One of my greatest fears (one of them; I have a million) is DC having something medically wrong with him and I won’t be able to tell.
Unless he has a fever, throws up or passes out right in front of me (try catching a 200lb boy at 3am) there is really no way for me to know. He doesn’t really let on that there is a problem and when there is, his behavior is pretty much the same as it always is. I don’t know if he doesn’t feel pain like the rest of us or he just doesn’t process it the way we would expect. This boy can run full speed with a sprained ankle!
When he was younger, he would “tell” everyone that he was sick; actually he would just sign “sick” with no other details. Most of the time he was not sick at all, but he knew the school nurse had jellybeans in her office so that is where he wanted to be! Then he discovered when he was finished with the jellybeans that they would call Mom to pick him up. Most of the time, knowing that he really wasn’t sick, I would pick him up and bring him to work with me – which he loves, so I wasn’t really winning any battles there, but I had to work. (We’ll forget about the ONE time, he threw up all over my office, the ONE time he really was sick and no one believed him. I guess he showed us!)
On the few occasions that I did suspect that something might be wrong, I had to resort to asking him questions that I hoped he would respond with a “No”. The more ridiculous the question, the better. Because he answers “yes” to everything, I can’t lead him to an answer by asking;
“Does your head hurt?”
“Does your stomach hurt?”
If I ask him more than once, all of his answers then become “no” because he thinks he’s giving me the wrong answer.
So I have to ask “Do your eyebrows hurt?” or “Does your hair hurt?” By asking him this sort of question, he thinks it’s funny, gives me a “no” and then he understands the question and sometimes even tells me what hurts.
Because I had to do something about his daily jelly bean pilgrimage to the nurse’s office, I stopped taking him to work when they called. If he was so sick that I had to pick him up, he had to go home and rest. That ended that game, but now he won’t tell me anything at all because he’s afraid he’ll have to rest or worse…. go to the Doctor!
There was one time when he did tell me…..
Well, sort of…
One night he ran by me on his way upstairs. I asked him what was wrong and where he was going.
“Look in the mirror and spit cookies” and he ran upstairs.
After a very confused few seconds, I realized that a few months back I went upstairs and found a disgusting mess in the bathroom sink. It was apparent that DC was sick (evidence! YES!) But instead of telling me he just went to “listen to the music” in his room.
I realized that “ looking in the mirror and spitting cookies” was his way of telling me he was going to be sick, because that last time, he was in front of the sink, in front of the mirror and he had eaten cookies!
I was right and yes, this is the way my mind has to work to be able to figure anything out.
I’ve told him so many times that it is very important for him to tell me when something hurts. Mom might have medicine to make it better; it doesn’t always mean a trip to the doctor. We have this discussion at least once a week. I didn’t think I was getting anywhere.
The other morning I heard, “come here please”. I went upstairs and said “What’s wrong, DC?”
“I need your help”
What do you need me to help you with?
“Nothing, I love you” (I didn’t find it all that odd because he calls me upstairs quite often to tell me he loves me or to tell me what he wants for breakfast the next day).
I went back downstairs. He came down looking a little out of sorts. I asked him again what was wrong.
He proceeded to tell me, not in the words you or I would use, but he told me! Luckily I had medicine to fix it! He was okay in about 20 minutes.
So I’m hoping that he’s realized that he can tell me and sometimes I can fix it and it doesn’t always mean resting or going to the doctor. I’m also hoping this means if something is bothering him enough, he will say something, which is a little bit of a load off my mind.
Just one small step in the right direction……..
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