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When Puke Reveals Progress

Catching up and sharing from the files of my ramblings. This particular set is from January 31, 2017.

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Living life on the autism spectrum presents several different challenges. One of which for many individuals is that of varying gastric woes. Our spectrum son has battled his share of these over the years, but fortunately, and thankfully so, this doesn’t seem to be much of an issue much any more as he continues to grow and develop.

However, there are times his gastric system revolts causing stomach upset and in the worst case scenario, vomiting to expel anything currently in his stomach. This typically only happens after he has either rushed through a meal or has simply eaten too much. Both of these situations are near completely cured once he has cleared his tummy. Completely – as in so much has come up that his stomach certainly must be empty, and completely in that he returns to smiling, laughing and playing as active as ever.

Such was the case at his sister’s basketball game earlier this week. We had joined his dad for dinner that night and he had eaten rather quickly, much faster than the rest of us. We tried to slow him down, but apparently, we had waited too long. It wasn’t far into the game that I heard his muffled, “I’m sorry, Mommy.” and turned to see the classic gastro-troubles-look: pale, glassy eyes, lips slightly parted and labored breathing. The first few times I saw this look, I was frightened as it seems he can’t get the oxygen he needs, but in time, I’ve become accustomed to this precursor and even thankful for the warning it provides.

Quick as ever he moved at my command and we made it to the trash can in time to overt any real crisis such as getting sick in front of or on anyone near us.

I didn’t think much of it as this has become somewhat routine when he eats too fast or too much. It’s one of those things that as a parent, you don’t necessarily like, you just come to accept it as part of the package. You deal with it and move on. And this is exactly what I did that night.

Later in the evening, his sister asked me how he was doing. This struck me as odd because she had been with her team, in the midst of her basketball game when all of this was going on and I had not told her about it. She said she hadn’t seen him, but another player had noticed me over by the trash can in the opposite corner of the gym, and then Ben hanging over the edge of it. Her teammates rallied beside her and hoped the best for her little brother, concerned that he was sick. Sweet, right? After all, that would be the logical conclusion. However, he had simply eaten too quickly that night.
It’s easy for me to laugh it off now, but in those moments, I wasn’t entirely sure that was the case as there have been many people in our communities battling various illnesses, so I can see how that would easily be the assumption made.
While each family handles illness differently, we are prone to keep our kids home pretty quickly simply to stop the spread of germs. Being a larger than normal family, we realize just how easily something as simple as the common cold can seemingly last the entire winter long when it bounces from one person to the next to the next, until it has finally run through all seven of us, only to hit the first one down for round two. The same is the case for things like stomach flu, strep throat, etc., so when one of the kids is ill and the status of being contagious or not is in question, we always err on the side of caution.
Our kids know this, so when Ben was done doing his thing in the trash can, he looked at me with the brightest eyes and biggest smile and said, “I’m all right now, Mommy. I can go to school tomorrow.”
This. This from a child who only last year would beg to stay home from school and plead for just one more play at home day. This. This is quite possibly the most shining example of progress in our boy – to have the opportunity to stay home from school, to laugh and play all day, and yet, share his excitement that he is fine and can go to school.
Progress, no matter how strangely it manifests and presents itself, progress is so very good.
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