I wanted to write about this whole experience for different reasons. One, writing helps me feel a tiny bit lighter. Two, I wanted to remember how KB reacted to this whole thing and how he amazed me with this mental fortitude in just accepting things as is and truly going forward instead of looking back and moping about how and why he has to go through all this. The kind of resilience you always knew kids had but when seeing it first hand, it really amazes you. Three, I wanted to remember the strength of the other two moms I met there and wanted to write about it for me and all of us to be inspired by and draw strength from to face our own little problems.
Back to the "brave young man" and "little soldier", titles KB truly earned from the nurse who treated him in the ER and also in the recovery room after the surgery. When they took him to take some "pictures" of his hand, KB told me "Amma, X-ray yedukka poraa maa" and the nurse was taken aback by how cool he was about it. He was fascinated by all that was happening around him in the ER. He did not cry while she took the X-rays, he just wanted me next to him, that's all. And while we waited for the doctor he told me, "Amma, I am looking at why every one here is wearing glasses" and then we spent some time looking at who were or were not wearing glasses. The nurse told him "You were so brave, how many stickers do you want?". Very innocently, he replied "Two". She said, "Only two? No. You were so brave, I want to give you five stickers". KB was thrilled and it was touching to see how he was still such a baby.
Before the surgery, they gave him "Versed" a medication used to reduce anxiety and also reduce their short term memory so they wouldn't remember exactly what happened at that instance. The nurse said he would act drunk almost 10 min after he drank it. But KB was fully alert even half an hour after they gave him the medication. I was very nervous because it was now 3.00 p.m. and I had to wheel him into the OR and hand him over to the surgeon. Thankfully he was in the stroller and I just wheeled him there and the nurse took over without him realizing it. It was heart breaking to hand him over and see him disappear behind the double doors. The nurse reassured me "We will take good care of him. We will put a mask on as soon as we go in and he will be asleep". I just prayed that he should be OK and everything should go smoothly. The surgeon had said it would take about an hour and half for the surgery. B immediately went back home to pick up KG and come back with her to the hospital.
My brother and I were waiting in the family room when I bumped into the other mom waiting there. Her older son was the same age as KB and was playing there. Her younger son, 16m old was in the OR while she was waiting there. I asked her what the problem was with her child. Very calmly she said to me "He keeps getting tumors in his eye orbit". My heart sank even hearing those words. Her strength just shook me. Here I was completely falling apart at the thought of KB undergoing surgery for a fractured elbow and here she was like a rock facing such horrors. I asked her, "How do you manage to be so strong?". She said, "Because I faced the worst when they made the diagnosis. But now I am strong because he has no one else. I have to be strong for him. We have been here so many times and each time after surgery, he bounces right back and starts playing his older brother. We are coming back here next week. They are going to take his eye out because if not they said he won't make it". It sent shivers down my spine to hear those words even. I felt as if God sent me to her in that family room to remind me that kids are strong and that I need to be strong for KB too. I felt so badly for that mom, I just wanted to hug her tight. I couldn't find words to describe how inspired I was by her calm strength and courage as a mother.
While driving to the ER, I was telling B that truly it was these moments when we are really parenting. Rest of the times, you feed the kids, they grow up. You sort of just coast along and go with the flow. It is during the moments of extreme highs and lows that you as a parent have to be the fulcrum and hold the child in place and give them the strength to be calm. And in the moments of lows like this one, you are truly tested. You have to bear the pain of seeing your child in pain, of not being in control of their destiny. Some of you wrote about the guilt I might feel. But strangely that is one thing I did not feel much of. Because I truly could not have prevented this unless I kept him in front of my eyes 24/7 without ever doing any other work. He was just sitting in his high chair after dinner chatitng with me while I was loading the dishwasher. As I bent down to load some dishes, I heard him scream in pain. He was getting down when he just slipped and fell awkwardly. From a height of may be 2 feet. It is like an adult tripping while walking. I just had no control over it. I did have very negative thoughts like, "It is my bad karma that is affecting him" etc etc. Truly speaking, I still have those kind of ridiculous thoughts , but what can I do about it. I have to accept that I cannot control every aspect of his destiny. This was the first stark reminder for me that I do no have control over my children's life beyond a certain point. Life just happens and my role is to be there for them no matter what. That is all I can do. And meeting that other mom and hearing her calm words, I realized what a responsibility that was. To be strong when your child is in pain. I have been fighting myself each time I feel pity for KB to see him do things with only one hand. I tell myself, if he is being strong and taking it in stride, it is quite ridiculous of me to feel sorry for him. Why me, why him...yes, I do feel that way. But I tell myself, there is much worse out there. At least God has granted me the mercy of a finite time of six weeks when his hand has to be in a cast and the hope of things being back to normal. Something so many others don't have. I am afraid to even dwell on that thought. I move on quickly to the mundane of every day life so I don't focus on any of this too much.