Fever and AS Symptom Reduction. Was: My current fever and AS

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longNstrong
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07 Jun 2010, 6:00 pm

I posted this in a thread in the News/Current events on the research on Autism and fevers and was hoping to start some discussion. It's a little quiet there, so I thought this might be a better forum to post this. Thanks to all who read it!

The original post:

I have the (mis-?)fortune of currently having a low grade fever, thanks to recent contact with an infant. And I thought I'd share some observations.

First of all, while this is really unpleasant, I am the most optomistic about life I have been in a long while. I hurt physically, but emotionally this is a world better than I have in ages.

That is not to say I am fully 'happy'. One aspect of this fever has been getting weepy. It seems my conscious thought is much more directed toward addressing my problems than it has been in a while. I have been furious with these thoughts and sometimes they involve heavy lifting that inevitably leads to tears.

I imagined conversations where I was working out the tension in my complicated relationships by talking through them with the other party. While this doesn't mean I will actually have these conversations, I am seeing those I had the relationships with and myself in a different light. I 'feel their pain' more and am much franker about my shortcommings vis-a-vis them. I don't really think my ideas vis-a-vis them are totally new, either, but they seem to come to me much, much faster and they are not limited to just one part of emotional spectrum, e.g. I can deeply respect their strengths and pity their weaknesses at the same time and become more forgiving in my attitudes because I am not so clearly either/or.

My ability to productively engage the future, as a concept in my mind, is much better than it has been in a ages. I am making plans and acting on them.

I am also strangely better at seeing my immediate needs. Changing my mind is easier and less disruptive than it usually is. That is kind of cool.

The effect appears to cumulative, i.e. I am at least 18 or so hours into the fever. It was 99.5F or 37.5C before, but I feel my best now at 99.1/37.28.

This feels just a bit like a mania. Mostly I am being hyperresponsible with things, i.e. I have taken care of a number of intractable practical things today. Basically my executive function feels really, really different than it usually does. Things are getting done. A lot of them. But it is new enough terrain I am a tad confused and worried things might go wrong. The slightly crazy structure of this post is kind of indicative of this: I need to tell you all this, but I feel so compelled I am not taking the time to add the structure I'd like to,even though I know I should. I think as I spend more time feeling 'better' like this, I might learn how to both have these thoughts and maintain the structure.

I think I remember planning phases of my life after my major illnesses. I had a better ability to think things through and decide where to apply my efforts. Those plans were all pretty good. While I am not sure I would not want another month of 103F/39.4C fevers like I had a few years ago, the period after that illness was one of the best of my life.

I think my ideas are more creative than usual. They retain their idosyncratic aspieness, but I am less uptight about following patterns. I actually need to write them down, which is the reason I am here for this.

Here's is one creative idea related to my fever and my AS. I think the fever might only be an indirect cause for my feeling better. I have long imagined sleep issues to be central to how my AS impacts me. Last night I spent nearly 14 hours in bed, wearing my eye mask and using my ear plugs to limit my sensory load. I didn't sleep the whole time, but I was away from much of the stimulation from sound and light I would go through in a normal day. I sometimes do something similar when I have migraines, though then it is even more a feeling of being forced to hide, as I have both photo- and phono-phobia. I usally feel better after migraines, too, but I find those to be much more painful than this cold, so that mitigates some of my post-migraine enjoyment.

Anyway, I just wanted to share before I get back to my busy day. This place is an important refuge for me, since I am only "out" about my AS here. I realize I should face up and all, but it had always felt like doing so would be too hard to handle. Being able to share and discuss this here hasn't always been easy, but I was always glad this resource was here. So giving everyone a heads up really felt required.



Last edited by longNstrong on 08 Jun 2010, 12:08 am, edited 1 time in total.

Claradoon
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07 Jun 2010, 9:19 pm

Some of that rings a bell with me.

But first - what do you mean by low grade fever? Because mine rarely goes higher than 36C (96.8F) and I thought low-grade meant below 37 (98.6F). And I have no pulse at all - the doctor can't find it, I have never found it - eventually they send for an experienced nurse who takes my wrist, looks at me like I'm out of my mind, moves her fingers again and again, and eventually comes up with a pulse. That annoys medical people! :roll: And they don't appreciate my offering to show them my ankle, where you can watch the pulse beat. Apparently that one doesn't count.

