Sunday, April 19, 2009

Avoidance, Anemia and Our Kids


This is one of those rare personal posts, skip it if you are looking for all sped info (although there is some towards the end.)

Some of you have noticed and e-mailed me about my lack of posts lately. I have noticed my lack of posts as well. I have just been so tired. I get home from work and fall asleep. I try not to, I try to force myself to do all the things I normally do, but to no avail. I had my yearly physical about six weeks ago and all the results were as they always are: my diabetes is in perfect control (thanks miracle pump!), my blood pressure was good, etc, etc. I had low iron, but I always have low iron and was told to eat more leafy greens and red meat, except I don't really eat red meat in order to keep my cholesterol down.

I thought maybe my fatigue was starting on my allergy medication since it was spring, or maybe it was just the time of the year, but finally I gave in and went to the doctor again on Friday afternoon. This time my low iron had depleted even more and was officially anemic. I was prescribed iron and B-12 and sent on my way.

Since getting home from the appointment 48 hours I have logged 36 hours of sleep. No, I am not kidding. That is how completely exhausted was. Now that I am up and have done a couple of errands I am ready for bed again. I am thinking about my students, about all of our special needs students with communication difficulties.

How would they communicate to us that they are this exhausted? How would they let us know that they aren't just tired, that they aren't just fatigued, that they are exhausted beyond comprehension? It was hard enough to play detective on myself and I live in this body, how do we do it for our students or for our children? I was scolding myself, saying, "Kate, for crying out loud, you just went to the doctor, there is nothing wrong with you, suck it up and get busy!" I was wondering if I was engaging in avoidance behavior and if so what exactly was I avoiding? Now I have a lab slip that says that it wasn't avoidance, it was anemia. Now I can cut myself some slack, take the iron and the B-12, eat a steak and a bowl of spinach, and take a long nap twice a day until I feel like myself again.

I know to rule out the medical first with my students. I teach positive behavior support classes to teachers and paraprofessionals several times a year and I drill into their heads to rule out the medical first, but are we doing a good enough job with that? Are we looking at all the signs in front of us? Are we ruling out the right things? Are we being proactive and teaching our students how to communicate how they are feeling physically and emotionally and what they need?

Are we really looking at what they are showing us with their behavior and demeanor and not jumping to conclusions? Are we thinking outside the box and using our empathy to figure out what is going on? If one of our students were this exhausted would we have figured it out?

What do you think?

4 comments:

  1. Gosh, Kate, I'm glad you got some answers! My sister is dealng with something similar and I know how utterly exhausted it makes her. Sleep, sleep, sleep..and then eat antoher steak, would you please? ;-)

    Some people might dismiss this post by saying "Oh, c'mon, we'd be able to tell there was a problem." Yet, my son's teacher and staff couldn't. They tried to attribute what we know know was the beginning of a two year journey of excruciatig pain for Nik...as "behavior." Simply because he couldn't tell them "Somthing hurts." or "I don't feel well." I think this is one of the most important things we can teach or kids is how to communicate their pain in ways we can understand.

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  2. I too am always slightly anemic and always thought that was the cause of my always being tired. I went to a new doctor and she checked my vitamin D level and found that it was very low. She put me on a perscription strength dose of vitamin D that I take once a week. I have to tell you that the difference is amazing! I have more energy than ever and my muscle and joint pain has almost disappered. It may be worth checking that out.

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  3. Hmmm. I will have the doc check that at follow up.

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  4. good blog :) more info on anemia if required http://www.whatisanemia.info/

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