Alex has been very withdrawn and lethargic since he was sick. His appetite was down and he just seemed worn out. He went to bed early and had to be woken up each morning.
I was concerned but the doctors told me they couldn't see anything symptomatic. I thought perhaps he just got hit harder than the rest of us by the bug which swept through our family. And certainly I was having lingering exhaustion as well, so perhaps I was worrying too much.
I had noticed he had a loose tooth and I thought that must be contributing to the problem. With Alex's oral sensitivities, loose teeth are a nightmare, often throwing him off for weeks at a time. But usually it's more of a mild irritability.
I decided to go with the standard "mom" cure of food and rest. Make sure he ate plenty. Make sure he got lots of sleep. Wait for nature to triumph over bacteria or virus.
This weekend, the loose tooth popped out and it was as if a curtain had been pulled back. Almost immediately his appetite perked up and the sparkle returned to his eyes. It was literally as if someone gave me my boy back.
It's hard to describe if you haven't experienced it as a parent. Seeing your child stumble through life, worn out ... it's like seeing a zombie in your child's place. It took less than five minutes for Alex to go from zombie to himself again, which tells me that this tooth must have been worse than usual.
It's a definite reassurance. We have been planning to gradually reduce his medication to see how he does without it. He's been on Prozac for a year now and it certainly helped with his ability to pay attention and focus. It was as if it calmed an underlying anxiety and gave him the mental room to stop ducking and start paying attention to the world again. I'm not a fan of medication and tried everything else I could think of first, but I can't deny that it worked.
I don't want to deny him something which helps him to function, but at the same time, I also don't want him left vulnerable to side effects or other problems with long-term usage. I want to see if he has gained skills which allow him to cope or if the anxiety has lessened. We're taking it very slowly, over a period of several months. I'll definitely keep you all posted.