Doctor to the Rescue

February 3, 2015

Last week, Robert was sick and said so. This is a huge, HUGE progress.

In the past, I had to deduce from Robert’s behavior if he was sick and what  could be hurting him. That was not easy, as Robert couldn’t locate the pain.  When I asked, “Does your stomach hurts.” He would say, “Yes”.  However, when I continued asking about lungs, throat, or head, Robert would have confirmed that each of these body parts was hurting as well.  I knew that he had to be sick when he lost appetite or when he didn’t want to go for a walk. ( He always wants to go for walks.) I knew that when he screamed it was because he was in a terrible pain.  The reason I knew that the pain had to be terrible was that Robert’s never complained when he scraped his knee or bumped into something.  I knew the pain was very bad, but I didn’t know what was hurting.  Robert couldn’t really help with the diagnosis. I assumed that for him the pain was like something attacking him from within his body and that drove him mad.  I still remember him jumping out of the bed in the middle of the night, screaming, and hitting his own head with the full force of both hands.  I tried to hug him in a way that would prevent him striking his head, he pushed me away.  No, he didn’t strike me, he wanted to hit HIS head not mine.

I still didn’t know what was hurting, but I know that it was NOT AUTISM that caused this behavior.  It was the pain and the lack of ability to communicate his pain to others. I usually assumed that it was either gases in his stomach, asthma, or headache and I gave Robert Metamucil crackers with water, Advil or Motrin, and Albuterol inhaler to address all three possibilities.

(Of course, there were times when Robert’s pain was caused by other things and it took a long time to find out what it exactly was.)

The fact that last week, Robert kept saying, “Doctor, doctor”, was of huge importance.  It was the first time, Robert not only let us know that he was sick, but wanted us to do something about it.

I suspect that locating the pain was still difficult to Robert, as he was answering, “Tongue, tongue” when asked what hurt.  His tongue seemed fine. But it was something in his mouth.  Anyway, we went to see a doctor.  Robert got an antibiotic and slept for a few hours. After he woke up, he asked for a doctor two more times, but without the tone of urgency so characteristic to the previous day. After good night sleep, although still relatively weak, Robert had to feel better judging by the fact that he interspersed sleeping with some eating.

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