Saturday, February 4, 2012

Under the Weather

Kids get sick on a regular basis.  When your child is sick, it is very worrisome, very heartbreaking.  You want the best for them, you hate to see them suffer.  You will do anything to help them feel better.  Sleep on their bedroom floor, drive in the middle of the night to get medicine, miss important meetings at work, buy any kind of soup or popsicle or gatoraide they want, just to get something in them.  Sometimes you find yourself holding your breath as you listen to them struggling to breathe.  Sometimes, all times, you wish it were you that was sick, instead of them. 

Katie is sick.  She has a bad cold, with a runny nose, hacky cough, and sore throat.  Now this isn't the worst cold in the world, and she has been much sicker before, but when Katie is sick, she is good for nothing.  When she has a runny nose, she will pinch at it and rub it until she looks like Rudolph or Ronald McDonald.  No amount of scolding can keep her away from her nose, and it gets so raw.  If you give her a tissue, she will use it, then chew on it, or shred it until you find a million snotty pieces all over the ground.  If you give her a handkerchief, she will chew on it until it is soaking wet.  I am not sure which is grosser, but they are both pretty nasty.  One of her "autistic flaws" is a short attention span, so she doesn't really listen to the constant reminders to her to throw the tissue away.

When her nose gets runny, and she is wiping it, it makes her lips chapped too.  Once they get sore, she will lick them and scratch at them until she looks like she is wearing lipstick outside the lines.  I will chase her around with the lipgloss or vaseline, trying to make her more comfortable.  Sometimes I will even put some on her at night when she is sleeping, hoping that they will heal a little. 

The worst part about Katie being sick is that she gets so lethargic.  She takes medication for her Autism, and if she is run down, or not eating because she doesn't feel good, the combination of her medicine and her illness seems to completely drain her of all her energy.  She will get whiny and teary so quickly, and will want to go to bed.  This is so out of the ordinary for her, that people get surprised when they see her like that.  If I have to give her more medicine for her cold or a cough, the combination completely knocks her out.  The only word I can use to describe her is "pathetic".  She is droopy and mopey, and just plain sad.

 Yesterday, when Katie got home from school after not feeling well, she sent out an email  to everyone in her contact list.  I will quote it directly, " i am sick.... you guys get cards".  I didn't know about it until the next day, when Grandma came over with a card and a "get well" package of tissues, bath gel with a sponge, antibacterial hand gel, a dollar, and a bagel from Tim Hortons (Katie's favorite).  Then the calls and emails started coming in from concerned family members.  They know Katie, and they know how hard colds hit her.  Her Great Aunt even called from the airport she was flying out of to pass on her best wishes. 

I know all kids get colds.  I know there are much worse illnesses out there as well.  I know parents struggle with severe health issues every day of their lives.  I have 2 other daughters who get the same colds too, but I also know that every single ordinary situation and challenge and illness, is complicated when it is happening to an Autistic child.  I know there are other conditions much more severe than Katie's, both more challenging, more heartbreaking and more stressfull.  I am thankful  that Katie is such a wonderfully original Autistic child, and her difficulties are not as severe or complicated.  But after saying that, I do have to say that Katie with a cold is no ball of laughs.  It changes her totally and completely.  My heart breaks a little each time she gets sick, and I don't feel complete again until she is laughing and jumping and breathing and singing and eating and healthy once again.  If you choose to join us in our "Adventures in Autism" this week, bring some tissues, and a card for Katie.

1 comment:

  1. Aw... Praying for Katie. :( And what an awesome family you have to do such a great job pampering her!