Written By Linda Stroude
There are certain things in life that a parent should not have to live through. Since my son’s spinal fusion surgery with auto growing rods two weeks ago, my husband and I have lived through experiences we wouldn’t wish upon anyone.
A parent should not have to…
… See their child in pain. Not that scrape your knee kind of pain that a few kisses can fix. I’m talking about post-operative pain that comes after being cut open by surgeons. Or the pain that comes with removing roughly 100 staples that were used to close the incision. I would do anything to take the pain for him, but all I can do is tell him “it’s ok, you’re doing a great job!”
… See the physical effects of a serious operation. After which we found ourselves watching our child on a breathing machine, with doctors wondering if he will be able to breathe again on his own.
… See and hear their pain, but with your child being non-verbal, being unable to articulate its origin. What is the root of his tears, is it the physical pain, discomfort from his position, or is he frustrated from lying in the hospital bed or just down right bored?
… Seeing ‘normal’ change before your eyes. My child normally throws up on a regular basis because of bad reflux, but now could he be ill due to his body adjusting to its new positioning after the operation? Is this the new normal? Why am I questioning myself when I take care of my son everyday?
… Seeing a 9-year old go through 9 surgical procedures. Despite everything that has been done, you know there are more to come.
… See a text from home, while you’re at the hospital. Torn, and wanting to be in two places at once, my husband texts me on behalf of my 5-year old: “when are you coming back Mommy”.
… See accessibility needs before anything else. We don’t rearrange our child’s room because he grew out of pirates, but because he has grown too big for us to carry ourselves and the operation has placed restrictions on how he can be maneuvered. Now the room requires a mobile lift for our child to be transferred from his wheelchair to his bed.
With work responsibilities, household duties, children activities, appointments at the hospital, husband, family and friends there is always something to do. There’s no time in the day to release the anxiety, fear, frustration, exhaustion , or to even cry.
As a mother, when I stop and reflect on all that my son has endured (the surgeries, the devices and all of the scars) it brings me great sadness. However, as we work to make him better we’re watching him grow into someone spectacular: our very own little IronMan.
What keeps me going…
… A loving husband, together we support each other through these experiences.
… Two other healthy children who balance out the craziness.
… Our amazing support group made up of family and friends.
… Starlight Children’s Foundation Canada, which takes our family out on activities and makes us feel normal, if only for a bit. We need and appreciate those moments so much.