Tuesday, January 5, 2010

A Medically Intense Life

I have mentioned before that we have children with intense medical needs, and have for a long time.  Within four months of my second child’s birth, (he is now 15), we were thrown into the world of pediatric units in hospitals.  It must have been Divine Preparation (isn’t a lot of life that?) for having two children with tracheostomies.....I think we are up to 26 surgeries now between all five kids.
I struggle with keeping my emotions in check, while not stuffing them so far that they are a problem.  It is a delicate balance.  There is a lot to be done, a lot of info to share with medical providers and just hard work to do.....which can’t be done if I am in a pool of tears in grief, over my children’s suffering.  I have said before that a lot of what we parents of special needs kids do is jump in to the deep end, holding our noses, getting through the next hard thing.....that’s what it takes to lay your baby down on the surgery table, as strangers get ready to “fix them”.....or seeing your baby in pain in post-op recovery...or explaining to them why they are the ones who need so many surgeries. I realize we get through all of this by the Grace of God....I am keenly aware of His Presence in all of this. I still struggle, though, to balance the emotions with the work....

Here is a little poem I wrote to express how, I find my self in tears over things that seem sort of nothing, and I realize “it” is really my own grief over other seemingly unrelated stuff.  But, it is all related in the end.  While “getting through” the next thing is not specific to having a medically intense family, it is a skill we develop pretty quickly, but there are those moments when the weight of it all comes crashing down, at unexpected times.....and we have to pause and give those feelings their due.

The Moment

We are forced to stay in the present moment
our attention on our children
whose needs are many
more than average
We become masters at remaining 
emotionally detached as we rattle off
fifteen procedures our child 
has endured
Aware we have to stay focused on 
necessary action
We say to anxiety and sadness
Not now
Go away
the heaviness of emotions 
pushed off
until there is an intermission in the action
our game face off
we are caught holding what looks like 
someone else’s 
sorrow or grief
at inopportune times
A well written book
an intense movie
a face in the crowd, overcome with some unknown affliction
Taken by surprise at our reaction
of tears
seemingly borrowed for the moment
upon further inspection in the light 
of the intermission
we hold not un-popped kernels
drudged from the bottom of the bucket
past emotions 
out of retreat
ready to be present and dealt their due
We call the tears 
our own
embracing what is ours
for a short while
until the next 
call to action. 

1 comment:

  1. I like your poem, it rings true to me. I don't have to deal with medical fragility in my kids at all but I do understand the uncertainty that a child with special needs can bring. It's a never-ending cycle, isn't it? But you're right, it surely does teach us how to live in the moment, for that's all we're really granted, isn't it?