Last week I was noticing that this cold of Daniel's was coming back for round 3. He spent almost all winter healthy then sometime in February he started getting colds. It seems that February is always a bad month for him, health wise. I can remember this only because he never seems to make it to the Valentine's party. . . .
I had noticed his eye was a bit red on Tuesday or Wednesday, but he said it felt fine so I hopefully ignored it. Thursday morning I came back home from Zachary's bus stop to Daniel saying, "my eye is red and it feels funny". DAMN! I, very cautiously, told him he was staying home from school. You would have thought I said, "Daniel I am now going to cut your right arm off, prepare yourself". As I knew he would be, he was furious with me. He HATES to miss school for many many reasons. First, he just likes to go. He likes the kids, he likes his days. PPI years I had to force him on the bus, but pretty much ever since then, he'd much rather go to school. Second, I am breaking his routine. This is what really pisses him off. So I knew when I made the call, he'd be upset with me. These days he usually gets over it in about 15 minutes. That would not be the case today. He was mad and I was the focus of that anger.
I, unfortunately, gave him a glimmer of hope about school. I had told him that if we could get him into the Dr. early, maybe he could still go, depending what he said about his eye. But if pink eye was developing I really wanted the meds to head it off. . . Well I SHOULD have just said you aren't going then if that changed he'd be thrilled. But no, I had to be honest, and hopeful. What a mistake. So for 45 minutes he was mad at me. Then I got through to the Dr's office. The appointment wasn't going to be until 3:00. UGH. That is partially because I made the decision to wait for the marvelous Dr. Israel (cue the angelic music!) The most wonderful, understanding, thoughtful pediatrician ever. He was the one who first said the word autism to us and sent us on this journey. When I hung up I said, "Daniel, your appointment isn't until 3:00 so we are just going to hang out today and take it easy." So then we started ALL OVER AGAIN, with the fit. I don't think I've seen him so angry, in a controlled sort of manner. It was very strange. Did I mention he was MAD!?
He was demanding to go to school and pacing around then went around the corner from the family room where I was sitting and yelled, "you are a STUPID mom." Which is probably the worst word he could come up with! He doesn't know any cuss words. I'm sure of that, because I think I'd have heard it. Especially that day! Frankly, it was hard for me not to laugh at him. I don't know why, but the whole thing struck me funny. Then he marched into the kitchen and started putting on his socks. I said, "Daniel what are you doing?" (he never puts on socks unless he is leaving). He said, "I AM GOING TO SCHOOL". Um, "no you're not". Scream scream scream.
It went on and on and on. On his own he started trying to take deep breaths. One of the calming strategies they talk about in Miss Mary's group. It wasn't working. But he started to do it ON HIS OWN. Progress! The other one is singing. Daniel LOVES singing. Does it all the time. So we started to sing his calming songs. One of them is "Celebration" by Kool and the Gang. Now if you think that's funny, go ahead and try to sing that song and not get happy!! (Every one around the world, c'mon! )
The singing finally calmed him down and he settled in for a good day of computer, movies and music. We went to the Dr. and after his 3 weeks of cold and red eye, Dr. Marvelous put him on an antibiotic. Part of the reason I've gone through all of this is because of medicine. We got the amoxicillan. He still can't take a pill. We really haven't tried. But our wonderful Dr. asked DANIEL if he preferred the chew up bubble gum flavored pills or the liquid stuff. He asked Daniel himself instead of talking through me, which is one of my favorite indicators on how a person takes Daniel as a person. Daniel chose the liquid. It took years to get him to drink that liquid.
I can't even count the times that the medicine ended up puked up into the toilet or spit all over me or my husband. He couldn't keep it down. He gagged, he threw up. We tried to hide it in juice only for him to not even take a sip, because he could smell it in there. We'd end up getting double prescriptions to account for this drama and still never be sure how much he actually consumed. Just knowing this was all coming would make me crazy. It was exhausting for everyone and endless.
I wish I could remember his age, but it was at this house so I would guess 2nd grade. He was becoming more aware of things and I felt I could deal with him a bit. Then I pulled out the strategy that would make Supernanny cringe. It is not under parenting 101 that is for sure. But I knew if there was one thing he hated more than taking medicine, it was a shot. The word shot instills such a fear into him it is unbelievable. So one night at 3:00 am when I'm exhausted and just want to crawl in bed, cover my head and never have anyone talk to me again, he spit the medicine all over me, yet again. I went in my room and started to put on clothes.
He said, "what are you doing?" Ok, he screamed it.
I replied, "put on your clothes, we are going to the hospital to get a shot. If you won't drink the medicine that is the only way we can get it into you."
"NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO, I'll drink it, I'll drink it."
And he did. And we never had a problem with it again. Ever. I know that was awful. Not my proudest moment. But sometimes when you are exhausted and can't take it anymore you make poor choices. I'm ok with it. After that he has taken his medicine without incident. He chose the lesser of two evils and has been fine with it ever since. Possibly scared I'll give him a shot, but fine with it. I certainly would not be nominated for parent of the year, but it worked. And I WOULD have taken him to the hospital, I was DONE, and he knew it.
He doesn't love to take medicine, but since he does take it, we make up a basic chart. See here.
He crosses it off after each dose and it gives him some power and control and he knows how many are left. It's a very basic visual that is extremely helpful to him. I used to do it backwards, 20 to 1. He'd cross it off and say "18 left" or whatever. This time I went 1 to 20, so now he has to figure out how many are left. He can cross off 4 and then figure out 16 left. We might as well throw a little math in there too!