Monday, September 21, 2009

Super powers 101: making the medicine go down

My children are sick right now. I have noticed that as they get older, being sick is more of an inconvenience for them. My son was upset that he had to miss school because now he would have to make up his work. My daughter was annoyed that she had to take yucky medicine. Overall, they haven't needed much attention from me. That is a good thing because I am sick now, too!

Each time one of the kids gets sick, I think about past sick experiences. Some make me shudder to this day! Mostly, I feel a certain sense of relief. I have learned a lot from those horrible days and I feel confident that I can face future illnesses armed with knowledge and experience.

The worst part of caring for a sick child is giving them medication. I have MANY horror stories about this. One of the worst was when my 4 little kids had pink-eye and kept passing it around. (You are cringing already aren't you?) It took a few weeks to get rid of it. The single, childless military doctors kept giving me terrible advice about how to administer the drops or ointment.

They recommended ointment because it doesn't sting. However, it leaves your eyes feeling greasy and you can't see well for a few minutes. Little kids don't understand, not to mention how hard it is to even get it into their eyes! I had to straddle them, pinning their arms and legs with my body , holding their head still with my knees, so I had 2 free hands to get the meds into their eyes. It was a nightmare for all of us. Finally, I saw a female reservist who suggested using antibacterial gel on their hands several times a day. That made all the difference.

Even when you don't have to hold your kids down and torture them "for their own good" getting them to take medicine can be tough. For a few years I used candy as an incentive. I would let them hold a small piece and tell them that they could not eat it until they took their medicine. This actually worked pretty well. As they got older, they realized that a Starburst was a small reward and it didn't really help them. I needed a new bribe.

My next idea came when I was sick with a terrible cough. I usually just tough it out (I hate medicine, too) but this time I needed something. Cough syrup is by far the worst medicine ever invented. It might help but it sure doesn't go down easily. As I struggled to take the horrible stuff, it occurred to me that something salty might clear my palette of the awful aftertaste. After my next dose, I ate a couple of crackers. It worked!

It was only a day or two later that I found myself trying to give the same disgusting stuff to one of my kids. This time I pulled out a bag of Cheetos. He didn't like it but he drank the medicine and practically inhaled his cheesy treat afterward.

From then on, I used this method of getting the kids to take their medicine. Some of them are old enough now to know that the medicine might be bad. They bravely take it anyway. They can understand what it is for and notice that they feel better after they take it. It is a good lesson to learn. Sometimes you have to do things you don't like. The trick is learning how to make it bearable.

1 comment:

Carrie said...

I used to threaten Ally that if she didn't take the medicine then the doctor would have to give her a I am so mean...but it worked every time.