Yesterday morning after 24 hours of a raging high fever, my daughter was cooling off and showing signs of recovery. Aside from the fever she had no other symptoms to give a clueless mom any idea of what kind of virus or bacteria she was battling. Phew! I hate seeing my girl sick. She extra tiny, hence the nickname of "Sprite," and because she has an autism spectrum disorder it can be difficult to communicate with her when she's healthy. All bets are OFF when she's sick.
The morning turns to afternoon and the girl won't eat or drink. A quick check reveals a rising temperature and I start peppering her with questions trying to find a symptom to explain this heat. My girl isn't much of a conversationalist. If you ask the right question you'll get the information you are looking for. With ASD kids you don't tap dance around a subject or use metaphorical language. Say what you mean, mean what you say, get to the point and then back off.
"Cate, how are you feeling?" I ask. "Not so good all over," is her reply. I shove a straw in her mouth and encourage her to drink some water and offer her a popsicle.
"You don't listen. I told you I was hurty," she barks at me. I acknowledge her pain but remind her that she must drink because that's the doctor's rule after having a high fever (she is big on following the rules). "I told you a millions of time that my throat is hurty like burning fire!"
NO SHE DIDN'T! She didn't tell me even one time because I didn't specifically ask her if her throat hurt. Whatever, I'm used to this low quality communication with her so I just move along to my next mom task. I check her throat, determine that it is indeed on fire and scoop her up for a trip to the doctor. It's Saturday after hours so we end up at the urgent care clinic.
As part of the examination, the doctor asks Cate if she feels safe at home or if anyone is hurting her. Of course she points to me. "Her. She is hurting me. She doesn't listen."
The nurse takes over from here as the doctor is called away. She begins by giving me a discerning scowl. At this point I'm just shaking my head slowly and I cannot help the smirk creeping across my face. I realize that protocol dictates certain assessment questions but when did medical professionals forget to use common sense? You'd be surprised. "Here we go," I chuckle to myself as I sit back and prepare to enjoy the show.
Nurse Ratchet starts in with the questions and gets an earful from Miss Crankypants about how terrible I am and how the kids at school are mean to her (true) and she has homework and her brother "almost kills her" everyday (well....) and how she had a broken arm for a day before anyone took her to the doctor (true). This goes on for a good few minutes with her reporting that I hurt her "very badly" one time when I closed the pantry door on her hand (true), that I always make her have "head pain all day" with a hairbrush (this could be interpreted in a few different ways) and a few more zingers with the grand finale being, "She really is dangerous and mean and she hurts me, like, EVERYDAY."
I raise my eyebrows and give my best duckface with a chin dip as I watch Nurse Ratchet's face morph into an expression that seems to be communicating understanding and compassion. I don't respond in kind. I'm too annoyed. "You do understand this is just protocol," she asks me as if seeking some kind of approval from me because she has been so thorough.
I resist the overwhelming urge to spew all kinds of venom at her for entertaining such nonsense from my kid but instead I just reply, "Ask a stupid question and you get a stupid answer."
After all that balderdash, we walked out with no antibiotic. Turns out it's just a virus. Sort of like stupidity, right? Very contagious.
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