The Best Two and a Half Year Old Ever

July 8, 2006 at 11:46 am (Uncategorized)

“How was the doctor, Mommy?” Andrew asked me yesterday afternoon after awakening from an abbreviated nap.  I had seen my local physician for a post-accident check-up before Andrew had gone to bed.  He used the sweetest tone imaginable and even gave me a little pat.  He’s also taken to giving me “magic kisses” on my impressive bruises.  “I make it better,” he says.  The other day he even dragged out his doctor kit and put the fake stethoscope on my arm.  “You need a bandage,” he proclaimed.  And this morning, when he was nestled up next to me in bed, he piped up, “How is that arm doing, Mommy?”

Before I declare him the best and kindest boy in the history of mankind (which he is), I should be clear that he’s had too much experience with Mommy going to the doctor and of being concerned about my health.  Every three months we fly across the country to see sarcoidosis specialists; in between these doctor-a-thons, I’m frequently at appointments in Helena for ongoing infections, intermittent testing, and check-ups.  I hate that Andrew has had to become so attuned my health, so solicitous of my injuries.  But I am delighted that he has become such a little gentleman.

In addition to my ongoing medical saga making him into a more sensitive human, I think it’s also making him more comfortable around doctors.  After the car accident, Andrew was unbelievably calm and collected.  He was strapped to the neck injury board for well over two hours in the emergency room and was poked and prodded by the doctor and the X-ray technicians alike, but he only started crying once, near the end, and this was from boredom more than anything.  (Of course it helped that he had his Grandpa, his chief partner in mischief, along to keep him busy.  I looked over from my own neck injury board at one point and saw my father batting around an inflated surgical glove and Andrew cackling with glee.)

When he first was wheeled into the emergency room from the ambulance, the doctor pounced on him.  Dr. Zohari seemed to be a kind and competent man, but he has a thick Egyptian accent – and he talks really loudly and really fast. “Do you have a pain in your belly?” Dr. Zohari bellowed at Andrew.  “He’s asking if your tummy hurts?” I translated.  “No,” Andrew said, but you could tell by the way his voice slid up a little that he wasn’t sure what the right answer to this questions was.  “Who am I?” Dr. Zohari yelled.  “A doctor,” said Andrew.  He knew that answer was dead-on and gave Dr. Zohari a “Well, duh” look.  “And where are you?” the doctor added.  “The hop-i-tal,” my little guy said.  Satisfied there was no head injury, the doctor stalked off to bellow at my mother.

Perhaps it is because I am always scurrying off to important appointments far away that Andrew has developed his rapport with doctors.  In fact, it’s more of a reverence for them.  And I’m ashamed to say that Jay and I have, well, shamelessly, exploited this trait.  We’ve learned that we can get Andrew to take his foul-smelling antibiotics and tylenol and benadryl when he is sick by telling him how proud the doctor will be of him for swallowing this syrupy-sweet putrid crap without much fuss.  “Dr. Danielson [his pediatrician] will be so happy,” Andrew says when he chugs down his medicine.  We say we’ll call the doctor and tell her how amazing he has been.  And Andrew will even remind us to do this the next day.  Jay and I have both made pretend phone calls to Dr. Danielson to praise our son’s medicine-taking skills.  I’ve even stooped so low as to pick up the phone and threaten to call the doctor to tell her he won’t take his medicine.  “No,” he shrieked and grabbed the spoon and swallowed the whole dose in a panic.  I know, I know, I win a bad mother of the year award for that one, but it seems nicer than sitting on him and shoving a syringe down his throat.

As good as all this is, it wasn’t until we had a follow-up visit with Dr. Zohari a few days after the accident that I discovered another – more exciting – side benefit of Andrew’s ease around doctors.  He is more likely to become one – at least according to Dr. Zohari.  Having been married to my Jewish husband for nearly ten years, I feel I am entitled to claim myself at least partially as a Jewish mother.  As such, I think medicine is the perfect career for my son.  (If that doesn’t work out, I suppose I could settle on him being an attorney.)