Anyway, when I am feverish, I cry without any reason. Also I usually want to create some form of excellence in myself, as if lying in bed crying needed something to compensate for my uselessness. I lie there and consider taking up running or gymnastics. But more often I'll decide to memorize Hamlet. I never retain a word of it.

There you are! Is that the executive function that you refer to? How good it would be to have an explanation.



liloleme
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07 Jun 2010, 10:39 pm

You got a fever from contact with an infant??? Ive had contact with lots of infants and they dont give me a fever!..a low grade fever can be caused by a virus and sometimes just from pain or inflammation.
A low grade fever is between 99F and 101F. Some people do have a lower or higher body temperature, not everyone is normal at 98.6F.



longNstrong
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07 Jun 2010, 11:44 pm

Claradoon wrote:
Some of that rings a bell with me.

But first - what do you mean by low grade fever? Because mine rarely goes higher than 36C (96.8F) and I thought low-grade meant below 37 (98.6F). And I have no pulse at all - the doctor can't find it, I have never found it - eventually they send for an experienced nurse who takes my wrist, looks at me like I'm out of my mind, moves her fingers again and again, and eventually comes up with a pulse. That annoys medical people! :roll: And they don't appreciate my offering to show them my ankle, where you can watch the pulse beat. Apparently that one doesn't count.

Anyway, when I am feverish, I cry without any reason. Also I usually want to create some form of excellence in myself, as if lying in bed crying needed something to compensate for my uselessness. I lie there and consider taking up running or gymnastics. But more often I'll decide to memorize Hamlet. I never retain a word of it.

There you are! Is that the executive function that you refer to? How good it would be to have an explanation.


I am not sure about when a fever is low grade or more serious. I do know that under normal circumstances, the upper bound of my temperature is around 98.6F/37. Anything higher is abnormal. I also know that during a very serious illness, my fever got as high as 104F/40C and that much of that illness, which lasted a month my temp was between 101F/38.3C and 103F/39.4C. That was a whole different ballgame.

Hamlet, btw was a good way to describe how the shift started. I did imagine I was finally confronting things and that I had to face up to their profundity. I know this sounds odd, but it is like I knew why things had gone wrong in the past, but only now was able to put them together. So there was a feeling of a cascade of profound thoughts at first. I kind of worked through them and started addressing thing today. Also I did a lot of housework, but I also got in touch with people and patched old relationships, found items I had lost for ages, and work on areas of my life that needed attention. That to me seems like improved executive function.

One thing that occurs to me is that in time, the more Hamlet-like feelings that have come with fevers fade to something stable and productive. But the first experience of my shifted self is quite dramatic.



longNstrong
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07 Jun 2010, 11:54 pm

liloleme wrote:
You got a fever from contact with an infant??? Ive had contact with lots of infants and they dont give me a fever!..a low grade fever can be caused by a virus and sometimes just from pain or inflammation.
A low grade fever is between 99F and 101F. Some people do have a lower or higher body temperature, not everyone is normal at 98.6F.


Ok, I didn't explain. Infants, especially ones that spend days at day care centers with other infants, tend to be highly susceptible to fevers and they are also less hygenic than adults. The infants mother used to work in day care and thanks to her I take this knowledge for granted.

As to my actual temp, I have a pretty good idea of what the 'normal' range is for me. Having had a serious illness before means that I took my temp twice a day for months.I also have been intriguied by the autism/fever connection for a while and taking my temperature has become something I do often. It also means I use the same thermometer, giving me a better sense of the deviation.

One note. My fever seemed to disappear towards the normal range around 6 hours ago and I can feel my mind returning to mush. I am better than I was 3 days ago, but the optomism from the feeling of a flexible mind is receeding.



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08 Jun 2010, 5:31 am

I've read about fever seeming to reduce autistic symptoms in infants. I can relate an incident 2am this morning where my 3yr old son was running a fever of about 40C. He was unusually playful and when I got up to get something, he followed me, took me by the hand, forcefully dragged me back to bed, pushed me into the bed, shut the door and hopped into bed with me giggling. He doesn't behave like this normally.
So thats my anecdote FWIW.