* S is for sanitary

germ-41367_640Blogging A-Z: S is for sanitary.  I don’t mean sanity, but the two can go together.

WARNING: This post contains graphic information of the sort that my husband refuses to read or discuss at dinner.  You may want to skip this one.  I know he will.

My two worst school-related illnesses were transmitted by one kid on the autism spectrum.  Here’s the background on “Adam.”  Because he was so socially impaired, Adam had never developed those valuable pre-kindergarten antibodies; he was never close enough to any student to share materials OR germs.  When he started kindergarten and learned to sit and work with a group, Adam caught everything.  Of course, he hadn’t learned to manage the bodily functions associated with these illnesses.  One day, he showed up in my room, looking quite pale, while I heard desperate calls on the intercom for a custodian to report to his classroom.  I wrote my first social story on “how to vomit into a toilet” for this kiddo.  After he had learned this valuable skill, I found myself practicing it as well.

On another occasion, Adam came to my room for social skills instruction with a chest cold that resembled TB.  As I looked at Adam’s face, with this brownish mucus oozing from his nose, my know-it-all self took charge.  I gave him a tissue and said, “Blow your nose.”  Adam obeyed promptly, spraying the table with the most disgusting slime I’d ever seen (except perhaps in the Alien movie series).  A couple of the less distracted kids actually saw this and were quite fascinated.  I regretted my assumption that Adam knew the relationship between a tissue and nose blowing.  That was the impetus for another social story and my acquisition of antibacterial wipes.

Adam had a tough time kicking that “bug” so he had much-needed practice in using tissues for nose-blowing.  Sadly, I had not anticipated sneezing.  I don’t know what to say in my defense.  For some reason, I was on a deadly slow learning curve with Adam.  I was up close and personal as I demonstrated how to get all that crud from his nose.  YOU know what’s coming, but I never anticipated that mother of all sneezes, which drenched and coated my eyelashes.  Within two days, I had bronchitis and was eventually hospitalized for pneumonia.

Adam taught me all I ever needed to know about: sanitary.

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