Dr. Zohari told us that he had never seen a two-year old like Andrew.  “He is able to answer me, to listen.  He knows so many words.”  He was especially impressed by the fact that Andrew took deep breaths on cue when the doctor was listening to his lungs with his stethoscope.  “He is the smartest kid I have seen,” he concluded.  (And he has two kids of his own.)  This came as no surprise to me.  Another aspect of assuming the mantle of stereotypical Jewish motherhood means that I know my son is the most perfect human being in the walking-on-water kind of way.  (But then I have to remind myself that a real Jewish mother wouldn’t go too far down that road).  After Dr. Zohari told us that Andrew should be a doctor, he turned to me and said the responsibility was in my hands.  His advice was to be like his mother and make Andrew carry his own bags.  This was the secret to Andrew’s success?  Carrying his own bags?  Jay and I have been working way too hard.

All silliness aside, I don’t care what Andrew chooses as a career.  Just like every mother of every creed, I want him to be happy and healthy.  I want him to be kind and good.  I want him to find the love of his life and stay with her for his entire life (as long as I get grandkids!)  This, of course, is all big-picture.  Right now, I’d just like our lives to be such that he gets to be a little less familiar and comfortable around doctors – unless it’s time to take some tylenol.

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Story Time

July 7, 2006 at 2:25 pm (Uncategorized)

Andrew has a new favorite story.  “Tell me the story of Our Really Bad Car Accident,” he pleads at dinner, in the bath, while we’re driving, at bedtime.  But he still has the remnants of his stutter, so it comes out, adorably, as, “Tell me the story of our really bad car axe, axe, axe-ident.” Andrew already knows the story by heart, and if I should forget one of the details of our car wreck last Friday, he is quick to interject, “You forgot the fire engine” or “You forgot Grandpa coming to the hospital.”  But if I am feeling lazy and try to shirk my role as raconteur and punt the narrative back to him by asking him what happens next, he’ll immediately say he doesn’t know.  I’ve come to realize that what’s important to him is the process of story-telling, of hearing seemingly random (and traumatic) events woven into a seamless narrative with a beginning, middle, and end.  Of course, it helps that the Andrew of Our Really Bad Car Accident is a brave little hero.

The story of Our Really Bad Car Accident is actually a sort of sequel to the story of Daddy’s Really Bad Car Accident, which recounts the circumstances of Jay getting rear-ended on a snowy road en route to Big Sky, Montana, for a ski weekend with my family.  I’m not sure what it says about our son and his relationship with his father that, up until Andrew had a car crash of his own to mythologize, his favorite story, the one that calmed him when he woke from a nightmare or bonked his knee, was one that described his father’s wreck.  “Tell me the story of Daddy’s Really Bad Car Axe, Axe, Axe-ident,” Andrew would beg through his tears and his snot.  By the time we reached the ambulance arriving and Daddy getting his head bandaged, Andrew was thoroughly soothed.  What Oedipal issues?

I’m certain that Andrew’s desire to turn life into story is primal.  I have a theory that what distinguishes humans from animals isn’t language (anyone who says animals don’t have a language clearly hasn’t had lived with a cat or dog) but the ability to craft narrative from the raw data of life.  Stories give meaning; stories place us in time and space; and stories explain who we are and how we got there.  Stories make us and our experiences coherent.

I shouldn’t be surprised that Andrew is taking the unpleasant reality of car accidents and converting them into structured narratives.  When I was chuckling about it with Jay the other night after Andrew had gone to bed, it occurred to me that with this blog I am doing exactly as my son is.  I am taking the random blight of illness and trying to make something (whether it is art or not, I can’t tell) out of it.  By writing these almost-daily updates from the front lines of chronic illness and motherhood, I am attempting to make these events have a meaning – for me, and for others.  I am telling the story of it all.

As a writer, I often “process” things by putting them down on paper.  Unless I write about something troubling me, it often just swirls around in my head and my heart like a poisonous fog.  This is how I was for the two or so years after my diagnosis, swirling and whirling, unable to see the shape of my life, the outline of its story.  I can see how Andrew needs to go through a similar process.  Naming and shaping the events of last Friday make them something that he understands.

