Tonight difficult child Couldn't Sleep because . . . . .


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He watched the Science Channel today and there was a story about mosquitos spreading malaria, among other things. He began to think about how dangerous mosquitos really are and that we are not even safe in our own houses from mousquitos.

Of course I reassured him that we were quite safe and that he shouldn't be afraid, etc. He said he wasn't afraid exactly - more like worried - and that he was also worried that someday he would get kidney stones , if you can believe that one. He said that when he was inpatient, the Pastor told them a story about someone who had kidney stones (this was back in late October, early November) and that ever since then he has worried that one day he would get a kidney stone. He was very near tears as we talked. Yet another thing to mention to psychiatrist & therapist, huh?? Don't I worry enough for our entire family?

We talked through it, but the question I'm left with on that one is this: What message exactly was the psychiatric hospital Pastor trying to get across to the children that the best analogy was an acquaintance with an unfortunate kidney stone problem??? :surprise:



Trying to save the day.
My difficult child has had a similar problem, but it's kind of funny when you take out the fact that he's truly scared. A few days ago he woke up having a bad dream saying he was afraid of "that bucket head thing." After some questioning, I figured out what he was afraid of. One of his favorite things to watch is America's Funniest Home Videos. He laughs and laughs at the whole thing (except if it is a video that looks like someone gets hurt - he clearly states that is NOT funny and is dangerous). About a week ago they had a segment showing short clips of people having their heads stuck in one thing or another, several of which looked like some sort of bucket. It was hilarious and whatever inspired these people to stick their heads into these things was beyond me. He was sitting on my lap watching it and was completely serious the whole time and it was obvious he did not like it at all. When I asked him why, he said he didn't like the music. I wasn't paying any attention to the music until he said that, but it was a rather ominous organ music. Now for the past several nights he doesn't want to be left alone in the bedroom because he says he is afraid he will dream of that "bucket head thing". That just reminded me of a bear that played music that he had as a baby. He would accidently switch it from the heartbeat sound to the music and would cry hysterically whenever he heard it. Hmmm...something that might be helpful to know in his evaluations. Well, I'm off to jot that down in my notes for the doctor.

Oh, but first. Let your difficult child know that kidney stones are really not that big of a deal. I've had one and although painful, it's really not something to worry about, definately not life threatening, at least I've never heard of it to be. The pain is a little like childbirth, just without the reward at the end. Although, sometimes I'd like to trade my difficult child in for that stone.

timer lady

Queen of Hearts

When kt is in her "high anxiety" mode I need to break down just the facts. Wrong climate for malaria .... wrong age for kidney stones (I could be long as it happens after next b/day, I'm safe).

Just the facts. kt takes all kinds of examples used & personalizes them; can turn it into a crisis.

So, my comments "wrong climate, ktbug" "too young ktbug" - totally depersonalizes it for her & tends to calm the situation.


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We use the education method. For us in Australia, we can't get malaria because we haven't got Anopheles mosquitoes, which you need to carry the Plasmodium (and when you look them up you can teach yourself to recognise the difference between your usual mozzies and Anopheles - it's how they sit on a wall or ceiling). We get people coming into the country who contracted malaria overseas, and it is possible that right up north there may be a few stray Anopheles making their infected way south to Cape York, but otherwise - not a chance. Besides, with modern medicine (which should be more widely available in Third World countries, but is not) malaria is much easier to treat.

Kidney stones - used to be a big deal. A friend of mine had a huge staghorn kidney stone, one in each kidney, because she was taking massive doses of calcium ascorbate (I mean several grams a day). In her day she had to have her kidneys sliced open so they could lift the things out. Now, they use sound waves in a machine called a lithotripter. You sit in a warm bath and they bombard your body with ultrasound, you can't hear it or feel it. And it breaks the stones up so they can be flushed out easily, no surgery needed. Maybe the pastor's friend had a kidney stone back in the bad old days when they had to operate. My sister had a kidney stone - by the time they found it on the X-ray she had already got rid of it all by herself.

You don't get kidney stones easily. Older people can get it if they have a long, slow build-up of certain chemicals in the blood. Young people haven't been around long enough to get these. And not many older people get them, either. With easier treatment, they never keep them long, either.

Modern medicine is a wonderful thing. We can do so much, so easily.

difficult child 3 frets about his health. One of his favourite books is his father's First Aid textbook (he hasn't found my old medical texts yet! and no, I'm not a doctor, I just studied a lot of the same subjects). difficult child 3 reads the First Aid book cover to cover, has it mostly memorised. He horrified his school nurse when he fronted up with grazed knees and was talking about "abrasions, contusions and penetrating wounds". He instructed her on the appropriate first aid treatment. But before he read it - he would panic at the sight of blood.



