I think he's sticking his finger down his throat

Discussion in 'General Parenting' started by wakeupcall, Sep 30, 2009.

  1. wakeupcall

    wakeupcall Well-Known Member

    I hope I'm wrong. Here I was ready to walk out the door to work, purse on shoulder, briefcase in hand. difficult child had said earlier he didn't feel well, but he says that all the time. Fifteen minutes before he said that he was tormenting the dog and being his normal disrespectful self to me. I knew he was in the bathroom....afterall the bus will be here in 20 min. and he was just beginning to get into the shower.......and as I opened the door to leave I heard him throwing up. I went to the bathroom and he was actually throwing up....ewwww. SO, I don't go to work, call the bus to not come, and the last time he did this he was fine before noon. And no, he doesn't get to do one lousy thing all day. No friends, no bike, no nuthin'. I can't help but think part of it is anxiety about being away from me....and he's almost fourteen. I don't know how to handle it. He has never missed much school, till this year. He's in a self-contained class, so I doubt it's bullying, he rides a special needs bus with only three other students. How can I get to the bottom of this? Thank goodness my boss is very understanding.....
  2. TPaul

    TPaul Idecor8

    morning wake up,
    Well there is a virus going around in our area, stomach, my children have had it this week. So it could be that. My youngest son, Luke, can go up and down when sick with something like this. He will feel bad, throw up and then be up and wanting to play or something for a bit. He goes from just laying around to having energy and wanting to be up doing something.

    It could be also nerves that get to your son, about something going on, or school related. If he is using this fingers, you might try sitting down with him and talking about it. Begin by letting him know that no matter what he tells you about it, that he will not get punished for it. Make him feel assured that he can be honest with you about what is going on. If he will admit to doing what you think he is, then try to get him to open up about why he is doing it. Is he wanting to get away from something from school? Is he wanting more time with you and using this method to try and get it?
    What ever he is honest and tells you, explain that he could hurt himself doing this action and get him to talk about different ways to handle this.

    Good luck
  3. Hi Wake Up,

    My son came down with what I think is the flu two days ago. He's older, and he went from happy camper to dancing with the porcelain bowl within minutes. I 've never seen anything like it, it just came on like gangbusters. I would have thought it was food poisoning if I hadn't done some research and found out that H1N1 can present like this.

    I would trust my Mommy instinct, but this flu is really making the rounds here in our area. Most of his friends have had it, or are dealing with it right now. I hope he feels better soon!
  4. aeroeng

    aeroeng Mom of Three

    It could be a real illness, but my difficult child did that when he was much younger (age 2 to 3), and wanted attention. The Dr. always said to ignore the negative behavior. He would put his finger right down the back of his throat, and then he would play with the results. Well you can't ignore that. I would pick him up, wash him off, put him in bed and walk away. Walking away help the most, because when he found out that he did not get the attention he eventually quit doing it.

    But yours is a different, your difficult child is not a toddler. But I still think you need to find a way so that it does not work for him. Maybe let him stay home, but don't spend anymore then the bare minimum with him, and practically no attention. In bed, in a quiet room with no one to talk to (particularly you). Then do give him lots of attention in good situations. If it keeps up, take him to a Dr. to check out the potential for a chronic illness. (Maybe show him upper and lower GI procedures?)
  5. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    My Reactive Attachment Disorder (RAD) son, who had to leave due to his destruction toward animals and the younger kids, used to routinely make himself barf (and admitted it to the Residential Treatment Center (RTC) once he was removed). We took him to doctor after doctor and everyone was puzzled.

    I have no idea if this is going on with your son, but I wanted to let you know that it's could be possible. If it goes on for a long time I'd be more suspicious than if it just happens once or twice.

    Is he getting picked on by his peers for riding the "short bus?" That can happen and cause anxiety.
  6. Marguerite

    Marguerite Active Member

    THis also could still be due to anxiety. It can be that bad. difficult child 3 would seem fine, happy and no problems, but as soon as we were heading to school (or often after he got there) he would complain of nausea. At school he was vomiting often several times a day. I would get called to come collect him. Often I had to cancel doctor's appointments I was already o nthe way to, because I had to turn back and collect my child. it got so that when I had a doctor's appointment I would give difficult child 3 a day off school so I wouldn't get disrupted. You can only cancel so many times...

