My sister called me this morning to see if I could talk my nephew into taking his medicine. He has the flu and is very sick but won’t take the medicine. I just talked to her again and she said she had to wrestle him down and force it in him, but then he spit it everywhere. It reminded me of all the times that I had to literally sit on my youngest pinning her arms beside her to slowly inject the medicine into her mouth with a syringe. She would gag, spit, scream, cry, and make herself so upset that she would throw the medicine right back up. There was one time just after she was first diagnosed with Eosinaphillic Esophagitis that was so horrible that I was crying too. I was attempting to give her a new med. I was literally sitting on top of her trying to get it in her mouth, and she worked herself up so bad that she actually threw up blood. Of course that freaked me out and I just lost it. I decided then that there had to be a different way. I could not continue to do that to her every day. It was too traumatizing for both of us. Her food therapist and I were also concerned that if I continued to have to force it in her, it was going to make her reject food even more. We couldn’t let that happen. I had to make the difficult decision to not give it to her anymore. I called the doctor and told him that he had to find another med or something instead of what we were doing. I knew that she had to have the medicine or her esophagus would get much worse, but I just couldn’t do it. Thankfully her amazing doctor had another thing to try, which turned out to be great and what she still uses today.
Trying to give liquid medicine to a child who has severe oral aversions is nearly impossible, but I know that it can be difficult to give any young child medicine especially when they are not feeling well to begin with. Let’s face it, most liquid medicines are disgusting, and their little brains cannot comprehend the fact that the medicine will make them feel better no matter how many times you say it. You would think with all of the advancements and research in medications, they would be able to come up with something to make them taste better. I know that you can get flavor added to some medications for kids, but those options were never available for the types of medicines my daughter had to take. Honestly, those flavors often don’t really make it taste a whole lot better anyway.
I see moms posting on Facebook and Instagram all the time asking advice on how to get their child to take their medicine. I did it myself back in the day and am reminded of it every single year when it pops up in my Facebook memories. I think I have tried every single trick that is out there with my daughter. She has taken at least 4-5 medications a day since she was 4 years old, and she will be 11 in 2 days. That’s a long time and a lot of medicine. None of those tricks ever really worked for us, though. We tried everything like hiding it in the one food that she would actually eat (applesauce), and that just made her refuse to eat applesauce, which was life threatening for her. I tried bribery, sitting on her, holding her nose so she had to open her mouth, blowing in her face to make her swallow, and even rubbing her throat to get her to swallow. I know some of those sound horrible (Trust me, they were!), but when you are desperate to get medicine in your child because her survival depends on it, you are willing to do just about anything. We, as parents, sometimes have to do whatever it takes. Thankfully now, my daughter is able to swallow pills, but even trying to get her to do that a few years ago was very difficult. It never failed that when it was time to introduce a new medicine, my husband would be deployed and I had to bare the burden alone. Those were some really tough days that are forever burned in my memory. I honestly think that those rough days and me being the one that had to force it are part of the reason why she has had so much anger towards me over the years. I was the bad guy. Sometimes moms have to be the bad guy. We have no choice. It is certainly not easy, but you have to do what you have to do. Right, moms? Sometimes it really sucks, but it all comes with being a parent. We just have to strap in and brave the bumpy ride. Just know that it will get better. My child is proof of that. There is a light at the end of the tunnel, I promise!