If you read my last post, you are well aware that we recently had the stomach flu in our house. It travelled through most of us, which unfortunately included Eddie. He and I came down with the bug on the same day. I recovered in twenty-four hours, and Eddie just couldn’t snap back that fast. Eddie eventually got so sick, that he stopped drinking fluids of any kind, and we had to take him to the doctor, and from there to the hospital.
Eddie is generally a healthy child. He gets minor illnesses easily, but rarely has to go to the doctor other than for routine care. He has been admitted to a hospital once before, and we quickly learned that because he has other medical complications, his labs are pretty funky. Therefore, doctors are fast to admit him, and slow to let him out.
Parents of special needs kids know that your average doctor understands very little about your child’s specific medical conditions. How can they be experts in everything? After being admitted, Eddie was seen by four doctors in three days. None of them knew how to treat him, and often referred to myself and his dad for any decisions. We were asked, “How should we administer medications?” “Do you think he’s ready to go home?” “Do you want me to order any more labs?” “Do you want to add any orders to his labs?” I was beginning to wonder if I should be getting the doctor fee.
Due to the general confusion surrounding how to treat this little guy, Eddie and I were in the hospital for three days, which I do feel he needed to fully recover. The best part of being at the hospital was that I had “quality” time with my son. I got to give him lots of snuggles, order him milkshakes, and cue up the iPod with his favorite songs. I also got to spend some time with my husband. He pointed out that the nice thing about the hospital is that it’s really easy to ignore the rest of the world and we can be 100% focused on getting Eddie better.
The other “quality” part of our hospital time was that I got to brush up my mom skills. I was able to advocate for my son, and educate many people about blindness in general. My husband offered to stay during the night, and I just couldn’t leave. It wasn’t that I didn’t trust him, but I was in full “mom” mode. In a medical situation, I simply cannot give up control. I like knowing what is happening at all times, and being present to call the shots.
The hardest part about being at the hospital was the last night. Eddie decided he was recovered at midnight and simply stood up straight out of bed and said, “All done.” He didn’t understand why we had to stay. He didn’t understand where we were and why we were there so long. Tears streamed down his face as he repeatedly said “all done,” begging to go home in his own way. He didn’t want his I.V. He didn’t want any more blood drawn. He didn’t want his blood pressure checked and he didn’t want to be in that bed anymore.
My heart broke at the communication barrier that he fights. All I could do was cry with him and give him lots of hugs. In these difficult situations, I glimpse his prison created by Autism. You can see the wheels turning inside, and the struggle to understand and to be understood. I am just so proud of him. He is trying to break free. I can’t help but admire him and I’m grateful for having had three days to absorb my awesome son. However, I’m certainly hoping future “quality” time is spent outside the hospital.