I have had D home for the past three days. Like probably a lot of parents, I am never sure if they are actually ill or just wanting time off school. D has had a ridiculous amount of time off this academic year, with his time in hospital and general illness, when his report came out, it had all added up to 6 weeks missed. I suppose he is just lucky that he loves learning, and is a sponge for knowledge and therefore hasn’t got himself behind, and still aces in his reading and maths. I had vowed that this term was going to be different, and unless either boy was on death’s door, I would drag them into class. When D was in nursery I had been caught out a couple of times with him complaining about having a sore tummy which I ignored and then got a phone call an hour later to say he had been sick – bring on the feeling like a Mummy failure feeling! When I was at school, my Mum put us to school no matter what we said was wrong with us. I suppose this is where I learned never to complain about feeling unwell, and why sick people do annoy me to a certain degree! I don’t want to turn into my Mother of never believing them, but I also don’t want to go soft and they then think its easy to get a day off when they feel like it.
So, back to D. On Tuesday he was complaining about a sore throat. I had a look, and there was no sign of infection. I therefore put it down to the fact that the school is in the middle of Health week – a time where they get to try out lots of different sports and fitness activities. D loves actually participating, but because of his joint problems, and his size, he isn’t always the best at it, but he always gives it his full effort. I do feel though that some people don’t get how hard it is for him, and he has had comments made about his lack of commitment to activities both by his peers and some adults that should know better. D isnt stupid. He knows he doesn’t excel in this area, and the negativity must get to him. Having said that, it rarely stops him giving it his all and having a go. He had admitted that when his teacher had said they would be trying Zumba, the thought of it had petrified him, and as much as we tried to reassure him that it wouldn’t be like the fast stuff his Dad does, he was worried. I did though wonder if something had been said to him about his lack of ability, and that was why he wanted to be off. I gave him some paracetamol – St Calpol, patron saint of coughs colds and sore throats, and put him to bed. Wednesday morning, he was still saying he didn’t feel well. Again his throat looked clear. He took some breakfast, and it did look like he was having a little difficulty swallowing, but he definitely didn’t look so unwell that he wasn’t going to school. He had other ideas. I gave him an ultimatum, and that was to get dressed or go back to bed. To my surprise, by the time M had cleaned his teeth, D was snoring his head off. To go back to bed was unusual, but to go back to sleep said maybe there was something in his complaints. He reappeared midmorning, and looked terrible – I know as a mother I shouldn’t put my kids down, but he looked pale and glassy-eyed. He flopped on the sofa and that’s where he stayed the rest of the day – again another sign he was actually poorly as D just doesn’t do sit still. Unfortunately he doesn’t quite get the idea that when you get a sore throat the best course of action is to rest it, to shut up. Shutting up has to be one of the hardest things for him – it always makes me laugh when his teacher says how quiet he is or the surprise on school chums faces when they meet the chatterbox at home. His voice was getting croakier and croakier, but he just would not stop talking.
Thursday morning I took another look at his throat as he was saying it was worse. There it was, one – yes, just one, big white spot of his left tonsil. He had tonsillitis. Now, that is something I can relate to. I kept him dosed up, and it was funny to see the medicine work, as he became quiet lively about half an hour after taking it, and gradually got slower and floppier as it wore off.
Friday, I thought some fresh air might do him good, and took him to the supermarket with me. He didn’t really have the strength for it, but the positive was that it must have been the first time I have been into the shops with him since he was a baby and he wasn’t I wanting constantly!
Today, he does look much brighter, and has gone to his dancing. I’m not sure if it’s the best thing for him, but at least there if he’s not feeling up to it, he can take it easy.
I do wonder if part of his illness was psychosomatic. I am not saying he hasn’t been unwell, as the infection in his throat said he was, but as a worrier I think sometimes it manifests itself in a physical form. D has always carried the weight of the world on his shoulders. I have often said he was born middle-aged, but now I am middle aged, I think he was born a grumpy old man! He has spent the last month or so worrying himself about the transition into P3. We have had many sleepless nights with him having nightmares as he couldn’t bare the thought of leaving his beloved teacher. When he found out he was going to be having her again next year, the worry was gone. He had a void in his worry core. What to fill it with? I know, I’ll be poorly for a bit until I fill it with something else. Yesterday, he found out a boy he has had problems with in the past would be in his class, and instantly his “what if” button goes into full use. He has a new worry so its time to start feeling better. I am only sumizing this to be the case, but it does seem possible.
For now though, we will keep supporting him, either through reassurance, or medicine if needed. I cant see D loosing his insecurities anytime soon but he has a very good support network of friends and a teacher he adores. What more does he need?