We got to spend some time in the hospital with Q last spring when he was diagnosed with Asthma. We were given a rigorous regimen of antihistamines, steroids and bronchodilators and told to watch him like a hawk. And watch him we have. He was doing great until the bitter cold hit. The trick is that Q doesn't always wheeze or show any obvious signs of distress. And while he is capable of giving a lengthy dissertation on Batman at any minute, he seems to be lacking the vocabulary to let anyone know that he is totally sucking wind.
Case in point: On Friday evening, I had reached my tolerance level for kid clutter in the living room. Once we got the toys out of the floor and off the couch, I insisted they actually put the toys away in their rooms instead of just creating giant safety hazards by dumping them on the floor. Z got her room picked up in a reasonable time, but Q was (literally) dragging his feet. Finally, tired of all the begging, I allowed him to go to bed, with the promise to finish cleaning up first thing in the morning.
He was still sleeping when I went to pick up my Bountiful Basket. When I got home, T said that he was complaining that his tummy hurt and that he was 'so tired.' Since these are his fave excuses to get out of doing anything he isn't enthused about (ex: eating vegetables, sitting on the potty, letting the dogs out), I brushed off his complaints and sent him to his room to finish cleaning up.
He whined about it, but I stood firm. He went to his room for about ten minutes then came out complaining that he was still tired. So I told him to go lie down. And he did. When he got back up, I made him work on the mess again. He worked himself up to tears and cried pitifully, but I was determined that he would clean up his toys. (For the record, my standards are low. All I require is that the toys are in bins and off the floor. This job should have been cake.)
This went on for ever. To keep us from being late to a birthday party, I went in to direct traffic hoping to speed things up a bit. All the while he is sobbing and sniffing and complaining about being tired. Finally, I put aside my irritation and really looked at him. His whole chest and belly were working with every breath. I was horrified.
"Honey, do you need a breathing treatment?" He sobbed yes with such obvious relief that I felt like a total heel. Geez, just shoot me! He asked if he could lie down while he took his treatment and was asleep as soon as I turned on the nebulizer.
Huh. It turns out that at least some of the time, 'I'm tired' is code for 'I'm not getting enough oxygen.' And 'My tummy hurts' means 'I am having to use my entire torso to get enough air so that I don't pass out.' When I mentioned this epiphany to T, he told me that, yeah, when his breathing was bad, it made his abs hurt. Gah. That was intel I could have used sooner, dear helpmate!
Bring on the Mother of the Year Award.
Needless to say, now, whenever he busts out his I-don't-wanna excuses, my first response is to ask if he needs a breathing treatment. I guess it is better to have broken the code late than never.