our trusty cooler packed with ice, a couple syringes and his prescription bottle.
Most babies outgrow their reflux by the time they begin to sit up on their own and start solids, but every time we tried to wean Arlo off of his, his reflux would cause him to cough for hours and cry and arch his body in pain. He was eighteen months old before we were able to get him down to one dose a day and then slowly over the past few months we have given him less and less, watching him closely for any signs of discomfort. A week and a half ago, he took his last dose and has not had any reflux symptoms. We have rejoiced at this accomplishment! Finally! But an overlapping ear infection has meant that he has still had to take amoxicillin every day since that final dose.
Arlo does not think twice about taking medicine. It’s just part of his life experience. He never protests or refuses, but today we gave him his last dose of amoxicillin. Tomorrow, when he wakes up, there will be no syringe to fill. At bedtime, no check and double check between Brent and I that one of us has given him his dose.
This is a day of celebration for our son. Another step towards total health. We know that he will surely have to take medicine for one reason another as he grows, but the daily task of it is over for us now. We are so thankful to find ourselves here. I will always be grateful for the roles these medicines have played in aiding our son as he has had health challenges, but we are happy to see them go.