    His aide and the teacher were insistent difficult child 3 was making himself sick, was actually trying to vomit but often only had the dry heaves (because he often wouldn't eat his lunch or anything else during school hours; he would bring it home and eat it after school - remember, our kids get packed lunches in Australia, sent from home).

    Then I began to pay much closer attention. I suspected he might be trying to make himself vomit, so I watched him closely. Over the summer holidays - no nausea. No problems. But a week before school was to go back, we were heading off on a drive in the car for his birthday treat (he'd asked to go to the technology museum). He voluntarily spoke up and mentioned school. "This year at school if kids are mean to me, I will just ignore them and walk away."
    I replied, "Good for you. That is the best way. All they've ever wanted from you is a reaction. By choosing to not react, you will be the winner."

    Within fifteen minutes he was complaining of nausea. Stopping the car to give him fresh air did not fix it. However, after another hour of us talking about howe much fun the museum was going to be, he began to come good.

    A few days later I was checking his clothing to see if he needed me to buy new school clothes for him. We were about to go to the mall, a place he loves. A few minutes later he felt nauseous and ran to the bathroom. He didn't have tom==ime to shut the door after him, I saw no fingers gonig in his mouth. I'm not sure he could even do it - I think he's too squeamish.

    Since then I've noticed how he can really feel very sick, purely from anxiety. He also has a hard time recognising that his feelnigs of dread plus nausea, are simply anxiety. It feels too serious. He says, "I'm dying," or "Something really awful is going to happen, I have to get out of here."

    He picks up on vibes - unusual, in someone with autism. We travelled to Tasmania, he was enjoying the trip but one day we went to Port Arthur, a historic ruin of an old penal settlment. We were waiting in the (very beautiful) gardens for a tour guide and he began with, "I feel terrible. Something very dreadful is going to happen. I have to get out of here, I have to get out..." over and over. He knew nothing of Port Arthur's recent history of being the site of a very nasty massacre, Australia's most notorious and most prolific mass murderer went on a shooting rampage there. We kept difficult child 3 with us, he wasn't able to hear the tour guide so we interpreted what we felt he could handle. The massacre wasn't mentioned, only the convict history. In Tasmania even the name of the murderer is not mentioned. We saw the memorial at the rtuins of the old Broad Arrow cafe, but kept difficult child 3 away from it. It was a very long and difficult day for him and for us, but we felt he had to see it through. It really freaked us out, though. Even now, I'm not sure if he knows the massacre story of Port Arthur.
    Next day we had to go back there to drop easy child 2/difficult child 2 off, she was going on another tour. difficult child 3 was in a panic in case we made him go back in there too. Even in the cr park he was panicking. He was OK once we went a few km up the road to a small zoo where the rest of us spent the day.

    So never underestimate the severity of symptoms that can be put down to pure terror. Medically it's called anxiety, but for a child it can be devastating.

    A kid who is choosing to stick fingers down his throat is also similarly desperate to make it stop, whatever it is.

    Either way - find a counsellor, do some digging. Be preapred for the child to not recognise a connection between feeling deathly ill, and being afraid.

    What has worked for us:

    1) removal from the worst causative situations, to begin with.

    2) Slow reintroduction to these at a rate he can handle, and when equippped with various coping strategies.

    3) Any unpleasant goings-on need to be stopped and need to be seen to be stopped. If this cannot happen, then he needs to be permanently removed from this until he can begin to handle it in small doses.

    Success in handling this, is the best cure, long-term. HE needs to know he can overcome this and move beyond it. But it's like learning to surf - first you begin with standing on the board on sand. You lie on the board and practice the paddling movements. Then you try in fairly calm shallow water. Then slowly take small steps until you're at last riding a (small) wave. As you gain experience you get to understand your board, the water and your own skills, and soon can be whatever you want, including pro surfer.
    But you can't make a kid a pro surfer, if he can't swim and doesn't know how to use a board. He has to go through the steps slowly, you don't hand the kid a board and tell him to ride the tsunami. You'll only make him terrified of the ocean.

    If the boy is deliberately making himself vomit, there is an element of deception has crept in and this will get in the way of therapy. It makes it all the more urgent to get help fast and to work on any deception component.

    But if there is doubt - go gently. Let someone else accuse, if tere are to be accusations. Because whatever it is, I strongly suspect this kid is upset by something at school and feeling desperate.

  7. Josie

    Josie Active Member

    What does he say about school? Does he mind going?

    Personally, I would treat it as a health problem until proven otherwise.