Well-Known Member
So sorry Marg! Beats me how these things turn into obsessions--and especially what the pastor's point was! Strange. Sounds like you're handling it well.
I just read in the paper that a US soldier got a smallpox shot and spread a related virus to his family (wife and son). They are now hospitalized. This is a scary grown-up thing!
Yes, there are scary things all over the place. We have to choose to not dwell on them, to consider the likelihood and probability of whatever-it-is happening, and choose to forge ahead and be cheerful.
I love the Desiderata of Happiness by Max Erhmann. We read it at church on the 1st anniv. of Sept. 11.
"…and whatever your labors and aspirations in the noisy confusion of life, keep peace in your soul. With all its sham, drudgery and broken dreams; it is still a beautiful world. Be cheerful."
Maybe you could find something like that in a children's book for your difficult child...


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Last night was spiders for us. difficult child 1 found one by his bed. Just a tiny one that I killed. But he was saying it was a turantula. When we told him it wasn't he said it was a black widow. He worries consantly. I have to stay in the room with him for him to go to sleep. If it isn't spiders it's something else. I'll try the education idea. We all might end up experts in everything.


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Funny emily, I hadn't thought about difficult child and insects, but reading your post got me thinking hmmmmmm. Whenever there's a show on about poisonous bugs, difficult child always asks if they're found around us. I don't think it keeps him awake, but I think it worries him more than I thought. The only thing I know really bothers him enough to stay awake is tornados. He's never experienced one, though there are a few every summer somewhere in the province. But he's got a deep fear of them, and if one's mentioned as a possibility on the weather channel it will keep him awake. I can't tell him we'll never get one, as one did hit part of our city probably 10 years ago, so it's hard to reassure him though he's better at hiding it now he's a bit older.


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This has reminded me - difficult child 1 used to be terrified of ALL animals. He would be hysterical at the sight of a kitten in a neighbour's yard. There was no reason for this that we could ever ascertain - we first saw it when he was little more than a baby. But education worked for him - birds were the breakthrough, when he went tagging birds with his father and some other experts. He quickly learnt a lot about birds and enjoyed releasing them again after all the measurements had been taken. His tiny fingers were very skilful at getting the birds safely out of the mist nets. Eventually his confidence gradually spread to other animals as his knowledge of animals increased. He is still afraid but to a far less extent. He had a couple of scares at the zoo, although safety measures should be in place to keep zoo staff safe, accidents do happen.
The funny thing is, difficult child 1's girlfriend is fostering kittens and he gets A LOT of hands on with the kittens. Studying their behaviour has, I think, been what worked for him. Once you have a better idea of what they're likely to do, you are less afraid.

Spiders - we're not all that fond of them either, but we get a lot of mosquitoes so we allow spiders to live (if they're not too nasty). Where possible, we'll evict spiders instead. We've even had a large black house spider spinning her webs in our kitchen window, inside the house. When she hatched out a lot of babies, though, she had to go.
We've got a few nasty spiders in Australia that we will kill on sight. Of course, they're thoroughly described in the first aid book too, so difficult child 3 can identify them easily. But apart from the occasional house spider and a lot of daddy-long-legs, we rarely have any spiders in the house. Outside we have the redback spider, the Aussie version of black widow. But we don't worry about them much, except to check under things we're about to pick up to make sure we're not about to put our hand on one of these. Widows won't attack, they only bite in self-defence. Funnel-web spiders, on the other hand... aggressive little beggars. mother in law hates spiders and won't even allow them in her garden, although we only remove the ones who keep building webs across the pathways. Some of our biggest and prettiest spiders are harmless to people (apart from causing a fit of hysterics). learning to recognise which are good and letting those ones alone, or simply watching them, can help a lot with spider phobia. We had a St Andrews Cross spider who used to build her web outside a permanently closed window. We could sit inside and watch her catch insects. When a male turned up we watched the courtship, laying bets on whether the male would survive the experience. The female has a body as big as an adult thumb while the male is little more than pinhead sized. We saw several males fail, and one that got away. And now, even easy child 2/difficult child 2, the most squeamish in the family, will move a garden spider using a stick rather than kill it. No more screaming hysterically.



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We do go the education route as much as possible, because our difficult child is a "fact finder" too. It works most of the time, but sometimes the more information he gets, the more he worries.

And, here we thought the Science Channel was pretty "safe" viewing!

Our difficult child doesn't like to watch anyone getting hurt, either - or anyone doing risky or dangerous things.

I talked to difficult child's counselor this morning and he said he is going to talk to difficult child about scheduling a certain amount of time that is actually dedicated to thinking about worrisome things - and then letting them go. Because he is so scheduled and a creature of habit, his counselor thinks this may work for him. I'm not too sure, but guess it can't hurt.

Tonight, I am happy to say, he is fast asleep!