For those of you who know me or who have read my guest blog on Motherlode, you’ll know that my son has Cerebral Palsy. Without rehashing what’s in that blog entry, I’ll just say that it’s been a blessed struggle getting my boy started in this world. Each day of this last year has been like trying to conduct a regular work day in the midst of a winter blizzard; nothing feels easy and nothing feels normal except the demands.
I’ll be writing more about my son and the impact his condition has on our lives - both good and bad - but for tonight I’d just like to mention our pending trip to the hematologist. One of the worst things about Cerebral Palsy is that because it is a kind of a brain injury, there is no script for the symptoms or the ultimate affect the condition will have. We won’t know for years what all this means for him or for us. Every day is a kind of dangerous adventure.
On Friday we have to take another scary step along that path of unknown threats. We have to go and determine if he has a blood condition that might have brought on his pre-birth stroke; or if his mother or I have the condition. It’s the kind of appointment that makes a trip to the dentist feel like a night on the town. I’d rather be going anywhere but to that medical center.
We’ve been on several trips like this now and I’m beginning to know the routine of feelings that I’m likely to go through. Apprehension in the days that precede the visit and a silent wish that we could just cancel; a hardening of my feelings on the actual day, pre-meditating the experience of meeting a new and potentially cold doctor; and prolonged anxiety after the visit until the results become available and we know for sure what the damage is - if any. Oh, and the residual anger that I usually take out on the insurance companies and the doctor’s billing offices when I receive five separate bills from five separate billing offices for a single office visit.
As I grow accustomed to these patterns of feeling, I’m struggling to ward off the helplessness that creeps into my heart at their approach. I feel sometimes like a young vassal to a mythic king in one of those tales of derring do; poorly armed and inexperienced and approaching the den of the beast or the stronghold of the enemy; and I struggle to keep the thought of my son’s peril in the foreground to keep up my courage. I can’t let him down. I can’t.
But I know very well that there are forces at work that could easily overwhelm all the wits and will and courage that I hold out against them. I know it.
I’ll do tonight what I’ve done for as many nights as I’ve known the path my feet are one. I’ll say a prayer against the things I can’t outmatch and I’ll say a prayer for the courage and focus I’ll need to ward off the things that I can confront.
In the end, my son has my blood in his veins; mine and my wife’s. I hope there’s health and strength in it. I hope it’s proves to be a hidden strength and not the hidden danger that I fear.