Saturday, August 23, 2008

My Broken Heart

My heart broke a little bit today. Or at least I think that's what I felt. I really don't know. I don't know exactly how to describe it.

The boy is on medicine daily. Twice a day. Nothing major just a precaution to keep him healthy and keep his breathing and respiratory system clear.

For the most part, I remember the medicine. I will not deny that I forget. It's noticeable when I forget. It reminds me that he really does need it.

Today we had a bunch of the neighborhood kids and moms over for sno-cones and play time and sprinkler time. It was a nice time. The boy had a BALL! Seriously. Such a good time.

At one point he came over to me and I could see he was sniffling and was breathing hard. I also saw he was getting red and splotchy.

Shit. I forgot his medicine. It gets bad when he's outside so I always try to make sure I remember before we go out. Today, I forgot.

I had to wheel and deal with him to get him inside. Then he didn't want to leave the area around teh front door. He did not want to come in to take his medicine. I get that. I let him stand just inside the front door, went into the kitchen, measured the prescribed amount and brought it to him.

Two of the little girls that were over were standing just on the other side of the front door. A glass door. The one little girl said to the other girl, her sister, "Why does he have to take medicine? Is it because he's shy?"

I chuckled to myself. The boy is pretty far from shy. He loves playing with other kids. He enjoys playing with these little girls. He is pretty outgoing. I just had to laugh. And then it made me sad.

Maybe I should have made the boy follow me in to the kitchen to give him the medicine. Maybe I should have just let it slide and given him the medicine later.
I didn't do any of those things. I held back a few tears and sent the boy back outside to play and put the spoon in the sink. As I came back outside the little girl was asking the boy why he needed medicine.

My boy told her that he needs medicine because he goes to the doctor everyday. Then he ran off into the sprinkler. I chuckled again. The little girl asked me if he really does go to the doctor every day. I told her no but he did go a lot and he still goes more than most kids. I explained that this past winter he was very sick and the medicine makes sure that he stays healthy and keeps him from getting sick again. The little girl walked away.

My son is fairly healthy. He hasn't had a cold in months. A minor fever here or there. He's been doing so well since coming out of the hospital. Really recently he's started looking really healthy and getting back to normal. He still needs the medicine.

I know that winter will come and there's a good chance that he could develop pneumonia again- he's susceptible now. I know that winter will come and there's a chance his asthma might flare up. There are so many what ifs for him. I don't dwell on them but today it really broke my heart.

It just made me sad to have him be different in some way. It made me sad that the medicine that makes him healthy and keeps him from getting sick is what makes him different. This little piece of my heart just broke for him when those little girls innocently asked why he was taking medicine.

Like any other pain or difference or sadness I wanted to take it from him. I wanted to erase the hospital. I wanted to throw away the medicine. I wanted to make it all better. I know I can't do that. I think what made me the most sad was that he didn't hesitate when the girls asked him about his medicine. He answered about the doctor as if it were the most common thing in the world. I hate that.

That's what broke my heart.

I know there are so many kids out there that are so much sicker and suffer so much more. I think of them often. I remember them from the children's ward. I pray for them and their families.

As an adult I think of the things that I go through and I try to recognize them as experiences that make me stronger. As a parent I see the experiences that my children have that would be difficult for even an adult and I want to erase them.

My heart broke a tiny bit for my son today and my mind wondered if he would ever move past the hospital and the sickness. I wondered if he would ever stop having the nightmares. If he would ever realize that doctor is not so commonplace. Then I wondered, maybe it's the same for him as it is for adults. Maybe these experiences will stay with him forever. Maybe the hospital and the sickness will be ingrained on his heart and his mind and he'll grow up to help another. Maybe the experience that broke my heart will lead him to help heal another's heart.

I don't really know. I'd like to think that the experiences that stay with him longer are making him into the caring man I hope he'll be.


Kate said...

I so understand how you feel. My three year old has some learning delays and started going to school for this when he was two. It would be so easy to feel like it's not fair that he has this problem - and that all of my friends' 3 year olds that were born at the same time don't.

But then I look at the other kids in his class that have more serious conditions that - ones that won't ever go away. And that's what ultimately makes me choose to be thankful that my child will eventually have the more "normal" future in school.

And I really hope that the time he's spent struggling with his own delays and getting to know other kids with more severe delays will make him a kinder and more patient person.

Not *exactly* the same thing that you're talking about. But I appreciated the underlying sentiment.

Kate said...

My nephew was born with a cleft palate. He's 21 now and had more surgeries than I can even count. Everyone was always worried about how he would handle all of the hospital stays and scars, etc.. I would never wish pain on anyone, but sometimes I think that his experiences have made him a more understanding person. Not that I think anyone should have to go through sickness just to be a good person, but sometimes our struggles, whether physical or emotional, help us see things differently. I hope that makes sense.

I really hope your son stays well this winter. I have asthma and my Dr. made me get a pneumonia shot.

Helen E.M. Wright said...

I am sending *hugs* your way!!

I bet he doesn't think about it even half the amount that you do!

Yes, he is different AND special...he is yours and very well loved!

Alison said...

my son has asthma also and I understand about the medicine thingy....but...we had a bad scare one year while camping and I also saw how fast we can lose him to the is fine line!!

I just got caught up on your blog and your coupon organizer post made me laugh...and I hope to get invited to your next dinner party!!!

crazy working mom said...

This is a very heartfelt post. You are a wonderful and caring mom and some day he's going to make a wonderful husband because of the love that you have given him! :)

Neurotic Grad Student said...

I have an alarm set to go off every night to remind me to take my medicine. It's on my cell phone, so unless it's on silent mode, I always remember. Maybe something like this could help so it's less likely you'll forget?

Kris said...

Oh that makes me sad too because I do know how you feel. My daughter has multiple medical issues and had some problems with classmates the first day of school. She is always getting asked questions about her medical problems ("What is theat" pointing to her insulin pump and "Why do you go to the nurses office so much?") and it doesn't seem to bother her as much as it bothers me. (At least she says it doesn't bother her) I do understand why you were upset. We hate to see our kids seem different in any way. I will keep him in my prayers that he gets through the winter months without any complications. (((HUGS)))

Momo Fali said...

I definitely know where you're coming from. With my son, we try to turn his differences into something "cool"...something to be proud of. The things he has lived through are amazing. We almost lost him twice. He's had eight surgeries and he's only six years old. That makes him pretty tough.

Immoral Matriarch said...

I'm so sorry that he needs it. I know the pain you are feeling, in a way, and I know that nothing I can say will mend your heart.

He will mend it though. Watching him grow up into a beautiful and perfectly imperfect child will help. :)

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