I know there are people out there who dislike the “puzzle” reference to autism that comes from autism organizations. “My kid’s not a puzzle,” some parents say. “I’m not a puzzle, I’m a person,” say adults with autism.
Well, brace yourselves, I’m about to take a position. I say my kid IS a puzzle, and furthermore, I think ALL kids are puzzles. But I don’t think it has anything to do with autism. We are constantly striving to make sense of children and figure out how they think, what they think, why they think it, and what we need to do about it. That’s our job as parents, caregivers, and teachers. Figure out what the child needs and manage to help him get it.
The part of C that puzzles me the most relates to his medical issues. Far from being simple, we’ve bounced from specialist to different specialist for years. Each runs some tests, and finds some problems, but nothing tangible enough to come up with a diagnosis. Each one scratches his or her head and admits they’re stumped. Then they send us to another specialist. We’ve seen them all. Twice.
I’ve somewhat given up on ever finding a medical diagnosis for him and have instead decided not to worry too much about it. His health for the last couple of years has been pretty good. He’s made it two blessed years without having his yearly case of pneumonia (yes, there’s a test for it, and yes, he does have low clinical immunity to pneumonia). Despite his not using toothpaste, his teeth aren’t rotting and falling out. And even though his diet is nowhere near balanced, he manages to seem fairly healthy despite a low weight and height that never seem to get quite back on the growth charts.
So we go with that until something comes up. His strangest affliction so far seems to be his propensity to limp when he gets a fever. It’s not a muscle fatigue kind of limp, but rather an “I can barely walk” sort of limp. Painful. The first time this happened, he ended up in the hospital, his doctor was so alarmed (I liked her the best, wish she could’ve moved with us). The second time, two months later, followed a bout of double pneumonia. Given I can count on one hand the times in his life he’s actually had a fever, I can tell you without a doubt that every time he gets a fever, he can no longer walk. Last year he spent a week on the couch with a 103 fever, a limp, and no other symptoms. Enter clueless doctor number 435, scratching his head while asking, “Do you think he could be faking it?”
Today, however, C has a fever. Yesterday he had a fever. I waited, but the limp hasn’t arrived. Yet. It could be due to the fact that this fever is lower than the others. He actually seems just fine. There’s some weird looking bug bites on his ankle (leftover from this weekend’s camp out). Given his history, off we went to the doctor today. Back again to doctor number 435 (don’t ask me why, but the guy gives me good blog material), and again no solution. The fever “could be,” or then again “could not be,” related to the bug bites. I’m not sure why I bother, but somehow it gave me comfort to know that there’s not some huge, recognizable bug bite/fever/deadly infection running around. The doctor didn’t seem to remember the fever/limp combo from last time, and I didn’t remind him.
We’ll see what tomorrow brings.