More importantly, as I see it, it makes them something orderly that he can control.  At least that’s how I feel about the narratives I construct from my life.  There is something about the act of relating a personal story that provides me with some much-needed distance.  By telling you about chronic illness, I can move from a purely interior reality to one that is open to fresh air, new perspectives, external light.  It’s almost as though by creating a narrative, I’m able to look at these events as an outsider would.  And there is a lot of relief in getting distance from some of this stuff.  To focus on helping you understand this keeps me sane.  I think Andrew also appreciates the distance that the story of Our Really Bad Car Accident provides.  In fact, he prefers me to refer to him as “Andrew” in the story – not as “you.”  (This is all fine, now, but let’s hope he doesn’t follow too closely in the footsteps of Bob Dole and start referring to himself exclusively in the third person.  I don’t think I’ll find an announcement that “Andrew Stanfel needs to poop” all that cute.)

Whether Andrew and I are embodying some fundamental aspect of human nature with our story-telling is, ultimately, irrelevant.  It’s the way we are – we tell, and respond to, stories.  I’ve gentled him through several otherwise turbulent dinners by entertaining him with the adventures of Tiney the Fork, a gutsy little utensil who loses his tines in the sandbox and has to undertake a Homeric quest to find them. Wow.  Now that I’ve written that down on paper, I wonder if I should worry about what I’m doing to my son.  Of course, if he turns out a little odd, we can always make up a story about it.

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Independence Day

July 5, 2006 at 9:29 pm (Uncategorized)

When I was a kid, July 4th was one of my favorite holidays. Because it landed squarely in the middle of summer vacation, I never felt the lurking dread of having to return shortly to school and schedules and responsibility that I did with Christmas and Easter. Plus it was a purely fun holiday — no religious preparation before it, no obligations, no church in the morning. Just hamburgers from the grill, picnics, watermelon, badminton games in the front yard, ice cream, and of course, fireworks.

I am the youngest in a venerable line of pyromaniacs. My brother shot bottle rockets up the chimney one New Year’s Eve, and my sister came damn close to launching some out of her hand. We were never satisfied with the piddling municipal fireworks shows. Instead, we spent hours at fireworks stands before the 4th, and would hold our own show when it was dark. As the youngest, I had to wait several years before I got to ignite the big ones, but I remember running around our back yard in upstate New York. I clutched a sparkler that sizzled and lit up the night and matched the glow from the fireflies that flitted around me.

Today promises to be more sober than 4th of Julys past. My Mom and I are still a mess after the car accident. I’m not even sure we could tilt our necks up to watch fireworks explode in the sky. Andrew and my Dad have a nasty summer cold, and Jay threw out his back dancing at his brother’s wedding. Call us the walking — and drippy-nosed — wounded.

The truth is that Jay and I didn’t plan for this holiday at all. He was in North Carolina for the long weekend; I couldn’t go along because I was sick, so I was going to spend the time at my parents’. It is only because of the car accident that we are all together here on the 4th of July.

Before Jay got on the airplane that ferried him to North Carolina and before my Mom arrived in Helena to drive me back to Roundup, I was struck with the realization that we would be spending a holiday weekend with our families of origin not with each other and our son. I actually got pretty worked up about this before he left. I knew I was too sick to go along, and that Andrew wouldn’t cope well to being separated from me for five days; I knew that weddings are joyful events and that I should be happy to support my husband in going to witness his brother getting married; I knew that Jay’s going would make his whole extended family happy. I knew Jay was happy to be going. In short, I knew that Jay attending this wedding would make a whole lot of people — nearly everyone but me — happy. I’m usually all for pleasing other people, but this time I felt decidedly sour about the separation. Maybe I had a premonition about what was going to happen with the car wreck, or maybe I was just finally fed up with obligations. Sure, a wedding is a happy event, but it was still an obligation and one that parted us during one of the few long weekends in summer. I often feel as though we lurch from obligation to obligation — from cross-country doctor’s visits to family funerals to work trips to weddings. Where was there time for us?

However, even if Jay hadn’t gone to North Carolina and I hadn’t come to my parents’, and even if we were all healthy, I’m not sure we would have celebrated the 4th in the spirit of my childhood. Don’t get me wrong – it would have been nice to be home together. But we wouldn’t have organized a picnic or gone to the fairgrounds. We certainly wouldn’t have shot off fireworks or set Andrew loose with a sparkler. Probably no water balloon fights or red, white, and blue cupcakes. We would have had a regular mellow weekend, just with a couple of extra days.

