Air Pressure, Autism and How To Make A Perfect Arnold Palmer

Em has a cold.  When Em has a cold it’s stressful to her.  She repeatedly holds her nose and blows, despite being told this will not reduce the pressure she feels in her head, she does it anyway.  Maybe it momentarily does release the pressure and that’s why she keeps doing it.  I don’t know.  What I do know is that having a cold along with a change in air pressure causes her tremendous discomfort and pain.  A friend of mine, who is also Autistic told me her head feels as though it’s going to explode when the air pressure changes.  She told me it’s so excruciatingly painful she loses the ability to speak.

While I do not share in Em’s pain due to the barometric pressure, I did manage to throw my back out Friday afternoon.  No this is not going to be a “woe is me” post, I promise.  I could barely walk on Saturday and so Richard, being the all around amazing, wonderful, practically perfect guy that he is, took Em to the Metropolitan Museum of Art, ending with the Natural History Museum where they played an extended elevator game. (Emma rides the glass elevator in the biolife section where an enormous whale is suspended from the ceiling and a video plays on a massive screen showing the beauty of the ocean and the slow, march towards its inevitable death because of mankind’s negligence and refusal to take responsibility, while Richard pops into view and pretends to scream, and Emma, safely cocooned inside the moving glass elevator hysterically laughs.)  This game can go on for a very long time.  Thankfully Emma was NOT slowed down by her cold or the pain caused by the air pressure.

By the time they returned home I was able to hobble up to the roof with Em where she insisted on wearing this outfit.  It’s a new take on the standard knight costume, a kind of King Arthur’s knight meets one of the witches from Macbeth.  Personally I think it totally works and can we all take a moment and admire Emma’s pose.  (No.  I did not set this up.  She saw the camera and struck a pose unprompted..)

Last night, having spent yet another jam-packed day going to MOMA and (yes again) to the Natural History Museum with her awesome dad, Emma’s cold had worsened only slightly and my back had not improved.  “You two are quite the pair,” Richard observed as I hobbled over to Em’s bedroom, carrying my iPad, while making (almost inaudible) groaning noises.

“I’m going to read to her and then it’s zombie time,” I warned him.  Lest any of you conclude this is referring to some form of kinky foreplay specific to Richard and me, let me dispense with this notion.  It’s not.  We are catching up on season two of the series ‘The Walking Dead’, which Richard has tried to get me to watch for about six months.  Given my weakened state I finally gave in and found I rather enjoyed it.  Lots of zombies, end of the world as we know it, great non-zombie characters and it’s only while watching a zombie show that one can truly appreciate the following conversation: “That was totally unrealistic!  Zombies can’t move that quickly.”  Or “Gross.  How can a zombie have that much blood in their skull?”  Or  “So, wait… they eat humans?  But how are there so many of them?  I mean are the zombies basically left-overs?  Why would they just bite one human and devour another, seriously I don’t get it…”

And then, as though this might explain everything, Richard asked, “Want to go back and start from the first episode?  You’ve missed a lot.”

“No.  That’s okay.  Just keep filling me in.”

So when I was jolted awake at 3:45AM by a body (Emma’s) lying practically on top of me, I just rolled over in a zombie induced state of undead exhaustion.  I heard Richard get up and take her back to her bedroom and ten minutes after he returned to our bed, having immediately fallen back asleep, I heard Emma crying.

I grimaced in pain as I made my way to her bedroom where she had the lights on and was whimpering “Mommy come.  Ears popping.  Go see Mommy nurse.”

“Oh Emmy.  I’m sorry.  Want me to lie down with you for a little while?”

“Mommy stay.”

I promptly fell asleep only to be abruptly awoken, a few hours later when my face hit the floor, having fallen out of bed, either that or Emma pushed me in an attempt to gain a few more inches of room on her twin bed.  In a dazed state I slowly stood up and found, much to my surprise, my back felt fine!

“I think falling out of Em’s bed this morning made my back better,” I announced to Richard as we got breakfast for the children.

“Really?” he said.   Then he added, “Cheaper than a chiropractor.”

