Saving Sammy: Curing The Boy Who Caught OCD by Beth Alison Maloney
Imagine… you are a newly single mom with three sons. All your boys are wonderful and your son Sammy who just completed 5th grade has been told by his teacher that he scores higher in math skills then she has ever seen.
Then that summer before 6th grade right after a move into a new home, Sammy starts some strange behavior. He refuses to use the bathroom in the house and wants to only go outside to do his bathroom “business”, he also refuses to touch door knobs, and picks up things like silverware and phones with a kleenex over his hand. Sammy slithers against walls, climbs over invisible obstacles, eats and walks with his eyes shut, hops to and from the car, has outbursts for no reason, refuses to bathe, and overall seems to be slipping into madness.
At first Beth Maloney, Sam’s mother, feels it is stress related due to her recent divorce from the boys father as well as the newness and/or strangeness of the new home. But Sammy continues to get worse, unable to visit friends, go to school when it starts, or be left unattended. Beth feels she is going crazy, missing work and visiting dr after dr as they diagnose Sammy with OCD (Obsessive Compulsive Disorder) PANDA’s and even tourettes. Later, Sammy gets to the point where he is unable to climb stairs and needs 20 – 40 minutes to get in or out of a vehicle.
This book is the true story of Beth’s undieing strength to find out what was wrong with her son, traveling to many doctor, trying many different options for cures, refusing to let go until her boy was brought back to who he once was.
Why did I want to read this book? I enjoy books about triumph over all odds and this subject matter interests me. My own son in 4th grade was told by his teacher that he had ADD. Being a young mom and having no resources to assist me, I agreed to put our son on the ADD medicine. I remember that school year being a battle as the pills had to be taken at noon but they had to remain in the main office. My son would continuously forget to go at noon to take his pill and then the office would refuse to give it to him because he did not come at the right time even though forgetfulness is a side affect of ADD. *sigh* Once summer came, I took our son off the medicine because it gave him headaches and told him we would see if a teacher said anything in the fall when he started middle school. No one ever said that he had ADD again.
I did not mean to listen to this audio book now. Ok, that sounds harsh, but in fact it is a cool thing. What I mean is last week while mowing the lawn my last audio book ended. The only book I had on my IPOD that I had not listened to yet was this one. I felt I was not in the mood for a non fiction read but felt I could listen to it until I was done mowing for the day. I instantly found myself engaged in the story line. I did not know behavior could change so quickly and I gave Beth a lot of credit for handling it as well as she did. (She admits to coming near to snapping a couple times but really – who wouldnt?)
Sammy’s story is truly incredible. The narrator, Tavia Gilbert did a nice job of reading from Beth’s perspective. She read with such intensity and passion that I had to check to make sure Beth was not reading this herself!
I would think that anyone who has a child who has been diagnosed with OCD could relate well to this book – to Beth’s celebration of the small triumphs and the sheer downfall when habits returned after feeling it may be over.