Friday, April 30, 2010

always look on the bright side of life

When the medical team that was treating my boy reported that nothing had been found on his scans, I think they anticipated a joyful reaction. What I mustered was a vapid blink. All that I heard was that there was nothing. Nothing to fix. I was unprepared for this development. The news was undoubtedly good, the best we could have hoped for. Certainly a much better outcome than that team, from the scruffy tall neurologist right down to the bright-eyed med student, had expected. But there was nothing to fix.

We went home to wait it out, scarcely comprehending the prognosis of perfect good health because we were so hung up on the terms: days, weeks, months. What does this mean? Do I leave work? Does he leave school? Do I push him to try harder? Does trying harder exhaust him and slow his healing? Is he going to forget how to ride a bike? Will his friends still be there when he gets back? It was impossible to wrap my head around the facts of omission, all the things he could not do, everything he was missing.

I floated in this haze for a few days. We kept up with his schoolwork, we ambled around. Every time he lurched, it was a slap in the face. What the fuck? I mean really, what the fucking fuck? Is this for real?

One evening I left for my respite, the gym, after my husband got home from work. I cried as I drove, just wallowing in the shittiness of this shit. I was just so tired. Constant worry is exhausting! At one point I took a conscious deep breath, and let it out in a half growl, half sigh, half sob (note to self: stop trying to teach him math). And then I snapped out of it.

The scans were clean! Holy crap, those doctors totally thought they were going to find a tumor or MS or stroke. He’s going to be fine! He. Is. Going. To. Be. Okay.

What’s a few months? A few months is a veritable fart in the breeze, that’s what. We can totally handle this.

And with that simple twist of perspective, we started handling it. We began some alternative treatments, and we arranged for the key to his independence and our right to adventure.

We are learning so much from this. He was self conscious and nervous to go on our first outing where there would be people he knows (other than Beth), when we went on a field trip with a group from school. He was unsure about how to answer questions and worried that people would make fun of him, despite my continued assurances that I would squarely kick the ass of anyone who dared try. The kids, of course, were great. There was a resounding chorus of “coooooooooool” and there might have been questions if my boy would have stopped yakking for 2 seconds to let someone else squeeze in a word.

He told me later that it didn’t bother him at all if kids stared at him, but he hated the way that grown ups were looking at him. That hit such a chord – I’m sure I make that same sad smile-face that he imitated whenever I catch the glance of a kid in a wheelchair! What a gift we have to be privy to this understanding, to roll a mile in another boy’s wheels, and know that in just a few months, he is going to be okay.

We've just got to keep looking on the bright side of life.


looking on the bright side in PA said...

Thanks for the reminder...and I'm borrowing the clip for my FB page.

I'm sure the Dr.s are still talking about that mom who wasn't happy that she had nothing to "fix"! :)

Nothings cooler to kids than an opportunity to wheel around a bit! Even Glee recognizes that.

Me, You, or Ellie said...

This is just awesomely tremendous, Jacqueline. I admire you so much, I really do. For your parenting skills and your coping skills and your sense of humor and your sense of perspective, of course all that. Mostly, though, I admire you for your writing skills:

What a gift we have to be privy to this understanding, to roll a mile in another boy’s wheels.

In a word? You rock.

I love you.

Me, You, or Ellie said...

Great post, Jacquie!!

And I know that you "can totally handle this." You can. And you will, and you'll all learn many, many a life lesson, along the way, I'm sure :-)

And, really, that new ride of his?So cool.

Love the video.

And I concur with Ellie -- you rock!


Unknown said...

You're a strong lady, my friend. I'm impressed with your ability to deal with shit. Shitty shit. And I'm impressed with Jimmy, too. No doubt he is handling this so well because of you...

Of note, Conor is dying to try out Jimmy's new ride...thinks it's better than the trampoline... :)

Love you guys. Let's drink soon.

Me, You, or Ellie said...

You crack me up, Autumn.


Pickles and Dimes said...

It's got to be scary just having to wait out those few months with no diagnosis, you know? Nothing to research, nothing to fight, nothing to focus your energies on.

I'm sorry you don't have any definite answers right now, but I am so glad that you've eliminated the scarier possibilities.

Your boy is too cute!

Anonymous said...

all i can say is you are so cool J. There is no greater pain than that of a mother who sees her child struggle with illness or injury. youve gone through this with grace and class and a few F bombs too! i love ur style lady, and give that cool roller-dude a hug from me. bridget

MB said...

Love your post, Jacq. And I love your spirit, and I love your kids' spirit(s), and I love Bill's spirit. Miss all you guys, and positive thoughts all around. xoxo MB

Mom C said...

You're all in our thoughts and prayers every minute - it's all going to be all right. We love you. mom and dad