Monday, February 20, 2017

Tyler is Sick

Its one of my biggest nightmares.  And I'd be willing to bet its one of the biggest nightmares for the majority of the caregiving community.  My non-verbal son is sick.

Tyler has a history of medical issues such as only having one kidney, seizures, bowel obstructions, and shunt blockages.  So when there is an illness, my mind immediately goes through the process of eliminating all of the worst possibilities.

Since Tyler is not verbal, he isn't able to help us diagnose what may be going on.  He will actually become more defensive when he is hurt or sick, which makes his treatment all the more difficult.  This means we have to be on our toes and pay attention to even the most subtle of physical queues.  Its not an exact science by any means, but there are a few things you can consider when it comes to how to care for someone who is non-verbal.  Here is what I evaluate:

  • Is Tyler eating and drinking like normal?  When his intake slows severely or stops I consider the situation to be more urgent
  • Is Tyler showing signs of pain or discomfort?  I monitor where the pain is, the severity, and how long it sticks around
  • How aggressive is he?  The worse he feels the more defensive he will become
  • How is Tyler's bowel output?  
  • What is his overall activity level and disposition?
Since Tyler has difficulty at the doctor's office or hospital, we try to allow him to heal from common illnesses without intervention.  It is a slippery slope however.  We also don't want to wait too long and cause him to become worse or encounter complications.  

If you are a caregiver and find that this is a struggle for you too, here is what I suggest to help:
  1. Know what their "baseline" is.  In other words, what is that person like when everything is fine?  How much do they eat, drink. sleep, etc.
  2. Know what symptoms would cause an immediate call for care
  3. Have a plan for caring for more common illness, flu, etc
  4. Have a plan for 2nd level of care from urgent care, specialists, etc.
  5. When new symptoms or confusing signals present themselves, consult your doctor to begin the care process
  6. Above all else, try to use sound judgement and take a team approach.  Let the symptoms be your guide
With any luck, Tyler simply has a stomach bug (like practically every one else right now) and will be back on his feet soon.  For now....we watch and wait.....

Be well and God bless.   Tom

Click to Comment!

Post a Comment

Thanks for your comment! It will be added once it is reviewed. Have a nice day!