We dragged ourselves into the new year through a house full of sickness. Systematically three sick kids as one infected another and so on until it finally made its way to us. There is no way around it at our house, since small kids are just gross! Sleeves of snot across their face, touching everything with no regard, coughing directly on one another…No matter how much I sanitize or force my kids to wash their hands, they will still find ways to infect one another and then eventually us. Definitely not the way I was hoping to celebrate the holidays and time off school with the kids, but it was just the hand we were dealt this year. After almost two weeks of sickness making its way through the house, my kids are finally starting to look and act more like their energetic selves again.
Sickness and pain have always been a tough point for us with Damion. Lack of communication and lack of understanding on what needs to be done are a big struggle. I have always had to just rely on watching cues for what might be hurting him and use my best judgement to get him through it. When we have to take him to the doctor, I have to make my best guess and communicate what I think the problem is for him. He never really likes people touching or looking around his face or ears, but add him not feeling well and his tolerance for these things is even worse. Nothing about our kids being sick is easy, but like most everything else, there is a whole other level of hard that comes along with Damion being sick.
This most recent illness thankfully didn’t require a visit to the doctor this time around. Just a lot of mess and stress on the home front since it was the stomach flu. The kids are starting to get older, so they have somewhat learned the drill in our house that goes along with the stomach flu. The process in our house generally includes mom staying out in the living room with the sick child, the couch is covered fully in blankets and towels which can easily be switched out and cleaned as needed, with a designated “bucket” nearby for times that the child needs to get sick. Lysol wipes and cleaners, Pedialyte or sprite on hand to drink, is all our norm for this type of event. Having a sick child is never an easy event, but I have noticed the amount of growth we have made with Damion over just the past few years when it comes to being sick. He really has made quite a bit of progress for what he is supposed to do for something that we thankfully don’t have a lot of time to practice.
Looking back just a year or two ago, Damion would not give you any warning when he felt sick. We would likely only find out about his illness as he would come into our room after destroying his own bed or if he did happen to be in bed with us, after hearing the dreaded gag and “waterfall sound” as my husband calls it. As a parent you never get up faster out of bed than when you hear that sound. The no warning start would kick everything in gear and start our process to try and get him through it.
Not only was it a hurdle for Damion to communicate with us that he wasn’t feeling good, but even after we were aware that we had to be on high alert for more such events through the night, he would fight us tooth and nail every step of the way. When Damion would see us get the designated “bucket”, he would instantly try to push it away, or get away from it himself. It was almost as if he didn’t see the bucket as an effect of getting sick but as the cause itself. He seemed to think that the bucket would MAKE him vomit. All of this leading to an even extra amount of effort for this tired parent to overcome. There was never much else we could do in these types of situations other than comfort him, try to keep explaining to him what we could do, and hoping that he would eventually catch on. Consistency, even for uncommon events such as this, are very important for him.
None of this stuff is ever easy, but this time around when Damion verbally told me that he didn’t feel good, in enough time for me to take him to the bathroom, with the mess completely contained to just the flush of a toilet, honestly felt like a weight had been lifted off my shoulders. He has finally gotten to the place where he not only understands what he needs to do in this situation, but he is able to verbally communicate it with me as well. Even though I would be completely fine with no one in the family ever having the stomach flu again, I will happily take the progress that he has made to get through events like this.