My son was sick on Tuesday. Oh, it was nothing traumatic - a simple virus that stuffed his sinuses and gave him a cough, and along with that came the fever.
The school nurse clocked him in at a respectable 103.6 degrees Fahrenheit, so I left work and he left school. And once I settled him in the car, I got to talk to my son.
Yes, of course, I do this every day, but Tuesday was special, because Tuesday he had a fever. And he wasn't so much a kid with autism because of it.
Feel free to Google it. It's called The Fever Effect, and while it doesn't happen to every kid with autism, it happens to enough of them for parents and researchers to notice. My David is one of those kids.
Anytime he runs a high fever, many of his autism behaviors quiet or disappear entirely. His echolalia goes away. Many of his OCD-type behaviors diminish or even vanish. He speaks in complete sentences, and he pulls context from conversations to continue the rapport. He makes eye contact.
And it's incredibly bittersweet. For a few hours, or maybe a few days, depending on the length of his illness, I get a glimpse of might-have-been-David.
So we talk and I ask him everything I always want to ask him about what goes on in that mind of his, and I treasure every single second. I don't see a different kid - and I want to stress that - because he's still David, and will always be David, with all that is within him that makes him quintessentially David.
He's just able to tell me more about himself, in a way that I can more easily understand.
It makes me wonder if this is how he feels every time I remember not to use so many words, or I crouch down to his level, or I cut the scratchy tag out of the back of his shirt so he can do his math homework. Every time I crawl into his world, for a little while.
Tuesday night, David visited me in my world. And it was wonderful.
And I am a terrible mother for picking up that bottle of Children's Motrin, and wishing I didn't have to give it to him.