When Jay was about to leave for North Carolina, it occurred to me why I was so cranky about the whole thing. It wasn’t anything as mundane as feeling “abandoned” by him to head off when I had pneumonia and Andrew was sick. Having sarcoidosis has frequently meant that we split up and that I cope with being alone when I feel like crap. This was different. My epiphany was that we hadn’t really gelled as a family. We still thought of our families as the people we grew up with — not as each other and our fair-haired son. When a holiday like the 4th crops up — or Easter or Passover or Halloween — it’s like we’re waiting for our mothers to show up and organize everything for us.

It’s odd, but it reminded me of when we were preparing to leave the hospital with our newborn son. I felt like a fraud. I kept waiting for the nurses to come into the room and carry Andrew away to “real” parents — responsible ones who would know how to take care of this mewling, red-faced critter. But the hospital staff let us leave with him, and somehow we’ve figured things out. Still, I often don’t feel like I’m competent. And my house and my holiday celebrations prove it. I have drawers full of junk, a linen closet that looks as though my goal was to tie the sheets into knots, and piles of clutter everywhere. I find the holiday decorations four months after the event has passed. We buy our Halloween pumpkins on Halloween, our Christmas tree on December 23. We do an equally shoddy job organizing for the Jewish holidays.

I’d like to do a better job of carving out our own holiday celebrations. I want Andrew to grow up with his memories studded with the happy images of our Passovers and Christmases, our July 4ths and January 1sts. I want these things for him not to “prove” that I can get my act together as a Mom but because such memories sustain me in troubled times and remind me of who I am — and I want the same for Andrew.

Eventually Jay and I parted for his brother’s wedding on good terms. I had passed from feeling irritable to feeling deeply melancholy. But my moodiness came to abrupt end on Friday when I spent a few seconds thinking I was going to die in the wreck. When I emerged from the ruined truck with Andrew, all I wanted was for Jay to be there. I wanted to feel his arms around me and around Andrew. I didn’t need sparklers or a badminton net to let me know who I loved most in this world. And that, I suppose, is the family celebration that trumps all the others.

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Bruised

July 3, 2006 at 6:08 pm (Uncategorized)

Reinforcements have arrived.  Jay was able to catch an earlier flight back from his brother’s wedding weekend in North Carolina.  He flew into Billings, rented a car, and showed up when we were napping.   It must be odd for him to be transported so quickly from the lush crowdedness of North Carolina to the sage brush and prickly pear cacti of my parents’ land.  The sky looms over us here; you can watch weather develop near the horizon. 

Jay was suitably impressed with my bruises.  The foot long bruises on my arms and thighs are luridly colored — deep purples blending to violet to green.  He cuddled gingerly next to me on the bed, and we swapped stories — mine of tumbling around inside a car, his of tumbling around inside his family.  It’s odd, but I half-wished I had a mangled limb or crutches or something more cataclysmic than significant swelling and bruising to give expression to how horrible the experience of the car accident was. 

Today is one of those mellow days at my parents’ that have almost no shape.  We’ve eaten meals at odd times and slept when we became tired. Andrew has spent most of the time puttering around in the barn, which is a giant play pavilion. Every toy that survived my three siblings and me is out in the barn, along with an electric train, a tricycle, and a loft for tea parties.  But mostly Andrew enjoys digging in the sandy soil near the house.  He fills buckets and wheelbarrows, and then empties them.  He buries his feet in the dirt.  I think it is the blankness of the dirt — the fact that he can imagine it to be anything — that draws him to it.  Like the rhythm of our days here, the dirt is fungible and formless.

Jay is tired.  His weekend was the antithesis of ours.  His brother’s wedding consisted of several scheduled events.  I can see his fatigue growing now as he able to unwind.  Sometimes it is only when you stop running that you realize how heavy your legs are, how sore your feet.  Here there is nothing to propel you.  It is completely silent, except for the wind in the pines, the birds chirping, and the rabbits scuffling on the side of the house.  No cars have passed today; no planes have flown overhead. 

This land is nearly impossible to cultivate.  My mother is in the midst of a series of paintings of abandoned ranches in the area.  People came from the East Coast or from the Old Country to try to scratch a living and a life out of the soil.  For a while, when the rains were regular and the grasshoppers didn’t devour the crops, they would fare pretty well.  But eventually, the uglier side of this land would show its face – drought, pestlilence, blizzards.  Families packed up and moved on, leaving behind homes and equipment and little oddities like the toilet seats in their outhouses and fragments of their once fine china.   Other ranchers would buy up the abandoned land, but they typically didn’t tear down the houses.  These buildings don’t rot or tumble down as much as they melt back into the dirt and sagebrush.  You happen upon these once hopeful settlements, leaning crazily as the land swallows them up.

