Mildly Concerned

I’ve just about decided I don’t like the word mild – except as it relates to cheddar cheese and salsa. Mild should come with a warning label…

I believe I recognized the signs of “mild” cognitive decline due to dementia in my mother-in-law a couple of years ago. Although I did what I could to point them out, the symptoms and effects were minimal and it was easy to do what we could to cope and just move on. There were other possible explanations. There were more pressing matters (like infant twins and a newly diagnosed autistic daughter). Now we have almost reached a crisis point, and I am wondering if I should have pushed harder back when things were “mild.”

Some would say that my daughter has a “mild” form of autism. After all she can speak, she wants to be with people, and while she may never be a star pupil she seems to be capable of learning the fundamentals. She has an innate intelligence and drive that will cover a lot of academic deficit. What “mild” doesn’t cover is the occasional unavoidable meltdown, the communication breakdowns, and the social awkwardness that will eventually mark her as different from her peers, if it hasn’t already. It’s not the same set of issues that other children may have, but for her there’s nothing “mild” about feeling out of control and not being able to stop; or wanting a friend but not knowing how to start a friendship.

Mild seems to be a nice way of trying to ease people into accepting that there is a problem to be reckoned with, and I suppose that is nice as far as it goes. No one likes the bedside manner of, “Right, you have X disease. Let’s move on.” But I think it should be made clear that mild should not equate with “wait and see” or “hope for the best.” Mild should still be a call to action, intervention, support, and remediation, regardless of which label follows it.

As we are discovering, when enough mild things pile onto your plate all at the same time, things can still get pretty hot. Mild can turn moderate pretty fast and without a lot of warning, too.

Has mild ever caught you by surprise?

11 Responses to Mildly Concerned