Sunday, October 23, 2005

I KNOW Better!!

In one of my recent posts, I was foolish enough to ask "What next?" when referring to Z's TS. Thursday, we found out what's next.

Z's OCD strikes again. For the last year Z has been insisting that he has appendicitus. He's basing this on an occasional mild discomfort in his lower left abdomen. I'm sure that his constant rubbing and poking of the spot is not helping matters.

The last couple of weeks Z has become obsessed with the appearance of his stool. I won't go into details, but these conversations haven't been pleasant. When I came home from work on Thursday, Z was in tears. He'd been researching digestive tract illnesses and was certain that he has an ulcer or cancer. He finally agreed to go to the doctor. With all the worrying he's been doing an ulcer is a possibility. We lucked out and managed to get an appointment that afternoon with the on-call doctor.

When we arrived at the clinic, we found that Z was running a low-grade fever (100.2). The doctor said the fever could be because Z is a "fidgety guy". I explained that Z has TS and the "fidgets" are tics. The doctor thought it would be a good idea for Z to see a pediatric gastroenterologist. The closest one we have is at the Mayo Clinic, but he makes a weekly visit to the Duluth Clinic in Duluth. The doctor said he'd rather be "safe than sorry", especially since he recently sent a girl Z's age to this doctor and they discovered she had Krohn's Disease. With Z's OCD, the doctor felt that if he got a clean bill of health, Z's obsession with stomach problems would disappear. I guess it's worth a try.

Thursday night we discovered that Z's fever was a result of a mild case of stomach flu. After vomiting, he felt much better. Mostly because his vomit didn't look like coffee grounds, which he said is a sign of a peptic ulcer. Oh, brother!

Friday Z spent the day researching anxiety related illnesses and decided that maybe? Mom was right. He could be causing his own stomach problems. Really?! He's relaxed a LOT since this revelation and is recovering from his bout of stomach flu.

In the meantime, we now have a 3 p.m. appointment with the gastroenterologist on Dec 8th in downtown Duluth. I don't know if any of you have ever driven in downtown Duluth, but it's something you definitely DON'T want to do in the winter! We'll probably have to spend the night in Duluth, as it will be dark after Z's appointment, and my night driving ain't what it used to be. This means I'll have to take 2 days off work(unpaid). I sure hope this is worth it!

Yesterday Z started obsessing about constipation, as he hasn't gone for a couple of days. Well, DUH! He hasn't eaten hardly anything for 2 days. Welcome to the world of the OCD child!


At 10/23/2005 10:08 AM, Blogger Sadie Lou said...

That was an exausting read. I feel tired for you. It's hard enough when you think your kid might be sick something strange--let alone a kid that could be making themselves sick with someing strange. You had to go to the doctor on call but I'm assuming his regular doc knows all about his TS and has a history on Z, right?
Does he record all these anxious ideas of Z's?

At 10/23/2005 10:33 AM, Blogger tshsmom said...

Yeah, his regular doctor has everything documented. They have a new computer system now, so all Z's records, come up on the screen. The doctor read the pediatric neurologist's report while we were there, so he was pretty well up to speed.
This is the first time Z's had a health issue with TS.
BTW, our family doctor is on vacation in CA right now. If you run into him, send him home.;) His daughter has been coming to ME for advice on teething and her baby's first cold because her parents are on vacation. Maybe I should send HIM a bill?

At 10/23/2005 5:05 PM, Blogger Wandering Coyote said...

I thought this was an exhausting read, too, but I commend Z for doing his own research and coming to a logical conclusion on his own without the help of a specialist (which I know costs you lots of money down there - ouch!). As I've said before, doing your own research is always the best FIRST course of action, and provides you with much better info than most docs give out.

Is it worth trying to encourage him to start listening to his gut (metaphorically, of course)? I mean, if your sense, and his, is that the problem has been resolved, why rush off to the doctor? Perhaps there is a learning opportunity here for him.

At 10/23/2005 6:14 PM, Blogger Squirl said...

The internet has soooo much information out there. Someone with OCD could really get hooked and end up with all kinds of imaginary illnesses. Don't get me wrong, I love the internet. You just need a level of maturity to handle all of the info out there.

Good luck with your boy.

At 10/23/2005 6:34 PM, Blogger SME said...

Cheer up, he might become a doctor!