Perhaps the families who abdicated their farms and the dreams that went with them wanted some concrete sign of their suffering too — something more than the inevitable bank note dispossessing them.  I wonder if they brought a board from the homestead, a handful of the soil, or at least a splinter with them.  Something to hold on to and say, “This is what is left behind.  This is how I have changed.”  But I’m sure most of them, just like the rest of us climbing out of wrecked cars or wrecked relationships, or leaving behind a bad job or a bad town, or waking up from surgery or getting a terrifying diagnosis, simply put their heads down and focused on what had to be done next.  You wear the marks of this life in your heart — once the bruises have faded. 

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All Shook Up: Phase Two

July 2, 2006 at 5:10 pm (Uncategorized)

It’s funny how injuries progress.  I am much stiffer and sorer today from the car accident than I was yesterday.  I imagine my brain taking stock of my body after the trauma and realizing, “Hey!  I pulled my back” and “Wow.  That arm injury is a lot worse than I thought” and ratcheting up the pain signals.  

My psychological response is remarkably similar to this.  For the first couple of days after something terrible happens, I am tremendously functional.  I make logical decisions, take care of small details (like ferreting my insurance card out of the ruined car’s interior to take to the hospital with me), and become scarily calm.  If you ever go through some cataclysmic event, I’m the person you’ll want by your side for the first few days.  But after that, you’d better look elsewhere because I fall apart—at precisely the moment when everyone assumes I’ve dealt with the situation. 

In keeping with this response, this afternoon I kept revisiting the accident in my head and became more upset every time.  I see the car tumbling down the embankment; I hear Andrew begin to cry so intensely that he can’t catch his breath; I remember the sensation of being tossed around inside the truck as it rolled over and over, my glasses wrenched from my face, the phone ripped out of my hand.  And in the moment when the truck finally regained its equilibrium and my Mom killed the engine, I remember the entire universe narrowing to Andrew, secured in his seatbelt and wailing with every bit of force he had. While we waited for the ambulance, I played my typical bargaining game with God.  “Please, please, please, let Andrew be OK.  Let anything happen to me.  But let Andrew be OK.” 

This reminds me of when my sarcoidosis saga began over two years ago and a doctor at the walk-in clinic I had gone to called me on a Friday afternoon to tell me I might have lymphoma.  I became super-functional for that weekend—cooking dinner, tending to Andrew, joking with friends who stopped by.  It wasn’t until Monday when I was driving up to Billings to see a specialist (a good four hour trip) all alone except for my three-month old baby that the gravity of what was happening sunk into me.  I sobbed and prayed.  Oddly, I remember bargaining with God that I would never eat potato chips again if He saw to it that I didn’t have lymphoma.  I think this long-since neglected pledge was part of a greater “I will take care of my body and appreciate my health” type of thing, but, still, I wonder what the supreme deity made of a mortal offering up junk food. 

Even though it takes a few days (or sometimes weeks or months) for terrible news to fully register with me, I’m not able to hold onto my panicked resolutions to do better after experiencing something harrowing than you would expect.  I returned to the potato chips and the self-loathing looks at my lumpy thighs.  So much for gratefully inhabiting the body God gave me.  And on Friday, as the ambulance approached down the gravel road, kicking up an obscuring cloud of dust behind it, I was sure I would do a better job—no, a perfect job—of constantly appreciating Andrew.  I would sack the babysitter and devote every waking second to his health and well being.  Not 48 hours later, he is once again driving me crazy in all the ways two year olds seem especially equipped to do.  Ignoring me, hollering at me, telling me he wants Daddy at dinner not me.  And predictably, I am losing my temper just like I always do and snapping at him to mind his manners and pay attention to me. 

I suppose it is a sign of human resiliency that we are not forever altered by the harrowing things that happen to us.  I read somewhere that life-changing illnesses like cancer don’t typically “change” people into someone new.  Instead, looking death in the eye makes a person more deeply who she was to start with.  I can’t speak for cancer survivors, but I have certainly found this to be true on my own journey through chronic illness. 

