What Gavin said that just about made my head explode

Shortly after dinner, I told Gavin that we’ve made it past the 72 hr mark and that he should be okay. It was about 72 hours ago that he’d eaten raw chicken and we were watching him carefully for signs of Salmonella poisoning. 

After I told him he was in the clear, he made the following statement. 

Gavin:  That’s good to hear Dad cause I was worried. There were some close calls. 

Me: I’m glad to Gav……  Wait… WHAT? 

Gavin: There were a couple of times where I almost had diarrhea and I almost got nauseous. 

Me: What the hell does that mean? You were supposed to tell us if you had any problems. How do you almost have diarrhea or get nauseous? 

Gavin: You know, they almost happened but they didn’t.. 

Me: Gavin I don’t understand because there is no almost when it comes to these things and you needed to tell us because it could mean you were getting very sick. 

Gavin: (Hits himself in the head repestedly, effectively ending the conversation.) 

I fucking hate when he says things like this and I swear to God I just about had a stroke. How do you almost have diarrhea or almost get nauseous? Lizze and I just sorta looked at each like, what the fuck do we do with this? 

We tried to explain to him that his answer doesn’t really make any sense. 

We told him that if nothing happened, and he felt well, than nothing had actually happened or even almost happened. At the same time, if something almost happened, maybe he had a tummy ache or diarrhea and it went away? I don’t know but there was absolutely nothing useful or reliable in the words that came out of his mouth. 

OMG… This is so frustrating because he’s the only one who can really tell us how he’s actually feeling and unfortunately, it’s not within his capacity to do so. 

When he gives these kinds of answers and he does this all the time, we have to decide how to proceed based on the information we’re given. 

For him to use the word almost, something must have been wrong, right? Not necessarily because it could have just been a poor choice of words.. 

I guess the bottom line is that we haven’t seen any signs of him experiencing any of these things and we’ll have to run with that, if or until things change. 

Can anyone out there relate to this? Does your child struggle to express how they feel? Do you find it frustrating? 

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Alison Rose Miller

I guess I see this a ton because it seems about normal for my kids. Although my kids can usually express how they feel they struggle when it comes to expressing worry or seperating thought and reality. Ive been struggling with teaching the difference in being depressed and being bored or having no positive interactions with peers. Seems my teen uses depression as a blanket for a generalization.
Its so tough.

paulinabisson5

Self awareness and expression are both very challenging for kids with Autism…

Jimmy Rock

Exactly. I totally get this situation. But it’s frustrating not because of your background as an EMT, but rather as a parent of a child with serious medical issues who has an unfortunate combination of poor pragmatic language skills and an unawareness with respect to what his body is telling him.

This whole chicken episode must have been incredibly stressful for you. But now that you thankfully seem to be in the clear, why not try to work on those expressive language skills with Gavin? Ask him about being “almost nauseous” – what did he feel in his body that makes him say that? What part of the body felt that way? Has he ever felt like that before? When? Would drawing a picture help?

Maybe you’ll get nowhere, but trying to explain to him that what he’s telling you makes no sense, probably isn’t going to help him either – that will only frustrate both you and him. I’m not trying to give you a hard time, but since you referenced being an EMT, put those EMT skills to work. How do you think an EMT should approach a situation where he or she comes onto the scene to find someone like Gavin, who either has difficulty telling you what’s wrong or can only provide inaccurate, vague, or (unintentionally) misleading or irrelevant information? What strategies would you use to try to get that vital information that only he could tell you?

Best of luck – I know how frustrating this type of situation can be.

paulinabisson5

Thanks Jimmy. When I mentioned my background, it’s because it plays a role for me. I know that without information, assuring the right treatment is much more difficult. I don’t think he’s intentionally vague. I think he just doesn’t grasp the concept.

I’ve asked him to draw pictures before but that makes him upset because he feels he’s been very clear already.

Kelly Lyons Schaffer

My son constantly tells us things almost happened! Very frustrating! ” I fell and almost hurt my wrist ” I almost had to poop” my favorite ” I was almost hungry at school today “. Another great favorite of mine is him screaming at the top of his lungs for me to shut up,stop talking to me. Then yells why won’t you answer I’m talking to you! It’s fun parenting isn’t it!

paulinabisson5

I suppose that depends on one’s definition fun…. Lol

Rebecca Magliozzi

My son forgets things after his autoimmune attacks. Like, major parts of what happened. It is so frustrating trying to get to the bottom of things.

paulinabisson5

Rebecca, I can totally relate.

Sonja L Andrus

I’ve totally been there. A range of sensations gets garbled, or stress and worry over something becomes “it almost happened, you know, but then it didn’t” — psychosomatic symptoms that never fully manifested. lol Hang in there!

Rebecca Magliozzi

My son forgets things after his autoimmune attacks. Like, major parts of what happened. It is so frustrating trying to get to the bottom of things.

Alison Rose Miller

I guess I see this a ton because it seems about normal for my kids. Although my kids can usually express how they feel they struggle when it comes to expressing worry or seperating thought and reality. Ive been struggling with teaching the difference in being depressed and being bored or having no positive interactions with peers. Seems my teen uses depression as a blanket for a generalization.
Its so tough.

Jimmy Rock

Exactly. I totally get this situation. But it’s frustrating not because of your background as an EMT, but rather as a parent of a child with serious medical issues who has an unfortunate combination of poor pragmatic language skills and an unawareness with respect to what his body is telling him.

This whole chicken episode must have been incredibly stressful for you. But now that you thankfully seem to be in the clear, why not try to work on those expressive language skills with Gavin? Ask him about being “almost nauseous” – what did he feel in his body that makes him say that? What part of the body felt that way? Has he ever felt like that before? When? Would drawing a picture help?

Maybe you’ll get nowhere, but trying to explain to him that what he’s telling you makes no sense, probably isn’t going to help him either – that will only frustrate both you and him. I’m not trying to give you a hard time, but since you referenced being an EMT, put those EMT skills to work. How do you think an EMT should approach a situation where he or she comes onto the scene to find someone like Gavin, who either has difficulty telling you what’s wrong or can only provide inaccurate, vague, or (unintentionally) misleading or irrelevant information? What strategies would you use to try to get that vital information that only he could tell you?

Best of luck – I know how frustrating this type of situation can be.

Kelly Lyons Schaffer

My son constantly tells us things almost happened! Very frustrating! ” I fell and almost hurt my wrist ” I almost had to poop” my favorite ” I was almost hungry at school today “. Another great favorite of mine is him screaming at the top of his lungs for me to shut up,stop talking to me. Then yells why won’t you answer I’m talking to you! It’s fun parenting isn’t it!

Sonja L Andrus

I’ve totally been there. A range of sensations gets garbled, or stress and worry over something becomes “it almost happened, you know, but then it didn’t” — psychosomatic symptoms that never fully manifested. lol Hang in there!

paulinabisson5

That’s something I hadn’t thought about.. That’s a really good point.. Thanks Sonja

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