Now that Z knows more about anxiety and its relationship to his stomach, maybe you can skip the visit to the gastroenterologist? (Did I spell that right?) Dad and I can both testify that it's usually the anxiety that messes up your stomach, not the other way around. When I had stomach problems I had a lot of weird symptoms and no idea what to make of them, but I haven't had any serious stomach problems for over four years now. It's the same with a lot of symptoms of depression; once I know that they're being caused by depression and not by some disease or something, they usually go away or at least lessen. Once I thought there was something wrong with my eyes because when I tried to read, the letters on the page would literally swim around and I couldn't keep one line of text straight from the next (same with signs). Eventually it went away, but one day when I was being a big fat cliche and reading "The Bell Jar", I was stunned to read Sylvia Plath's description of the exact same reading problem! She, too, thought something was wrong with her eyes. But it definitely the depression. Anyway, better stop typing. This is a rather long comment, heehee.

At 10/23/2005 8:42 PM, Blogger Bridget Jones said...

Wow Tshsmom, it was exhausting to read and poor YOU had to LIVE it!! But there's much great advice in these comments too.

Wouldn't hurt to go on to see the specialists, mostly to eliminate Crohn's from your mind. The OCD brain---man you don't want him to latch onto to somthing and not let go. But as sme said, if he winds up as a doctor--FABulous!!

Best of luck and thinking of you...Bridg

At 10/24/2005 12:27 AM, Blogger MonicaR said...

Oh goodness - I found out the hard way that I shouldn't research medical conditions. One of my sisters and I had ourselves convinced that we must have terrible diseases. Hers was 'wet leprosy'. LOL! She even went to the doctor about it. I had something horrible that I can't remember the name of. My husband was convinced he had colon cancer - and would announce it to everyone in the lull of a family dinner. Your son has some companions out here in the world who know what he's going through.

Good luck to you. Hang in there. Glad linking anxiety with stomach problems is helping. Life is so hard sometimes - I swear.

(None of us had any horrible disease though. We've learned our lesson about looking medical conditions up on the internet...)

At 10/24/2005 6:42 AM, Blogger Laura said...

All I can say is "OY". I can't imagine the frustration. I remember reading about OCD in Psych and I don't think I could handle it. John is midly compulsive about a few things and my first reaction was try to reason with him. That doesn't work. Part of you just wants to knock some sense into him, but you know that won't help. You are one strong woman, I'd never be able to deal with that...

At 10/24/2005 11:20 AM, Blogger Sadie Lou said...

His daughter has been coming to ME for advice on teething and her baby's first cold because her parents are on vacation. Maybe I should send HIM a bill?

I think it would be super cute if you sent him a "mock" bill for your advice.
If I see your doc, *he WILL be running around with a stethoscope around his neck, right?, I will send him home.

At 10/24/2005 1:55 PM, Blogger FunkyB said...

Standing back, I can almost see the humor in this post. The fact that he researches possible causes of "symptoms" and then procedes to diagnose himself with everything from an ulcer to ebola...

But up close, I understand this frustration. Today, CadiBug has a tumor. She has been smelling burning rubber. Well, DUH...the people across the street just towed their car into the driveway because it blew a tire.

At 10/24/2005 2:26 PM, Blogger DaDog said...

Would you go explain all of this calmly to my mom?

At 10/24/2005 10:02 PM, Blogger Sagepaper said...

Okay, I'll wade into this. I'm on Z's side. Doubtless, I don't have the whole picture here, but I'll take his side nonetheless. Without biofeedback training, even informally with a thermometer at home, Z cannot "scare up" a fever. I have a good case of TS and have always run low in temperature. Most people who exercise do not become feverish. There is always a danger of seeing only one diagnosis when more than one might exist. Stomach problems are closely linked with psychological problems -- stress doesn't cause your liver to go into tizzy.

Still, there is a reason GI specialists are in business. H.pylorie is a common bacteria which causes much symptomatic mischief, and poses a cancer threat down the road. It's cured with a regimen of anti-biotics. It seems to be spreading down here in Georgia.

I hope Z doesn't have that or any other problems. If he does have H.pylorie, treating it promptly will nip it in the bud and put the matter to rest. Hopefully, everything will be alright. Your appointment is far enough in advance that I think you could reasonably cancel it if he does better for a while.

