Taking Liquid Medications- our rough start

21 Jun

When we researched about HIV adoptions, we heard over and over…children with HIV are normal kids, they just take medicine and this is so true!  But…we thought medicine… that is no big deal.  Our oldest daughter has always been great about taking medicine.  She kind of likes medicine.  So we did not think taking or giving medicine would be any big deal at all. Plus our daughter with HIV had been taking the medicine for over a year so she would have to be used to it.  Right???

Well, the area of taking medicine was our major problem the first few months home with our daughter.  We have totally worked through all of our problems now.   So by sharing about our struggles, I don’t want to scare anyone away from a HIV adoption.   Think about it… if a child is struggling taking meds while living in an orphanage, they need a family who loves them and helps them work through their medicine issues.   Our experience should all the more encourage people to take the risk or leap of faith for a precious child.  They may need a family to help them blossom or even to survive.

Anyway, when we picked up our daughter at our agency’s transition home we got all her medication and that night sat her down, measured out the medicine and tried to give them to her.  She would not open her mouth.  Her lips were closed tight.  We eventually had to pry her mouth open to give her meds but she spit or spewed out anything we got in. 

It wasn’t a pleasant thing to do your first night with her new daughter.  It was awful and heartbreaking.  I hate to think back about it.  SO the next day we went back to the transition home and talked with the doctor and nurse.  They said.. “Oh yes! she does not like to take her medicine, she tries to spit them out.”  They showed us how they gave her the medicine and told us she must take it.  They told us that she was just “testing” us.

So the rest of our trip we struggled with medication.  Sometimes we would get it down, but then she would throw it up.  She would scream, cry, and fling her body around to keep from taking these meds.   To be very honest it was sooooo stressful.  We felt unprepared for this.  No one had mentioned that our daughter might refuse her medications.  We felt a little panicky.  We kept think…they are normal kids they just take medicine…what?…taking the medicine is the big thing.

Once we got home we called our PID doctor.  They gave us a few suggestions to try until our appointment.  We tried giving her honey before the medicine, giving her chocolate, putting chocolate syrup in the medicine.  We tried medicine spoons,  syringes, and something called a Medi Bottle (a bottle with a syringe)  Nothing worked.    We could never get all the medicine down.  Some days were better than others, but all in all it was awful.

We then asked our doctor’s office if we could put the medicine in a small amount of formula and give it in her bottle.  Like stop giving her meds like we did, but try to sneak them in.  They said that the medicines that she was on would work fine all mixed up in a bottle with formula.   They gave us the green light to try that.

So that is what we went to doing.  We put her medications in her morning and nighttime bottle.  The next problem to tackle was getting her to drink all the bottle.  It was about 3 oz total (20z of formula and 4ml of one medicine, 9mls of two other medicines).  Solome would not drink more than 2 oz at a time when we brought her home.  Our doctor suspects she developed an oral aversion due to her medications.  She was a little concerned that it might make her reject her formula (her main calorie intake), but we took the risk and started putting her meds in her bottles. 

We knew we could not continue to force her to take the meds.  We felt like she was bonding so well to us, but we all were being traumatized by the meds thing.  Solome for the most part would drink all her bottle, but sometimes at night she would not.  This made our doctor concerned because if children don’t take their medications properly they can build up a resistence to the medication.  At one point our doctor said that we should take our daughter off the medicine to help her work through her oral aversion, but we were nervous about doing that so we kept at it and worked through it. It took us about four months to work through all the problems, but we finally have (for now?).  For us sitting with a child and trying to get them to drink a bottle w/meds was a lot better than trying to force them down. 

Thinking back about our medication problems reminds me how stressful it was.  You feel like you have failed as a parent because you can’t get their life saving medicine into your precious child.  I thank and praise God that He gave us the grace and strength to make it through this problem.  Now giving her medicines isn’t a big deal at all now.  “She is just a normal kids who just takes medicine.”  I will post more later about how we are continuing to work through her problem of oral aversion that may have been brought on by taking liquid meds.  

I will close by saying that our daughter is a HUGE blessing and is our little sweetheart.   We can’t imagine not having her in our family.


One Response to “Taking Liquid Medications- our rough start”


  1. Taking Liquid Medications- Oral Aversion? « - July 9, 2010

    […] Adoption, HIV/AIDS Adoption, HIV/AIDS Medicine, oral aversion by Kay Joy Despite Difficulties and Taking Liquid Medications – our rough start were about some of the challenges we have or are facing.  Today, I will write about another […]

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