    I have had about 3 episodes in the past few months where I felt perfectly fine and then had to run to the bathroom to throw up. Without any warning really. I have never experienced anything like it. Then, afterwards, I felt fine and it didn't happen again for a few weeks. I think mine was related to taking medicine without enough food.
  8. Marguerite

    Marguerite Active Member

    Good point, Hope. All possibilities need Occupational Therapist (OT) be considered.

    Asking if he is happy about going to school won't necessarily tell you if that is a factor. GFGe3 loved going to school, was desperate to be there. School was where you had information laid out for you to learn and that made his brain feel good. But it was also where there were mean kids who were horrible to him. These mean kids also lived in the neighbourhood so unless he stayed within our gates he would still cop bullying. However, school was supposed to keep him safe. We found he did best when they put in for extra funding for a playground shadow. But that was only for one term and I couldn't make it continue. We eventaully found, In difficult child 3's case, that pullnig him out was best. However he is now old enough to be put back in to mainstream, if the bullying was the only problem. It's not, so he stays on a form of home schooling. But that's us. Different kids' needs can be met in different ways.

    And yes, this still could have a simple explanation.

    I remember y mother sending me off to college with a bottle of 'tonic". I took a dose and was prompty sick. I had little warning I was about to vomit, it was about ten minutes later.
    I've since learned that I can't take any medicine with iron in it, or copper (even trace amounts. I worked in an old building with copper hot water pipes and one of my co-workers, in a hurry to have hot water for his cup of tea, filled the kettle from the hot tap. I also had a cup of coffee and was promtly sick in the same way I react to the iron tonics. I barely made it to the sink. Afterwards I realised that the kettle MUST ALWAYS be filled from the cold tap, for me. Newer buildings with new pipes don't have this problem.

    The onset of the iron sensitivity was fairly sudden. One day I was OK taking the stuff; the next I was not.

    Anti-inflammatory medications and aspirin can do the same thing.

    There can be all sorts of reasons for a sudden vomiting attack, apparently out of the blue. And boy, do you fel better afterwards! Well, not immediately afterwards, but certainly once the nausea has passed it's a relief.

  9. GoingNorth

    GoingNorth Crazy Cat Lady

    There is a NASTY virus called 'norovirus' or 'the vomiting bug' that has been going around the past several years.

    It is the virus that makes headlines each year with outbreaks on cruise ships and at resorts.

    I've had it a couple of times and one literally can go from feeling fine one moment to puking all over oneself the next.

    The best prevention for norovirus is proper handwashing. Studies have shown that the bulk of children and a good proportion of adults do not wash their hands properly. Given that norovirus is shed in the feces, it is most often spread by touching things in restrooms.
  10. wakeupcall

    wakeupcall Well-Known Member

    He was great the rest of the day. I think it must be anxiety driven because he's sleeping in our bedroom again, too. He loves school, loves his male teacher.....is mainstreamed for Broadcasting that he loves, band, and for gym. He also has a very hard time being away from ME....always has. He even calls me from the bus on some mornings as he's being transported to school. This vomiting stuff has only happened two or three times, but it's unnerving for both of us. After vomiting I made him go back to bed and slept till after eleven o'clock. We'll see what faces us when he gets up this morning. I appreciate all your ideas; gives me a lot to think about.
  11. Marguerite

    Marguerite Active Member

    Be very wary of rewarding the illness with what he is wanting. Even if this is NOT under conscious control, you risk developing a conditioned response - "If I throw up, I get to stay home near Mom and get coddled."

    We used to have a rule - he could only stay home if he was running a fever. Then he began developing low-grade fevers with his anxiety. Again, not doing this on purpose, he was convinced he was genuinely ill with something infectious.

    That is when I began a rule - if you're home from school for ANY reason, you MUST do school work during school hours. The only way out of it, is to be in bed, asleep. That way a kid who is geuinely too ill to go to school will sleep and recover; a kid who can even sit up in bed in PJs will at least be given some bookwork to do. At first I begged work sheets from his teacher. difficult child 3 would do any outstanding homework to begin with; then worksheets, then I would find something for him to do from our own supplies. husband & I collect documentary DVDs, so difficult child 3 would get plonked down in front of the TV to watch these. Or he would get to do a computer game which is educational.

    Because we did this, he learned to keep working even when he's feeling sick. To "soldier on". That has turned out to be very useful, it set up a valuable discipline in him.