Sunday, April 24, 2011

happy, healing boy

Ben and I texted each other yesterday morning. He didn't feel very good. He seemed pretty blue. Not that that should be surprising.

They'd moved from the hospital to the hotel the day before and he'd felt really crummy the rest of that day. Hadn't eaten anything except a breakfast of French toast ("It was surprisngly good.") in the hospital. I'd talked to him on the phone in the late afternoon (here)/early evening (there) and his voice was so weak and creaky.

"Hi Mommy."

"Hi Baby. How are you feeling?"

"Really bad."

"I'm so sorry, hon. I'm so sorry you have to feel this way. You'll feel better tomorrow."

I got off the phone and turned to my own mom (I was sitting in her kitchen) and said, "It's so unfair he has to go through this over and over and over." I felt a wave of self-pity and pity for Ben. Why? Why eight surgeries? Why repeated experiences with pain and medications and recovery? To what (ultimate, greater, existential) purpose?

People have told me "It will make him strong as an adult." Yeah, but guess what, he might have been strong anyways. And you know what else? Put your kid under a surgeon's knife 10, 12 times before he's 20 (it will more than likely be that, by the way) and have him sleep in a hospital bed 50, 60 nights before he's 20 (he's already hit 48) and see if that "strength in adulthood" consoles you.

Odd, when I started writing today I didn't realize I was angry.

I was actually going to tell you that later yesterday, after the morning's blue text exchange, Ben called home.

"Hi Mom!"

"Hi! What's up? How's it going?"

"I'm feeling great! And I looked in the mirror and I really think I'm taller now!"

"Wow! That's awesome. I'm pretty sure you must be. Dr. C really got some great extension this time, right?"

"And my curve is 25 degrees! I've been walking around and I ate some Thai curry chicken soup. I'm feeling so much better."

I swear he sounded better than he's sounded in months. Chipper mood, bouncy, bright. A totally different voice. Like a new man.

Did I tell you that after the phone call from my mom's kitchen Mark texted me this: "Post call FYI: he was way better 5 min before and 5 min after your call. Not better, but not as bad. It's great to be a mom." Well, I knew that. Really I did. Mamas get the unfettered emotion. The raw "I feel lousy" stream of whining. It's our job to receive it, especially after our child's 48th night in a hospital bed. Especially when you're way the hell across the country and not by his bedside, where you should be.

But it felt so good to hear that bright and chipper boy on the other end of the phone. It certainly washed away my blues.

Can't wait to see him tomorrow night. And give him a gentle mama's hug.

4 comments:

Gillian said...

Susie, my heart just goes out to you and your family, having to go through this again and again. I can understand your anger and Ben's misery. I am so glad he is feeling better, and coming home soon.

I miss seeing you at 4H!

Creek said...

Yeah, I know that anger, and the frustration that there's nowhere to really direct it. Well, there is. I throw mine into action for better health care and research. But we do need some sort of outlet, we moms who have to see our children suffer so much. It isn't fair, there's no good purpose, and at least for me it means a lot just to get someone's acknowledgment of that instead of a platitude. So yeah, Susie, the situation is completely horrible and nobody should have to endure it. Gentle hugs to Ben and to his mama.

Pamela said...

Susie - Just back from visiting my mom in MB! Glad it went well with Ben. Thinking of you guys. P

Sherry W said...

Glad Ben's second call was better. Glad this is behind you. Thinking of you all and sending our love.