I think I owe you an apology. I fear I may have jinxed you, my dear. I was talking with Miss Tammy this past Friday night as she was returning home from an unexpected doctor visit. The visit resulted in none other than a positive flu diagnosis for her youngest when I said it. “I’m surprised with all the exposure we have had, none of us have gotten it!” Fast forward 12 hours later to Saturday morning where you woke up with a fever and vomiting. Yep, we got it. Ahhhhhhhh! Why did I say that?! It’s awful to see you this way and the chaos has only just begun...
You see Addie when a child is sick it can be a very heartbreaking experience for parents. And when an autistic child is sick, it’s equally heartbreaking, but also is a true test of emotions, instincts, and can really take the experience to a whole new level.
These days just about anywhere we go the grocery store, school, the mailbox; unfortunately, seem like taking a stroll through a giant petri dish for the flu. Unless you own a hazmat suit, it’s pretty much unavoidable. May the force be with us all!
You don’t outwardly confess your feelings like “mommy, my tummy hurts” or “I don’t feel good”, nope instead you’ll just unexpectedly start vomiting (intensely) wherever you are: in the living room, in our bed, on the stairs – God forbid if daddy is close by, with all amazing things daddy is and does, he doesn’t do vomit very well (or at all), and this could easily start a chain reaction of puke... a chugga chugga "puke" "puke" train... NOBODY wants on that train, and especially not your daddy!
With an obvious lack of communication, never really knowing exactly what is wrong, and the doctor being sometimes more anxiety for you than it’s worth (Just to be clear we are not anti-doctor), illnesses with you can start to feel like the longest game of charades ever played. For someone like yourself who doesn’t like their head touched, getting your nose swabbed for the flu or your tonsils for strep, can be more dangerous than helpful if you moved the wrong way. We, therefore, become hyper-focused looking for little changes in your mannerism and appearance to tell us when somethings up.
Let’s start with the fever. Our house has 4, yes 4 different thermometers ranging from oral, ear and even the overpriced fancy roll across your forehead one. None of which you tolerate of course, nor do they give the same or accurate temperature at that. Dear thermometer companies – this is not helpful! Sincerely every parent on Earth! With the lack of accurate temperature devices in our house, we test out our parental instincts looking for those rosy cheeks indicating a fever has set in and only confirm that with my built in the good ole back of the hand thermometer.
There will be tubbies almost hourly – not even necessarily for any other reason than you can communicate this perfectly and I think without saying so it makes you feel more comfortable when you’re not feeling well. I get that.
The washing machine will run almost 24-7 on a sanitizing cycle (Which is like an hour longer than most cycles) and the neighborhood could certainly line up to enjoy a free WWF show of our own when it’s time to get give you any sort of fever reducing medicine – I'll admit we have seen progress here.
We’ll entertain the BRAT diet concept, but with your persistence of liking what you like and the sensory feedback it provides, we’ll start to wish it was more of a COATS diet – Carrots, Onions, Apples, Taco meat and Squares (yes, your beloved pink starburst squares.) Not exactly tummy settling.
I’ve discovered I have a love/hate relationship with pull-ups (yes, you are still wearing pull-ups). Over the years (I’ve been changing diapers for a LONG time now – and let’s just say you don’t exactly have sweet baby poop diapers anymore) I’ve realized I actually have certain “poop smells” I prefer over others. Can you believe that?! I have a preference of poop smell! Ridiculous right?! Most moms have a preference for red or white wine – for reference if you’re asking I’m not picky I’ll take what’s on hand. Never in a million years did I ever think I’d have such a preference, just a solid reminder that parenting is awesomely rewarding, just not always glamorous.
I’ll sleep with you - wait let me rephrase that, I’ll lay with you watching your every breath, while you attempt to get some much-needed rest. You’ve been known to vomit in your sleep without waking up, leaving you at greater risk for possible aspiration, so there’s that too. I'll be a little extra tired but, no worries, sometimes being a mommy can seem like a weird science experiment of how little sleep do you actual need function. In another 5 days when you’re hopefully well on your way to feeling better again, I’ll sleep. In the meantime, you are my priority and coffee will become my new best friend.
So, Addie, Yes, I may have jinxed you with this flu bug that has set up shop in town, or maybe we are all just mini ticking time bombs to a cluster of nasty viruses going around? Either way we absolutely hated seeing you a miserable SADdie, but with how serious this flu has been this year, I’m happy to report you’ve rallied and are back on your way to showing off your beautiful dimples.
Welcome back GLADdie we missed you!