“And not as painful as a zombie bite.”

As an added plus, Emma seemed to feel much better this morning too!

Lest anyone accuse me of ‘making lemonade from lemons’, I need to add that I was voted, “Most Negative” in high school, a high school, by the way, of over 3,000 students.  Just sayin’… Plus, I don’t much care for lemonade, unless it’s in an Arnold Palmer and even then limeade is preferable.

The Perfect Arnold Palmer

Fill two-thirds of a glass with brewed, cooled English Breakfast Tea, add Limeade and a splash of Cran-Raspberry juice, garnish with a sprig of fresh mint. Voila! 

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33 responses to “Air Pressure, Autism and How To Make A Perfect Arnold Palmer

  1. Your love for one another healed you both! :O)

  2. Most negative lol lol for some odd reason I feel my heart well up with pride for you no sarcasm at all, that just rocks. Out of over 3000!

  3. We have that issue with cold or pressure. It seems that the passage swell too much and if feels like stuff is there even when it isn’t. rain is the worst over here. So glad that your back is better. It hard to be a supportive mommy when you don’t feel good. I hope Emma feels better! oh for some reason Ice water seems to help almost all moods. Don’t know why. maybe its a distraction?

    • My son is a big fan of ice water!
      On a separate note, the air pressure pain is one I thought specific to Emma, but have since heard from a number of adults who find it intolerable for them as well. Hearing them describe their pain has helped me understand Emma’s better.

  4. You don’t have to be autistic for the air pressure thing to be a problem. I can tell you every change in weather. And when we get one of our (unfortunately fairly frequent) tornado warnings and the sirens go off, I’m already in the basement, hoping the tornado just comes and gets me, because it can’t be worse than the icepick through my brain and left ear.
    So Emma has my complete sympathy.

    • That sounds awful!
      I have become much more aware of the changing air pressure. Both my mother and I tend to get headaches before a storm, but nothing like what Emma experiences or what you describe. Horrible!

  5. Air pressure changes should be illegal and Emma may want to consider moonlighting as a fashion designer on the side of singer on the stage. Many of them do that and I think she has more flair and individuality than most!

  6. PS because you are awesome I forgive you for tinkering with the purity of iced tea.

  7. Poor Em. Glad she is feeling better. That is the thing that I hate most about Risa being non-verbal – when she’s in pain, she can’t tell us. 😦

    She is actually going to the doctor this afternoon. I took her about ten days ago for the rash on her legs, which the doctor said was impantago. She gave her some antibiotics, which did nothing – the rash is worse than ever. I was kind’ve pissed she didn’t test for staph, which Risa has a history of. Even if that’s what it was, the antibiotics should’ve cleared it up, so…I don’t know. She has also had a very nasty sounding cough for about a week now that is sounding much worse, so – our usual Monday afternoon therapy is being replaced by a trip to the doc.

    I have thrown my back out before like you describe, it’s excruciating! The last time I did it was literally bending over to pick up something, and standing up the wrong way. That’s hilarious falling out of bed made it better, I’ll have to remember that.

    Love the new costume – and loathe Arnold Palmers, I’m a straight iced tea kind’ve gal myself, not even sugar in it.

    I’ll have to put Richard’s book on my To Do List of Reading. It keeps getting longer every day!

    • You LOATHE Arnold Palmers? Angie. I don’t know what to say!

      • Angie drinks iced tea the correct real way. Pure, no sugar. But I don’t know if I would loathe it your way because I am very busy not trying it.

        • Thanks for the defense, Ib! 😉

          So, we went to the doctor – and her legs are just her eczema. Really? She’s only had eczema since she was a baby, and you don’t know the difference between that and impantago? And apparently her cough is nothing, her lungs are clear, ears look fine, etc.

          We did get a referral to the dermatologist. My mom told me to try the new Neosporin Eczema cream, she’s sworn it’s cleared hers up, so it’s off to the drugstore after dinner.

          I swear, I’m so sick of doctors, hospitals, therapists, schools…..I could just scream!

