Zach is sick. Puking and a fever. This puts terror into my heart because I always feel that he will regress during these periods. Now is as good a time as any other to discuss Zach and being sick.
The facts - when Zach gets sick and so does Sophia - he becomes much more ill - holding onto symptoms longer, being more lethargic, higher temperature; exaggerated versions of whatever Sophia has in many capacities. Zach has been ill much more often than Sophia ever was, and gets sick with things before Sophia and sometimes gets things and Sophia never does. If I had to wager a guess, I would think that Zach's immunity may not be as robust as Sophia's and I am wondering if it is lower than most people. Certainly, the fact that his autism symptoms are more prevalent during these periods indicates to me they are aggravated by his immune system. Dare I say they may even by caused by some immunological response?
Even if you don't buy the biomedical causation of autism, anyone who works with kids on the spectrum, and likely any child with special needs, will tell you illness of a child is tough, a child with special needs just that extra amount more stressful. Illness can bring about really terrible behaviors and trigger worsening of symptoms. More often than not these kids can't tell you what is wrong or where it hurts, you just have to guess. Routine virus or ear infection or appendicitis? Roulette anyone?
Just treating Zach's fever isn't routine. There is some research out there that states that acetaminophen (Tylenol) impacts glutathione levels, especially in kids with autism. Some even question whether the introduction of Tylenol and demise of aspirin due to its association with Rye Syndrome have some link to the increase in autism cases.
Science Lesson of the Week:
Glutathione is one of a group of peptides (links between amino acids) called a tripeptide because it contains 3 amino acid bonds. It is an antioxidant, protecting cells from toxins such as free radicals. Low levels of this peptide are associated with poor immune responses. (and other issues too)
I interpret this to mean that if you give Tylenol to a sick child, particularly one with autism, this may slow down the bodies ability to heal itself. I have had several conversations with mothers who have said they preferred ibuprofen over Tylenol, that it works faster, better at reducing high fevers, and lasts longer. I find these anecdotes interesting after reading some of the research.
Anyhow, it's 5 in the morning and I have been up straight for more than 24 hours. I have been up most of this night, most of it from fear that he is dehydrating. I cannot explain to him the reason drinking is important. I am sure his stomach feels like hell after watching him puke so much, so he likely doesn't want to stick anything in it. So I have been slowly here and there, using an eye dropper, dropping water into his mouth in his sleep.
This likely is making me feel better than him.
Reason is sometimes lost to emotion when you are exhausted.