The last week has gone by in an opaque fog of neocitran induced, Nyquil-comatose state of disorientation and exhaustion. It has been a few years since I've been that ill; my first experience of being sick while tending to two little kids. It was a seemingly endless week in which I shamelessly did very little around the house. Everyone was forced to eat soup everyday for lunch and supper (that's all that I felt like making...and it wasn't home made either, let's not be delusional people, I'm talking about Lipton's Cup-A-Soup here.) Noelle and Dryden were permitted to do basically whatever they pleased; so long as nothing was broken, the dog wasn't terrified, and I didn't have to lift my head too far off my pillow to reprimand them. I surveyed our house this afternoon during nap time. What. A. Disaster. My husband shared a moment of rare, pure, truthful insight as he stood beside me and said: "trying to keep a house clean with young children is as futile as shoveling the driveway during a blizzard." Wow- I'm out of commission for a week and suddenly Nick is speaking like a Chinese proverb. Amazing.
After all the lamenting (aka whining) I've done over this cold, I would gladly endure it ten times over if I could take it away from our three year old daughter right now. All of my obsessive efforts to prevent the spread of my germs were for nothing. Noelle is coughing from deep within her chest and her wet, half-opened eyes clearly look feverish. Any normal parent of any normal child who is sick, feels helpless and useless- being unable to make your child feel better is an awful state to find yourself in. Our situation, however, is slightly different. Our daughter Noelle is a special needs child; she was born with Isodicentric 15 Syndrome and is developmentally delayed. Although she is three years old chronologically, developmentally, she is more similar to our 19 month old son. This developmental delay has shaped and enriched our lives in countless ways- which I will save for another blog I'm certain. Today, I was frustrated and pained by her inability to understand. She doesn't know to cough up the gunk that is congesting her chest; she hates having her face touched so wiping her nose has lead to tantrums every single time; she hates medication of any sort (a fear born from traumatic hospital stays) so tricking her into taking it- and swallowing it- is mentally and physically tiring. Noelle, even on a normal day, needs extraordinary amounts of physical affection- so when she is sick...well, actually almost all of our day consists of holding and snuggling. Noelle only has a vocabulary of about 25 words (spoken and signed) so she can't communicate to us how she is feeling; Nicholas and I have adapted and were forced to become acomplished guessers.
She is very obviously not feeling well, and I am struggling to to figure out how to make it better, how to make her better. I have no references or anyone to give me advice on what to do; I have no girlfriends with special children that I can cope with. There are weeks at a time where I feel like a new mom every day. Today was one of those days. I felt like I was simply stumbling through my day, hoping that what I was doing was effective. (Oddly enough, I often take that approach to electronics that I don't understand. I push as many buttons as I can, and then hope that it turns on and works on its own.) I need to pray for extra patience this week as its not her fault that she is sick and doesn't feel well. And its not my fault that I don't know what to do. I predict that Nick, Noelle, Dryden and I will get through this next week or so without (many) meltdowns and we will be smarter, and hopefully, healthier. Each new experience that we figure out together builds up our knowledge base and gives us the ability to get through the next impending challenge. I hope one day to be able to provide the information and real life experiences and solutions that we had to fight through, and seek out, to another parent of a child with Idic 15. I hope some day to make a difference in another family's every day life.