Wednesday, November 19, 2008

My Son

I'd like to say everything in my life is fine, that everything is turning up roses and everything is just great. But I can't say that. I can't even come close. Any time I get even close to thinking it's all going to work for the best, another shoe drops. That shoe just so happens to be a 3 inch stilletto and it just planted it's heel sharply into my skull.
See it's about my son. My seven-month-4-day-old son who apparantly has had the odds stacked against him in every direction since the day he was born. I don't know just how unlucky one person can be, but he seems to prove that someone can be very unlucky indeed.
From the day he was born, he had to fight. Every breath was a battle he had to win to stay alive. Some days, he was Rocky Balboa, fighting gamely, doing everything he needed to in order to win. Other days, he was being beaten soundly by Dolf Lundgren and there were at least a few times he looked to be down for the count. (This exhausts my Rocky knowledge and thus endeth the metaphors).
But then he was home and he was more than just Rocky Balboa. He was amazing. He had a great smile, an incredible coo and an infectious laugh that you couldn't stop. He was beautiful, in every since of the word. He had philosopher's eyes, the type of pensive look that someone much older, much wiser might have been using to ponder the meaning of life.
And now he might never have any of that again, we might not ever have that again. On November 4, the date that brought so much change to America, that saw a new president voted into office, another change was brought into my life. A horrific one. My son had a rather catostrophic event occur that stopped him from breathing. In a few blinks of an eye, his life was almost snuffed out. No almost. It was snuffed out and brought back. But brought back in what form?
With the type of acute injury he suffered, there is some brain damage. Not the worse case they've ever seen, not the best either. He's going to be starting from scratch. He'll have to relearn everything, if he gets any of it back at all. There's no complete road map for an acute brain injury like this. He could suffer severe cerebral palsy or he could be completely normal five, ten years down the road. Nobody knows. He could never coo again, which means he could never speak, he could never walk, or he could do all of those things no sweat. We don't know. We hope, we pray for the best possible outcome, that we'll get to see that smile again, that philosophical look again, but we don't know.
I don't know what to do any more, other than what I'm doing, but it doesn't feel like enough. I wish I knew what to do. As a parent, we'll do anything to make sure our kids are healthy and happy. If I was told that jumping on one foot everyday for the rest of my life would make my son better, I happily would. I'd become a rocket scientist/neurosurgeon/oper singer if I could just see his smile one more time. Hell, with all the medical terminology I have memorized for my son's care, I'm halfway to neurosurgeon now. The other two don't sound like much a stretch.
But that's not how things work. All I can do is be there for him. I sing him songs, I read him books, I soothe him, I play with him and I pray to every diety I've ever even heard of that it does the job. I try to have faith, faith that it will be o.k. I try not to get to eye-rollingly bored answering the same questions from family, friends, co-workers and everybody else over and over again. I try to ignore the annoyed feeling I get when people use the same voice they use with their 5-year-old when she's bumped her head. "Are youuuu Ooookay? Do yooouuu neeeed anything?" like Jesus Christ, my son is in the hospital, I didn't just scrape my knee and come to you whimpering, use your grown-up voice. I try to save all my dark emotions for the dark corners of our bedroom at night. I try to bolster Fighting Nun when he gets down. I try to let him bolster me when I get down. I try to hope. I try to hold on to this fantasy I have of watching my son play soccer with a bunch of four and five year-olds because I need that more than anything in the world. Also, watching four and five year-olds play soccer should be considered performance art because awesome. I try to picture the three of us (with the dog) on a beach somewhere, enjoying a day of sun, wind and water and I hope and pray I get that because God Damnit I F@#*ing deserve it.

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