Saturday, April 16, 2005

Lucky (not the Melissa Etheridge album)

Well, as usual, my procrastination and laziness are showing off. I haven't posted in a month, and I've got three half-written entries waiting to be finished. For some reason (PMS?) I feel slightly motivated this evening. So I'm going to do my damndest to finish something. For once.

As you might have guessed, Ethan had his surgery. It took place almost 4 weeks ago. His full body cast is cumbersome for us and uncomfortable for him, but we are all dealing. He had a follow-up appointment yesterday where the surgeon told us he is healing ahead of schedule. How that is possible, I don't know, but I'm not gonna question good news. Our next follow-up is a month away, and by then, he will probably be able to have a removable cast instead of a permanant one.


The surgery seems to have been a success. The doctors were able to do everything they wanted to and he lost a minimal amount of blood in the 10+ hour procedure. The hardest part of the past four weeks has been handling when Ethan cries. It is difficult when your child can only communicate "I'm happy" or "I'm mad" and you have to play a guessing game to figure out what might be bothering him. But that's another post for another day.

The biggest thing I've taken out of this whole experience is the reminder - yet again - of how lucky I really am.

I think that there are a lot of people out there who pity me. I have been given more pathetic looks by co-workers, acquantances, and strangers on the street than I can count. A lot of people feel sorry for Jete and I when they first hear about Ethan's situation. They ennoble us, put us on a pedastal as some sort of charity case or something. How do you do it? they ask. I don't know how you have the strength.

I never understand the wonder people have for us. We do it because we have to. We have the strength because he is our son. If he had ADD, asthma, chicken pox, cancer, or some other of millions of problems, we would get through that too. What choice do you have? You get up in the morning, you take care of everyone around you (including yourself as much as possible) and you go on. That's life. The only other option is giving up, and there are far too many good things about life for me to want to do that.

We went to the hospital for our pre-op appointment a week before the surgery and we saw so many sick children there. With obvious deformities. Bald heads from cancer treatment. Oxygen masks. Blind. Mentally retarded. Amputees. And they all get up every morning and keep going. How can I do any less?

The truth is, my life is no more difficult than anyone else's. It is no more difficult than anyone who has a "normal" child - whatever that is. Every day is a challenge and presents different obstacles, but every day has its good moments too. And for that, I am damn lucky.

We have two beautiful sons. Both with a lot of potential. One with a lot of complications. But they are happy. And healthy, despite maintenance like this surgery that the CP requires. We have a safe and stable home. We have wonderful friends. We have two extended families that love us.

More importantly, we have each other. I have a true partner. He's not perfect. (Neither am I, in case you were wondering.) But together, we are perfect. We balance each other. We share the load... Not always 50/50. The one who is strongest at the moment takes the brunt of it, and back and forth we go like a see-saw. We don't have to feel alone in the daily challenges. In a strange way, it has bonded us more strongly. No one else knows exactly what I have been through the past three years like he does.

Of course there are times I want to tear his head off, or we are both so exhausted we can't stand the sight of each other. But there are good times, too. A lot more than I feel I deserve. And how we got here was nothing more than a series of accidents and coincidences. You can't get any luckier than that.

If I ever do get down and mad at the world, it doesn't last long. When I really stop to think about things, I know how much I have. And I start to feel guilty, knowing that people spend their whole lives trying to get what I have right in front of me. What right do I have to complain about anything?

Tonight, I went to the grocery store, a big outing in my small life. When I came back, Jete had Van Morrison on the stereo. He had Ethan set up on a chair in front of the speakers and was dancing around the room with CG, who was laughing hysterically. I had to smile.

Sure, CG was crying later, and Ethan had another seizure, and I dropped a bag of groceries on the floor. But it's okay. Those other little moments get me through the seizures and the tests and the surgeries. If I have even one more of those moments to look forward to, then life is good.

I'm lucky.

1 comment:

Billie said...

I came back today, from a link on another post, to this one. I wanted to comment that I think this is my favorite post ever. Really. I need to bookmark it and come read it often. It really helps me to put things into perspective in my own life. Thanks so much for writing it Mete! I am lucky too.