When Queen Teen catches a cold, it can be a very big problem. Motor control difficulties and sneezing do not mix. She tries very hard to grab a tissue, but she simply can't get it out of the box and up to her nose before she sneezes. So she gets a lot of snot everywhere; all over her shirt, in her hair, on her face... everywhere.
There are boxes of tissues in every room. I keep fist-fulls in both pockets. Queen Teen keeps a box on her walker and another on the floor beside her while she plays. Her hair is pulled back tightly with extra hair-ties and clips. She wears an extra shirt over her t-shirt so it's easy to change when necessary. We're as ready anyone can be.
ACHOO! Uh oh... I spring into action, grabbing a tissue from my pocket as I run to her room, intercepting a thick string of snot hanging from her nose down to her chest. I grab it with the tissue and quickly pull it from her nose, wrapping it in the second tissue I grabbed from the box beside her, trying to wipe if away before she twists her head from my grasp and drags the snot-string across her face.
"Yuck!" she says, reaching up with her own tissue to wipe herself.
Whew, just in time. I dispose of the now wet and lumpy tissue, restock my pockets with fresh tissues, and wait for the next sneeze. They come quickly. Every fifteen minutes I race to try and grab the snot before she does. Occasionally she manages to get it first, and it's about a fifty-fifty shot that she'll clean herself up rather than smear the snot around. I know it's important she try to care for herself, but I wish she'd just let me do it. I'm getting tired of changing her shirt.
Sometimes the sneezes are tricky. She'll be walking into the kitchen with her walker and then suddenly stop, her eyes slightly crossing and her mouth open wide. She'll grab a tissue and hold it to her face. I will stand close by, a tissue in each hand, waiting. Will she sneeze, or not? Her mouth will open and close as if she's chewing on a giant piece of taffy and then she'll clamp her lips shut.
"Drat!" she'll say. "I hate it when that happens!"
Me too, baby.
And then, a few moments later, after we've both let down our guard... ACHOO!
This latest snot battle has gone for a week. Luckily she improved in time to go to her appointment at the Low Vision Clinic in Berkeley (more on that next time), and then she visited her dad for the weekend. I had one full day yesturday to rest from chasing snot and actually managed to drink an ENTIRE cup of coffee BEFORE it got cold. What a pleasure.
Last night, her dad called. "Queen Teen has a really runny nose and a temperature. What should I give her?"
I sighed. Looks like when she comes home this afternoon we'll be back to fighting snot. Oh well... I've had a day to rest, reload the tissue boxes, and drink so much tea I've flushed out any virus that might think of attacking me. I'm ready.