I was thinking this week how much perspective life takes and how everyone has their storms and their rainbows.
I often wonder if I paint too many rainbows because the storms are so emotionally tolling. But in doing so, I make it seem like life may be easier than it really is and I am doing an injustice to the other parents that are going through all of this with me. There is constant stress and fear that is a permanent part of having a sick child. You never get used to it and you never get over it.
On the other side, I feel guilty saying how hard it is because I have been blessed with a remedy for Gavin to feel good again. Trust me, I never for a minute take any of our miracles for granted.
So I wrote two versions of the same story this week (written on 3/9/08). Both are reality, both are talking about the same things and events. You can choose to see the storm or the rainbow in life. I see both. I believe that is true for every person in every situation. I choose to chase the rainbows, and weather the storms.
WEATHERING THE STORMS
This past week Lauren got the flu immediately after her “half” birthday party. We kept Lauren and Gavin as far apart as we could, because we just knew if Gav got this we would be in the hospital.
We woke up and scrubbed the house every morning at three a.m. Without fail, five days into Lauren’s start, Gav woke up with a high fever and some unusual habits.
He was like a little hot barnacle that clung to my every move. We were told to bring him in and his liver enzymes were in the 1000 range, which is quite high.
He was then admitted for 48 hours to do every culture under the sun and every lab test known to man. He was absolutely miserable and we couldn’t give him anything for the pain. (Tylenol is processed in the liver and ibuprofen in the kidneys, and both organs were being sassy).
Meanwhile, on the home front Lulu had turned from bad to worse. Grams took her to the doctor and she had a terrible ear infection.
Because it takes about 48 hours to get cultures back Gav was an infection risk and had to stay in his cell, I mean room. We go back in on Tuesday to check his numbers.
He is starting to feel better and if he continues he is to have yet another surgery on Friday.
Sometimes you just feel so helpless and blind through this. It’s like no matter how much I read I can’t seem to figure it all out, and sometimes I have to reread things a zillion times to get what they are saying. Sometimes it feels like you know just enough to shoot yourself in your own foot.
They say live a normal life and then give you fifteen handouts about mosquitoes, sun and food (summer) and flu’s and warning signs (winter). It’s enough to make you feel like you are going crazy. It gets so overwhelming, sometimes I wish I could trade spots with Jay and go to work just to get away. The truth is the disease is always here, and we will always be dealing with a part of it. It’s a constant mind game of how to approach life and its events.
There will always be a permanent sadness for having to do the things that we have had to do to Gavin. That Lauren has had to watch some horrific things done to her brother, while her parents sat by and watched or worse when we were the ones doing it.
Since we have been home Gavin won’t let me out of his site and I got his bug. You can tell now this is all starting to mentally affect him and he has to sleep literally on top of me for comfort at all times. We thought that it was supposed to be the first 100 days, but now have learned to expect another year of insanity.
Life as we know it has not changed. We still don’t see our friends, we still don’t make plans because we will inevitably be canceling them. Life can be ironic, unpredictable, even cruel at times…but it is always beautiful.
CHASING THE RAINBOWS
I bet you didn’t know what this past week had in store for us? Neither did we until Lauren found out it was her half birthday, so she was in charge of treats at school. She looked up at us with those chocolate silk eyes and asked what we were doing special for her at our house. Unwilling to tell her that a half birthday is an un-event, I asked what she was interested in.
She wanted her two neighborhood friends over for a little half birthday party. Two happy meals, two friends, and two sundaes later, Lauren was quite pleased that she turned four and one half. She said that this time, she “even felt older”. Unfortunately, she caught a bug and four and a half had a rougher start than anticipated.
Gav is currently obsessed with the movie Madagascar and is insistent about trying to put it into the tv anyway that he possible can. He also loves dangling his little body onto the fridge pull and clutching it for dear life until it opens.
When his appetite and grip started to go south, we knew that he was getting Lauren’s bug. Poor guy ended up inpatient and had every test done to ensure that it wasn’t another organ failure, or a rejection, or staff infection. Luckily they have an amazing child life program and had Pet Pals.
Gav was able to play with a golden lab and a mixed breed. He was beside himself with glee. He kept busy in his room by painting and throwing things around and watching me get them. Jay and I at least got to spend some time together. We’ve been very lucky to be able to support Gav and each other through most emergencies and clinic appointments. He is always the hand that catches me as my fingernails dig into the side of the cliff.
It allowed us time to read and learn and try to figure out what is the best plan for Gav’s future well being. We know that when he gets older he is going to be asking us why we did what we did, and we better be able to explain it to him. We are very lucky and blessed that his body has done such a remarkable job accepting his transplant. I know there are millions of parents out there wishing there was something like that out there for their child. I know that we are forever blessed to have friends and family that have stood by us through all these years. Although there have been bumps, we will figure them out as they come and find our balance once again.
Both Lauren, Gav and myself are on the mend and very happy to hear that the sun may be coming out. Life can be ironic, unpredictable, even cruel at times… but it is always beautiful.
Your family has been through so much but you all keep fighting, such a young lad and such a brave family !!
Keep on smiling !!
You’re and inspiration that living with ill-health can be hard but well worth the fight !!
You have to write a book. You already have really, you just have to put it all together and get it published. I constantly look forward to reading what you write and I feel like I go through all the ups and downs with you. You seem to find inspiration even through the hardest of times. We constantly wish you and your family the best. Feel better Gav.
I second the recommendation to publish your story. You are truly an inspiration to those with chronically ill and healthy children. Each time I read one of your entries it brings me to my knees in prayer for your family that someday you enjoy more rainbows than storms on a regular basis. It also compels me to thank God for my three children and not take them for granted. Is there anything we can do to help?
Kathy, Chris, Spencer, Ashlynn & Connor
Although i dont know you… i “stumbled”… upon your entry just browsing… my attention was caught upon your thoughts of words… “I choose to chase the rainbows, and weather the storms”… felt like it made complete sense in the way i live my life… so i decided to ponder on… although i dont have any kids currently… your story does inspire me… to look for more of them rainbows and a brighter more beautiful picture… i honestly havent really thought about what it would be like to be in your situation… im not sure how i would go about handling that… but what i do know is… after reading your story about your family… it makes me wonder about mines to come… and how i can… at least prepare my self for that kind of situation later in life… ive always thought my children wouldnt get “sick”… but after this this… it has opened my mind ALOT about how i can care for my children and battle the storms along side my wife as so we can push through as a family and see the rainbows yet more than again… all in all… just wanted to say “thank you”… for the positive influence…
P.S. – My heart goes out to you and your family… may you prosper with the colors of the rainbow…