L's health has always been up and down. He always has a cough, no matter what time of year it is or what the weather is like. We usually put the cough down to his asthma - there is no point going to the doctor as our GP will just say "put him on a three day course of Redipred and keep using Ventolin and Seretide. Come back if he gets worse." There is honestly not much that can be done, we've just had to accept that L is, at times, not a well child.
On a Wednesday night two weeks ago L had a particularly rough night with his breathing and neither he, Daddy superhero or I got a lot of sleep. The air quality on that Wednesday where we live was not the best, there was a thick smoke that hung around for pretty much the entire day, so the rough night was put down to his asthma.
The following morning L didn't want to eat breakfast and was happy to just sit on the couch and watch TV. This rarely happens and when it does, we know that he is really sick. This time it wasn't just his asthma.
Cue a trip to our GP.
Now normally when we have to take L to any doctor or specialist surgery, we just cannot keep him still. That particular morning however he just wanted to sit on the floor and sort all the oversized building blocks. Mmmm this is a worry. Even one of the receptionist's commented on L's lack of energy.
When L was called into the GP's office, he went and curled up on a chair. Cue one very worried look from the good doctor. Normally L is climbing over and under the chairs, he starts to investigate all the medical equipment, he'll open and close cupboard doors and literally bounce off the walls. Curled up on a chair is unheard of for L.
And wouldn't you know it, L had an infection in his right lung and both his ears were badly infected.
When the good doctor asked L if his ears hurt, L very adamantly said "No!"
As the doctor said "how L isn't in pain and doesn't have a high temperature astounds me, his ear drums are bulging from the infection."
Oh man ..........
And then I felt like a heel for sending L to school on the Wednesday. It just goes to show that he is a resilient little superhero. He pushed through feeling a little off and lasted the whole day at school!
This kid just does not feel pain.
It simply doesn't occur to L that he should tell us when he isn't feeling well or when his ears or throat hurts. My theory is that due to how often he was sick as a baby and toddler, L just thinks that feeling unwell is normal. He doesn't complain, ever.
When L had his tonsils removed, he was eating greasy chicken nuggets within an hour of coming out of surgery. O on the other hand, who had had her tonsils removed at the same time, was struggling to eat the jelly!
The first that we know that L is sick is when he has a raging temperature of 39 or 40oC. Or when he starts power vomiting everywhere. Or when he voluntarily lies on the couch during the day. Or when he refuses to eat, no matter what is on offer. This is what autism sick looks like in our place.
Like most children, autism sick is unpredictable and can arrive with only a split seconds notice. There is none of this "he's looking unwell and has been going down hill for the last few days." L just becomes unwell at the drop of a hat. L rarely stops moving but when he does we know that something is up.
L could teach us adults a thing or two about getting on with life no matter how we are feeling. Thankfully the antibiotics kicked in, he finished his three day course of Redipred and he started looking and sounding a lot better. Although in saying that, he did a develop another ear infection just this week gone.
And this is the part where I am going to sound like a very selfish mum! On one hand I am hoping that he won't get another ear infection as I do not want L to be in pain. But on the other hand I do want him to develop another infection so that we can be referred back to the Ear, Nose and Throat Specialist for a second set of grommets!
But in the meantime we'll continue to monitor L and play it by ear. No pun intended!!