So, the kid has reflux, and I had a somewhat disheartening, half-hour telephone conversation with his gastroenterologist who is prescribing yet another drug for me to give to my nine-year-old son Calvin. The drug, Omeprazole, has a decently long list of side effects and appears to help only in the short term. The drug is known to interact with one of Calvin’s seizure meds—might amplify the anticonvulsant drug blood levels and thus the side effects of said medication—the drug, as a result, when discontinued could trigger withdrawal seizures.

I asked the doctor to call Calvin’s pediatric epileptologist to find out about the specifics of these possible drug interactions. I asked her to call a functional medicine specialist to see if an alternative treatment might work such as deglycyrrhizinated licorice, aloe, apple cider vinegar or perhaps even medical marijuana. I asked her, if we end up giving him the drug she prescribed, when he would take it since it likely can’t be given at the same time as his anticonvulsant medication and must be given on an empty stomach, which given those two directives might be difficult if not impossible to achieve. It seemed like her patience was wearing thin with my list of demands, and so I said to her quite firmly:

“If you don’t have a child like Calvin—and it doesn’t matter if you treat a hundred zillion kids just like him every day—you can never know what it’s like or what he has to go through with these drugs, which is why I have to advocate and ask so many questions because he can’t tell us anything.”

After that, she took a more conciliatory tone, tried to assuage my irritation, even reiterated what I’d said about being his advocate. But when I hung up the phone I knew that my tirade might not have sunk in, but maybe—just maybe—it will make a difference in his treatment. At the very least, as my husband always tells me, I can always hope.

photo by Michael Kolster

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