Every crisis is a vocabulary-building exercise…

Last night, as we waited to be seen at the Urgent Care, I was thinking of how much of my sign language is the result of something going wrong.  When J started complaining sometime around 5 PM yesterday, we went through all the vocabulary we collectively know in order to diffuse the crisis.  Between the Proloquo, the sign language and talking and talking…we got nowhere.

Actually, no, we got somewhere….we got to TOOTH.  The LAST thing we would have wanted to hear was TOOTH, and that’s what we got.  I managed to convince J to open his mouth wide, and TGG and I proceeded to check J’s mouth and throat.  With a tongue depressor from the first aid kid (what?  Your first aid kit doesn’t have tongue depressors????,) we inspected J’s teeth and mouth, and then we looked at his throat…his red, swollen, angry-looking throat.

Ah!  Clarity (or swollen mass of tissue angrily staring back at us!)  I explained to J that we were going to the doctor.  DENTIST?  No, not this time…thank God!  We have to go to the doctor so they can look at your throat.  The perplexed look on J’s face was enough to tell me that, even though he’s been equipped with one that flares up from time to time, the concept of THROAT was foreign to him. While I tried to point to his throat and indicated with the tongue depressor that we were going farther back than his molars, TGG ran to look for the website I use for my ASL…  He returned with the sign for THROAT and, after a three-second tutorial, we all went around demonstrating that we too have throats, we signed the word for him, differentiating it from TOOTH, MOUTH and TONGUE, and then J -a bit concerned by the over-the-top emoting- got dressed and off to the Urgent Care we went.

We were there for approximately half an hour, and during that time J managed to make TGG the winner of the “how many times will J hide in the bathroom” pool.  I said 7; Dada (who was convinced his experience gave him an edge in predicting this) said 5, and TGG won with six.  The staff at the Urgent Care really has us pegged for a bunch of weirdos; we arrive in a herd, go in as a herd, and manage to laugh our way through the whole visit as if the possibility of strep throat was reason for hilarity.

While we waited, J used his Proloquo to inform us that he wanted to go to the store, and that he wanted to buy cheese, pizza, noodles, soda and cookies. Once they’d checked his blood pressure, his weight, temperature, etc., etc., he declared himself to be FINISHED with the whole thing, said THANK YOU to the ether and wanted to go.  His insistence, combined with a persistence we all know he is fully capable of, made for rapid-fire THANKYOUTHANKYOUTHANKYOUI’MFINISHEDGOODGOODEVENINGIWANTTOGOTOTHESTOREPLEASECHEESEPIZZASODACOOKIE.  Six or seven of these strings of stream of consciousness and we were laughing our heads off.  Dada made it worse by, after the fourth trip to the bathroom, asking what J would do if he ever found a toilet installed in an examination room.  For some reason, this made us all laugh even louder, and the nurse poked her head in to make sure we weren’t playing with any medical supplies.

J had a bit of a temperature, the NP said, but his quick-test had come back negative for strep.  They would, however, be sending the sample to the lab for a proper culture and they’d call us when they had results.  They recommended Tylenol for the pain, and just to bring him back if anything else developed.  Declaring ourselves satisfied with the situation, off to the store we went.  J, having received costly and dedicated attention from his entire family and from the staff at the Urgent Care, was happy and spent the rest of the evening comfortably waiting for us to cater to his every need.  We didn’t comply with this part of the equation, by the way; we reminded him that he simply had a sore throat and that he’d survive, so he had to wash dishes and help out as he normally would on a Friday night.

This morning, much to our surprise, he was up early, but he didn’t try to cajole us out of bed, force us to have coffee or demand anything other than that Zelda remove herself from his path as he returned from the bathroom to his bedroom.  He acted quite nicely when I went in to check him, asking me for medicine (which he got,) permission to go downstairs (which I reminded him he didn’t really need,) and license to get his snacks (which I extended while asking for prudence in his choices.)  When Dada and I went out to run errands, J stayed with TGG at home and they watched cartoons all morning until we came back.

Once all the groceries had been put away, a process that J oversaw with great care, we took the new patio umbrella out of the car.  If we had brought home treasure from a sunken ship, J wouldn’t have been happier…he supervised the placement of the umbrella on its stand, inspected the mechanism to open and close it, and skipped back into the living room to watch TV.  Once the temperature is back up (it has been cold and windy all day,) he will start sitting outside to listen to his music and -because he has WiFi on his iPad- to watch movies on Netflix.  Summer, we now see, is officially around the corner and J knows it…

THROAT.  I learned how to sign THROAT.  I didn’t know this one.  Why?  Heaven knows.  J’s had enough sore throats over time that I SHOULD know THROAT in sign, but I didn’t.  Just in case I also looked up TONSILLITIS.  Thank goodness we won’t need that one, but it’s there in the repertoire…unused and unneeded for now.


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