Autism · family · Life · Normal · truth

Colds in the middle of a Heat wave…

So colds in general are not fun, but if we add a heat wave to the mix…

I live a couple miles outside a beautiful, coastal city, with notoriously nice weather: see for yourselfNow, living in the mountains just above a coastal city gives us a lot of days where the marine layer rolls in (giant blanket of fog from the bay) and cooler temperatures. However, because the elevation is higher, we have colder winters and warmer summers than the city itself. We are currently in the middle of a “extreme heat advisory”, and this has been a twice a month occurrence since June. Where we’d normally see our highest temperatures at around 80 for these months, these “spells” have been producing mid 90’s to over a hundred degrees, for days at a time. I can tell you, none of this is “fun”, especially if I explain how extra difficult and expensive it is to run a window AC unit off a generator (which we have to do because we’re only on solar power & not enough of it)…

So let’s add a cold to the mix!

Colds are not very fun either, but they are more of a nuisance than anything else. Somehow my daughter catches this cold – still not sure how it happened, we have been staying at home a lot due to the heat (I’ve only left the house 3 times in the entire month of August). So my daughter gets sick, but it’s mild and she’s handling it pretty well, so we just try to keep her bodily fluids away from the rest of us. Which doesn’t help, and I start to feel bad, then her dad. It wasn’t a “bad” cold, sore throat and some congestion only, nothing major, and only lasted a couple days (way better than having a tummy bug rip through your house).

Then, my son got it…

We were all pretty much better, nothing left but a bit of a cough, when my son starts displaying really abnormal behavior – he was calm and quiet. Turns out he had a fever (not that high, but enough), and when he gets those, he tends to lay in bed all day, under the covers (during a heat wave). Caring for a “normal” (see below) child who is ill is bad enough, but when my son gets ill, it’s so much more. He doesn’t eat, or drink (therefore, no pee or poo), he just lays in bed all day, listless. I know some of you are thinking it sounds serious enough for a doctor visit, but having been down this road many times, it’s just how he handles illness (plus he’s still very cognizant). He however cannot ask for anything he may need or even express discomfort of any kind – the best I get is moaning or occasional vocal outburst that is seemingly not directed at anything or anyone. This makes it hard to determine the best course of action in caring for him. I do my best to keep him comfortable, and luckily, he will ingest some forms of aid (our go-to is Sambucus).

Once the fever broke, his congestion started…

My son has not mastered the whole “using a tissue” thing. So when his nose is runny he tends to just use his hand to wipe it (gross I know, but pick your battles). In and of itself this isn’t a huge issue: extra shirt changes and hand washing is not too difficult. This however, causes chaffing, and he tends to wipe it so much that he, in effect, causes wind burn all over his face and hands. The only treatment at this point is warm water and lots of lotion – and a lot more “hovering mamma”.

He’s better now, except for the phlegmy cough…

A couple of notes:

  1. I worry a lot more when my son is sick, than I do when my daughter is sick. His Autism makes it difficult to judge the severity of anything, even a tiny cold. I worry that one day something might happen that requires immediate attention, and there will be no real way to know (like appendicitis or UTI).
  2. I call my daughter “normal”, not because I think my son is “abnormal”, but because she is a “typical” child. Normal for her: sweet as pie when she wants to be or wants something from me – the rest of the time it’s a grab bag of emotions (she’s 5, and hasn’t quite learned how to keep them in check). While I know the autism community tends to have a problem with this word, I, personally, think it is more derogatory than anything else. I do not think I am “normal”, I have too many weird quirks and hangups to be labeled as such. I have always preferred being “abnormal” and odd (and not in an on purpose way). Also, typing “Neurotypical” is just too much (and not everyone understands NT). I say let them have “normal”- it describes bland, vanilla, same old. While I do hope that someday my son can do some “normal” things (eat with a utensil, use the toilet), I do not ever wish for him to be anything different than what he is. 

I also have 3 more posts, all half written, that I was trying to get out during the “cold that ran rampant”, but those will have to wait to be finished.

Now, this oddball has a mission – to drink wine…and it’ll have to do.


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