I sympathize with you. It must be exhausting to have to track down every medical worry he has. Just because crying wolf is a favorite utterance doesn't mean you don't have to be a vigilant parent. I hope he does not end up doing what I do: I'll insist I'm dying if I have gas pain, and will only once mention softly that I coughed up something kind of reddish. My husband reacts to the squeaky wheel -- he aggressively treats my gas pains, but took over a year to understand that I was coughing up blood every day.

At 10/25/2005 11:21 AM, Blogger Sadie Lou said...

Hey guess what?! HBO Family channel is doing a show called "I Have Tourette's but Tourette's Doesn't Have Me"
It will be airing at the end of the month I think--do you have HBO? It's about kids dealing with Touerret's

At 10/25/2005 3:21 PM, Blogger tshsmom said...

Thanks for the feedback everybody!

Z's doing MUCH better this week. He decided that he didn't want to ruin his health with anxiety. He's trying really hard to stay upbeat, and keeping busy to keep his mind off his obsessions.

His appointment is several weeks away, so we're keeping it for now. Z will decide, when the time comes, if he thinks it's necessary to go to the specialist.

OCD, ADD, and the "storms" of TS are tough to deal with. As Laura says, you just want to whop him upside his head and say "GET OVER IT!", but that doesn't work. It just increases his anxieties. We try to keep everything calm and low key when dealing with Z's disorders. The minute we start yelling, everything escalates out of control.

I hear ya, Robin. Intolerance of certain smells is a TS trait. There's certain smells that drive Z right over the edge! I'm just thankful that he doesn't goe ape over the texture of his clothing like some TS kids do.

Sage, once again your insight is right on! You have been an invaluable friend, helping me to understand WHY Z is doing some of the things he's doing.

Dadog, if you're serious, I'd be happy to explain any of this to your mom. Moral support is invaluable! I LOVE your sense of humor and will be visiting you again. Hang around, we're a good bunch of people.

Sadie, that figures! We recently switched from HBO to Starz because they had better movies. Dang!! If you get the chance, watch The Tic Code. It's a fictional movie dealing with TS. It doesn't get into all the traits and behaviors, but it has a good slant on tics.

At 10/25/2005 5:18 PM, Blogger The Zombieslayer said...

That doesn't sound like fun. I just hope he starts listening to Mom more often.

At 10/25/2005 5:44 PM, Blogger tshsmom said...

ZS, I've been trying to convince my family of that for YEARS!! ;)

At 10/25/2005 5:54 PM, Blogger Z-kid said...

Yes, Mothers know best. Everbody who commented here was a great inspiration. Thanks! BTW, if the name didn't give it away, i'm Z.

At 10/26/2005 8:36 PM, Blogger DaDog said...

"Dadog, if you're serious, I'd be happy to explain any of this to your mom. Moral support is invaluable! I LOVE your sense of humor and will be visiting you again. Hang around, we're a good bunch of people."

I am not serious, my mother and I haven't spoken in a decade. But it gives me great hope to see someone so patient with someone so (insert preferred descriptor here: Different, special, whatever floats your boat) as Z.

More power to ya'.

At 10/27/2005 3:30 PM, Blogger tshsmom said...

Thanks Dadog! We do it out of love. I'm sorry that you and your mom don't have that kind of bond.
Unfortunately, the world isn't a perfect place and humans definitely aren't perfect. ;(

At 10/28/2005 9:12 AM, Blogger zydeco fish said...

Well, on the lighter side, aren't we all obsessed with the appearance of our stool? :-)

At 10/28/2005 2:28 PM, Anonymous ann said...

in my humble opinion, i think you have to keep the december 8th appointment. i'm sorry that you have to miss two days of pay, though! however, even if Z feels better by then, getting a clean bill of health from a specialist might help him.

At 10/28/2005 3:57 PM, Blogger tshsmom said...

We're kind of leaning this way now too, Ann.

Not this chick, ZF! LOL

At 10/29/2005 4:22 PM, Blogger greatwhitebear said...

Wow.lot's of great comments! I should say that hypocondria isn't limited to ts kids!

I have a niece and a child who are both ADD. We used to have to hide medical books from them, because if we didn't every little ache and pain became a sure fire calamity. So I smiled a bit while i empathised!

And ZF, you are so right, and I am so impressed (and not a little frightened) that you would admit that! Incidentally, I have a grown step daughter who will still go into great discriptive details of unusual stools!

At 10/29/2005 6:41 PM, Blogger tshsmom said...

Thanks GWB! We have a lot in common with our kids. Misery loves company?


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