Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Nothing like a placebo

Lukas has confidence that Tylenol and Motrin will cure all his illnesses...if those won't work, then Benadryl, Mucinex, Dimetapp or Zyrtec will help.

But what do I do when he has something that can't be cured (or, rather, the symptoms can't be suppressed) by a medicine, or it's too soon to give another dose of Tylenol...and he's begging me to give him a medicine? I give him a placebo.

My placebo of choice is apple juice...but I give it to him in the same medicine dispenser he gets his REAL medicines in. Nothing like a disguise!

The first time I ever did this, he asked me what it was (he always asks me the name of the medicine I give him). And I used my usual tactic when I don't want to tell him what something is...I give him the French name for it. So I said, "It's pomme." "Mom, pomme tastes like apple juice."

He caught me.

I've also used this "other language" tactic when I'm trying to get him to eat a food that I know he doesn't like, namely potatoes. Oops, the French word for potatoes, pommes de terre (apples of the ground) is a little too close to that other word I've been using for a placebo. So I've also called the dish "root vegetable". And after he takes a taste, Lukas says, "This root vegetable tastes like potatoes."

He caught me.

Back to the placebo. Lately Lukas has had a cough that won't go away (it's been more than 4 weeks since he had the cold that began this cough), especially at night when we're all trying to sleep. A couple of nights ago I tried Zyrtec again, and we all had an uninterrupted night's sleep. Then last night I gave him half a dose (because I had given him half a dose during the day to help his daytime coughing), and he still coughed all night. So I didn't give him any Zyrtec this morning because I want to save the full dose for right before bed.

But he's still coughing during the day, so I decided to give him some Mucinex to see if his cough would be more productive during the day.

Even though I haven't given him a placebo in months, after he drank the Mucinex, he said, "I don't get pomme anymore."

If only apple juice cured all our ills. At least it satisfies Lukas. And he hasn't figured out the disguise yet...pomme is his favorite medicine, perhaps because I don't give it that often...IN A MEDICINE DISPENSER!

Check out other great ideas at Shannon's site!


Kelly said...

Cindy you are so clever!! I will file this blog post away until I need to try it out in AnnaKate.

See another reason hwy you need another child...to continue to use your clever tactics!
Kelly W.

Kristi said...

This made me laugh. Noah loves pomme too..

Pufferfish Mommy said...

Great idea. I used to use "monster repellant" when my oldest was little, because he was up so much during the night claiming to be scared of monsters. We all know that reasoning with a scared, sleepy child in the middle of the night is pretty much impossible... so I would dab a little of my scented lotion or something like that on his wrists, and call it "monster repellant". LOL. Worked like a charm.

Have you tried a teaspoon of honey for the coughing?

Thanks for the great tip! :)

Robyn said...

Don't mean to be downer, but have you had him checked for asthma? It may just be a lingering cough, but our son's lingering cough turned out to be asthma, brought on by allergies. The sleepless nights for weeks are horrible! Good luck, and I'll be trying the apple juice trick.

Paige said...

I've done that with water before, too.

Tammy W said...

Sneaky, sneaky BRILLIANCE!!!!

Ana said...

Cindy you are so funny!Laughed out loud when I read this! Love it!Good idea, I'll remember this one!

Kate said...

That is a great idea. My little ones are always begging me for more medicine, especially when one of them gets it and not the others. I'll have to try this next time.