The first thing that came to mind was Shirley MacLaine telling her daughter Suzanne, played by Meryl Streep, that she hadn't doped her as a child. She had given her over-the-counter medication to help her sleep when she was a child. I found the scene sad but a little bit funny, too. It was a movie. I was supposed to laugh. I wasn't laughing when it happened to me.
The verdict came back on the cause of my grandson Connor's death. He died of a Benadryl overdose. Now all the things that I wondered about from his pictures make sense.
Connor and Sierra always had sippy cups full of juice and both of them looked a little glassy-eyed. Connor looked as though he was breathing through his mouth all the time and I wondered if he might have a mental health issue, possibly a learning disability, but I do not remember my son telling me that Connor had trouble understanding or grasping new concepts. It was just my imagination, I told myself. There's nothing wrong with Connor, unless it is a permanent case of congestion and runny nose. Connor did usually have a runny nose in his pictures.
Now it all makes sense. Connor and Sierra were doped up with Benadryl and Connor died of an overdose. I could not imagine giving a child Benadryl unless he had a wasp or bee sting or an itchy rash for which the doctor would have prescribed the antihistamine. I was all at sea, but the tide came rushing in. My grandson didn't need to die. He was murdered by ignorance and his caretaker's need to keep him calm and quiet. Suddenly, the big wave hit.
I wanted more information and researched Benadryl overdose in children. Although available in liquid form, the drug is not supposed to be given to children under the age of 6, and then rarely. Connor was 2.
There were numerous articles on children being dosed with Benadryl to keep them quiet in day care situations and by their mothers. I know how difficult small children can be -- I had 3 small children about 18 months to 2 years apart -- but it never occurred to me to dose them, to in essence slip them a mickey to keep them quiet. That was what discipline was for.
I had my tricks, like promising the boys they didn't have to take a nap if they could lie quiet in their beds with their eyes shut for 15 minutes. If at the end of that time they were still awake, they could get up, but they never did get up. They took naps and I had peace and quiet for about an hour. I looked forward to those naps.
My mother used to give me Dramamine when I was little and we were driving long distances. I got car sick all the time and the Dramamine kept me from getting sick. I missed a whole lot, or at least I wasn't aware of where we went or what passed outside the windows, not consciously anyway, but I still seemed to know what was happening even in my sleeping state. Had my mother given it to me all the time, I might have died as the diphenhydramine depressed my breathing and autonomic functions until I was dead, but she only used it on me when I was over 6 and, again, rarely. Sitting in the front seat kept the motion sickness at bay.
It was appalling to read the cases where day care workers, babysitters, and parents had killed children by dosing them with Benadryl to keep them quiet and calm. I never knew people could or would do that to a child. Noise and fractious children are part of the package. I shouldn't have been surprised since diagnosing children with ADD and ADHD and pumping them full of drugs is the norm. Instead of helping children to learn to control the fidgets, it's just easier to drug them into submission.
Now that I know why my grandson died and my feelings swing wildly from a fresh hell of grief to a desire for violent and protracted vengeance for the man who killed my grandson. My son doesn't even know this man killed his son, his only son, and I fear what will happen if he finds out before the authorities can finish their investigation of the twins' guardian and sentence him to prison. He could get 4 months or up to 6 years from what I read. Somehow, that is just not enough. I want 25 years to life, but a child's life is not as valuable as an adult's life, and it wasn't premeditated, unless you consider stocking up on liquid Benadryl and dosing the twins several times a day every day premeditation. I am glad that Sierra didn't suffer a fatal overdose as well. At least she is with family now and far from harm.
The laws regarding this kind of situation are not severe enough. Children are the future, even though the future is looking increasingly like a drug addled haze. Maybe that is why zombie literature is on the rise; so many people are walking around the worse for medications to keep them calm, happy, functional on some level, and sane that it is hard to remember a time when people got through the day without drugs. Well, there was my mother, and many people like her. If you had a problem, she had a pill. My response is to not take drugs if I can avoid them. I prefer natural remedies, which is after all where the synthesized versions originally came from.
With massive drug recalls in the news nearly every day and over the counter medications being pulled because they cause cancer or have dangerous side effects that some numbers cruncher decided was worth the risk of a class action suit because the corporation would make more money than they would lose, it's hard to trust anything that is offered as a panacea to whatever pain or situation needs handling. It is this very mind set that cost my grandson his life. How many more children have to die before we realize that we have been lied to and manipulated and do something about it? My something is this, writing about it, and it barely scratches the surface of what I feel and how angry I am. I hope that I am not alone in my anger. It would do us all good to stand up and say, "No More!"
And now I wait.