  8. “She repeatedly holds her nose and blows, despite being told this will not reduce the pressure she feels in her head, she does it anyway. Maybe it momentarily does release the pressure and that’s why she keeps doing it. I don’t know. ”

    She’s trying to pop her ears, but won’t close her mouth because it would make her head explode. That’s my guess, anyway. I did it that way until I was 13, so…

    • Yes, I agree, we taught her to do that many years ago. What happened as you grew older? Did the pressure cause less pain?
      The problem is Em does it so frequently it can only give momentary relief before they bother her again. Chewing gum seems to help a bit. :/

      • You are lucky she doesn’t add the sound effects I used to add to try to rasp the alleged stuff out. Gum helps, and so do decongestants, camphor scents like Vicks, and anti swelling agents like Advil. I think with no cold there is no stuff; I think everyone swells a bit with pressure change, and sensitive people detect it and are aware of how heinous it feels. Now with a cold on top of it, there is actual stuff, so it is at least twice the horrible. This can be detected by most people of all sensitivity levels.

        • Em is feeling better. Her ears didn’t bother her at all and she whipped through her math homework when she got home. Math Homework! She goes to a school where they give her homework!! I was so excited I could barely sit still. (It was basic addition, but still!!!)

          • Maybe math helped her ears like falling out of bed helped your back. Math and pratfalls are very similar on many levels- and both awesome.

        • oh and Ib, I can so “see” you hacking and coughing and making those rasping noises! 😦

      • I learned to pop my ears with my mouth closed, which worked better. I was still miserable though. I’m happy now because I live at sea level.

  9. i am emma, friend emma and dear ariane. i believe little emma you and me same. how feel when you make nose snort just like elephant.pressure make sounds of hurt explode like energy eruptions. i neuromonics use it is much better.

  10. Emma! I am so happy neuromonics is helping. I read your description of all the “bees” and how awful that must be to have to cope with.
    Em is feeling much better today. She is watching her favorite Imax DVD right now – Hubble – about the hubble telescope. Have you seen the documentary they made about it? The Hubble telescope has sent us the most beautiful images from space. It’s beyond beautiful. 💙

  11. Ok, Emma and Henry will have the best time together! Museums, glass elevators, the Hubble telescope and striking poses..pure heaven!! I’m glad you are both feeling better. xo

  12. My head is set right again; almost. from chlorinated sittings poolside and getting my head all stuffed up–the return journey by plane was a silent scream. An evil combo for me. I usually avoid pools . . . So I usually fly without an ultra-super sensitive body. This last flight howled.

    Something to think about–my reactions to chlorine is similar to a nasty head cold. So when people I work with develope cold symptoms, I take inventory of environment. One lad I work with gets sickness around even the smallest amount of bleach. He now avoids bleach.

    Sometimes a cold isn’t just a cold.

    • So glad you’re home safe, ‘yote and feeling a little better. I can relate to the “silent scream” on the airplane. Although “howled” was just as apt a description, particularly given those paws of yours and that tail.

  13. Barometric Blues; Barometric Bananas; Barometric Bonkers; My daughter is 18. She received her PDD at age 2, PDDNOS at 3, her autism diagnosis at age 4 and age 12 also received a psychotic disorder NOS at age 12 (Gotta love puberty). We have been dealing with barometric pressure (and the full moon) for what seems forever. This week is suppose to be a winter week but it was interrupted with the temperature going from the teens to the forties from snowy to sunshine to rain. Talk about a mess! I was in my daughters room last night until 1 am with her crying and not being able to settle herself. No words comforted her. Me practically laying on top of her gave her some relief. Heavy pressure always seems to help. She is feeling better this morning but we have about 3 more days of wacky weather to deal with. My thoughts and prayers go to all of us and our children, who suffer more than we do.

    • Aw Cindy… I hope your daughter feels better soon. Awful. Emma hasn’t had any recurrence of her ears popping since I wrote this post last fall, which is kind of incredible given how crazy this winter has been. It was snowing earlier this morning and is suppose to be in the upper 50’s by Wednesday!

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