So . . . I haven’t been around lately, at all. Not on Facebook, not really on Twitter and definitely not here. And I’ve missed it all. But something more pressing has been keeping me occupied, and once it was under control, well I’d kind of lost my mojo. Again.
You all know that all three of my children had viral meningitis this summer. Oh the joy. Violet had it the worst because we didn’t know what was going on — we initially thought it was just a stomach virus. Since she went the longest without treatment it took 2 1/2 days to get it all under control. Which left her with some side effects we had no idea were coming.
About 6 weeks after the meningitis things started getting weird with her and then they got violent. She had such raging tantrums that I was forced to empty her room because her toys provided ammunition to launch at me. She screamed. She jumped on her bed. She yelled strange insults at me. When she’d done this twice in a row I sought the help of a dear friend, Lisa, who knows so much about brain function, environmental issues, allergies etc. Her son has mild autism and she is a wealth of knowledge. As I cried to her about Violet’s behavior, she started questioning me about other things, and we made a list of symptoms and dates they started. What resulted was a timeline that started after her meningitis.
Things I saw included violent temper tantrums, sleeplessness, clinginess, quick mood changes, recurrent headaches and a fear of doctors. I made an appointment with her pediatrician, talked with her teacher, my therapist (who is also a child therapist) and social worker at her school. Then I started to research all this myself.
Meningitis and The Mayo Clinic as well as several other sites listed after effects of meningitis: temper tantrums, sleeplessness, clinginess, quick mood changes, recurrent headaches and a fear of doctors.
What? Not a single doctor told me took for after effects. And I didn’t research the meningitis while she was sick because I knew I’d get all sorts of scary, ridiculous results.
I called two friends of mine who’s family members had experienced meningitis. I simply asked, “What happened after the meningitis?” One said, “You mean like behavior changes or tantrums?” What? She knew? And the other told me her brother had headaches for 6 months after.
We had blood tests done to rule out any other problems such as a hyper active thyroid. We had an MRI done. Saw an ENT. Everything was normal.
We went to the therapist and started to work on the actual behaviors — because even if they were a result of the meningitis we couldn’t live our lives walking around just waiting for the next explosion and all nervous about it.
So. Time has passed. She’s been to see the therapist twice now. Talked with social worker who gave her some books on anger to read. We have ‘anger rules’ up in the kitchen and her room. She’s earning toys back. She takes melatonin to get to sleep each night. She questions whether or not she’s going to have ‘a needle’ every time we go to the doctor – and remember, we went to the pediatrician, had blood drawn, were sedated for the MRI then went to the ENT. So she’s very worried. She is very clingy and tends to do it more around a lot of people. She’s tantrumed in front of two of her friends — who thankfully had experienced similar behavior in their own home so they just shrugged it off.
At first this consumed me. I searched the internet for hours. I talked to my friends. I asked for many, many prayers. I talked extensively about it to my therapist. My anxiety level has shot through the roof.
But I’m starting to see the other side now. She’s doing much, much better. She hasn’t had a full on tantrum in about 3 weeks. She’s beginning to learn that she needs to take a break from us when she starts to feel angry.
So this are starting to get better. Our home life is pretty normal now, no eggshell walking and no searching the internet for hours.
I think we’re going to be okay.