I have always believed that if a serious illness struck member of my family, I would instantly turn into a mix of Florence Nightingale, Alice Brady and St. Theresa. After all, I have weathered through mental illness and Autism with patience, education and humor. I have proved this many times over. When my son ran naked through a hospital swearing and peeing everywhere while security chased him, I sat down hard and laughed my head off..what else could I do? I have soothed my son while restraining him, gave no emotion or response when he would verbally assault me and took on all professionals at long table to get him his services.
When we discovered my daughter had Aspergers Syndrome which caused a learning disability, again took on the school system to get her the help she needed. At home I learned to respect her needs yet gently push her into new situations. No problem, I am Super Slacker Mom to the rescue!
Chris ends up in the hospital with Diverticulitis. The silly interns left the cabinets and drawers unlocked. I kept Chris off his fears of the hospital by using humor again! He was more concerned that I was playing with the morgue body bags, slowly heading towards him with a speculum I found and offering to show him how the defibrillator works! He got his diagnosis, his scripts and we got home to get some education on his problem. Got it. Flexing my Super cape a little here.
It was noticed that Melissa seemed to be not eating well and losing weight. I sort of dismissed it as being nine and changing. Melissa starting to say her ribs hurt. I figured growing pains. When Melissa said she was having problems with her bladder area, I brought her to a doctor to be treated for a UTI, these things can happen. I noticed that Melissa was bright yellow, she was throwing up red stuff, while clutching her stomach screaming, we went to ER. Several times. Over and over again, with no answers. Melissa got weaker and sicker. Lots of tests were performed and my life was half moved to Salem Hospital. Melissa held on to a stuffed puppy and a Princess and the Frog doll. I held on to her. I told jokes, I told stories, we watched movies and I tried to give comfort.
Finally, I paid out of my pocket to take Melissa to a pediatric GI who knew what he was doing. Melissa had Crohns Disease, inflamed ribs, Gall Stones and her liver is having lots of trouble. Okay, we had a reason, there would be a treatment now. We have our appointment for Mass General on Monday. So I looked back on how I handled everything so calm and loving. Then I saw Melissa’s insurance had expired suddenly. Bursting into tears, I screamed at three tired and scared insurance workers. I threatened many things. None of them nice. I called every family member I have, crying in hysterics. A little bit later, I needed to order some food for dinner, when I called the lady made the mistake of asking how we were doing. I cried to this poor person the whole story then blubbered through the food order.
I had not yet told Chris the diagnosis because he was working, so when he walked in the door, I threw myself at him, sobbing my eyes out, it scared him half to death. At this point I couldn’t even talk. Chris answered the ringing doorbell, listened to the food delivery person then brought our food in. He walked to the counter with the food and asked, “Why did the delivery person offer their condolences and tell me Melissa’s diagnosis?”
Understand that it was not the diagnosis or even the insurance issue (which was resolved) that broke me. It was the fact that the whole time I was Super Slacker Mom for my daughter, back in my mind was the hidden fear that I may lose the most wonderful thing in my world. This little girl was supposed to be protected by me, and I could do nothing to ease her agony. I could not heal her, I could not stop the pounds melting away, turning her into a little skeleton. The fear that by the time the doctors can treat her, it will be too late and I cannot prevent it.
So Melissa and I watch the Princess and the Frog until my eyes bleed. I tell jokes and stories. I dry my eyes with my Super Slacker Mom cape, pull it away from the clinging ferrets, ignore the stains of God Knows What and don’t bother to try to fix the holes in it. Pull myself together, stand tall, take a move forward and what the hell did I step into this time???????