Sunday, February 15, 2015

You'll Be the One Who Knows

What's it like having a medically fragile child who at the same time is unable to tell you his symptoms or what it feels like in his body?

You hold your breath. You check him over every day for any sign of illness, injury and you hope you find nothing. When there is an injury or illness, you hold you breath. You treat it and hope it doesn't spread. You keep the dark thoughts in the back of your mind from entering your conscious mind. You pray the doctors are right in their diagnosis and are doing the right thing. 

You spend a lot of time researching. And hoping. Hoping something will add up. Hoping the symptoms will come together and make sense. 

I spend time teaching. Teaching the language of pain. Hoping he will understand and be able to start telling me. And knowing how hard it is to teach your child the different types of pain. And silently crying on the inside when he does tell you the pain he's in. Knowing every day he's having pounding headaches or it feels like a sharp knife as he tells you. 

Then you call doctors. You research. You try to put the pieces together. Treatment begins and you hold your breath. You hope it's the right thing. But you prepare for if it's not. 

Sometimes you have to protect your child instead of being able to hug and kiss them. This may be one of the hardest things. When my job just becomes protecting and keeping him from hurting himself because the pain inside himself is too great, I often weep at night for the choices we must make. And I just want to hug him and tell him it will be okay and I will make it better. Nothing breaks your heart more than watching them suffer and know you are helpless, other than to try to calm and keep searching for answers. 

It's one thing to be medically fragile, it's another thing to then not be able to tell you the symptoms. Everything is locked up inside their body and you have to play a behavior detective to figure out what the symptoms are and what the cause of those symptoms are. It's a vicious circle. Through it all, you hold your breath. More than anything you love. You love harder than most people can imagine because you never know what the next moment will bring. Will I have the dimple smile and tears of happiness or will I have the cries of pain? Nothing in this world prepares you for the agony inside your heart and the hope that your child will be free of pain and back to health. But to also realize this cycle will not end anytime soon. 
So you are often holding your breath. And loving. Loving harder than you ever thought imaginable. And when you hug, you hug deeper, stronger and longer than you knew was possible. And you live, live a fuller life than you ever imagined and cherish each moment your child is well and happy and smiling. 

And you say I love you. Always. As much as possible. So he will always know your love is there and never wavering. 

"When they ask how far love goes, when my job is done, you'll be the one who knows. " Dar Williams.