Part of growing older is gaining some modicum of self-knowledge.  I’ll be able to expect the funk I will fall into this week.  Somehow, though, knowing it’s coming never makes it any easier.  I’m choosing to view my capacity to return to my pre-accident mindset as something life affirming.  I can’t tiptoe through this world always expecting it to end.  There’s a fine line between being mindful and morbid.  If I spent every waking second appreciating Andrew, he’d become insufferable.  And I’d rather not inhabit a universe ruled by a God that expects mortals to turn away from potato chips. 

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All Shook Up

July 1, 2006 at 11:35 am (Uncategorized)

I have decided that Jay and I must have inadvertently desecrated an ancient holy site when we were kayaking and camping on deserted islands in Palau.  Or perhaps we were naughty in a past life and are now reaping the karmic payback.  Or maybe there’s been a personal storm cloud perched above our heads for the past couple of years, reversing the ions in the air around us.  Who knows, but something is definitely going on.

Yesterday my Mom, Andrew and I were making the four hour drive from my house in Helena to my parents’ ranch.   Less than ten miles from our final destination, my Mom lost control of the pickup truck.  The vehicle flipped.  For the most part, we are fine.  Because Andrew’s car seat was hooked into the rear seatbelt, I was unbuckled in the back seat next to Andrew, who fared the best of us since he was snugly secured in his safety seat.  However, I got thrown all around the inside of the truck and am fairly banged and bruised, and my mom is covered with glass cuts and badly hurt her neck. 

It took us a while to figure out how to open one of the jammed doors to get out.  Andrew was crying hysterically and broken glass was scattered everywhere.  We couldn’t find our cell phones; I thought my arm was broken (which it’s not) and that Andrew was seriously hurt (he’s not).  We located a phone in the jumble of the car and called 911.  My parents live on a poorly maintained gravel road far outside a small town, so I was afraid we would be stuck for a while.  The sun was beating down on the crumpled truck.  One of the side mirrors was about twenty feet away from the truck.  The hot dogs we had just picked up at the store were even farther away, half buried in the dusty field.

It ended up only taking a few minutes for the ambulance to show up.  It was followed by the fire engine.  “Oh my Gooooood,” Andrew screamed in delight.  It’s not every day a boy gets to see a fire engine appear with its lights flashing and its siren blaring.  The medics strapped Andrew onto a trauma board.  He was so small lying there, and terrified too.  But once we were settled into the ambulance he started chattering to the medic, especially after she gave him a stuffed elephant, which he christened Skinny.  They wanted to strap me to a board along with my Mom and Andrew, but at that point, I felt no pain. I was fueled by adrenaline and fear and I desperately needed to be upright holding my son’s hand.  It wasn’t until we arrived at the hospital and the doctor said that Andrew was fine that I began to notice that I couldn’t move my neck, that my hips were aching, and my arm very swollen. Jay is in North Carolina attending his brother’s wedding.  Andrew and I had stayed behind in Montana because I was still feeling the effects of pneumonia and Andrew had caught a bug of his own.  Calling my husband to say that we were just in a fairly serious accident—“but, don’t worry, I think we’re alright”—was one of the more difficult tasks of the day.  I could hear him dissolving in panic three thousand miles away, helpless to do anything but worry and call. 

Although I like to joke about the rotten luck we’ve been having—my sarcoidosis with its attendant dramas, floods in our house, my frequent secondary illnesses, Jay’s car accident—the truth is that we are very lucky.  My mom had the presence of mind to strap my enormous suitcase down, so that it didn’t go tumbling on Andrew’s head when the truck was upside down.  Earlier in the drive, I had noticed that Andrew wasn’t strapped in properly and had fixed it, so that the seat did its job and held him in place. 

Part of living with a chronic illness means that Jay and I often feel like we are perched on the ledge of an abyss.  We deal with mundane unpleasantness on a fairly regular basis.  But we also lurch from health crisis to health crisis.  Both the daily grind of fatigue and illness, along with the surges of panic when my condition rears up and does something scary, saps our strength.  So when something terrible like yesterday’s accident happens, our initial response is to think, “Not again!  Enough already.”  It’s as if we have lost our resilience.  Something traumatic happens, and we feel as if we will snap instead of sway.  But the reality is that we are fairly flexible after all.  I was able to focus on keeping Andrew calm; I talked to Jay and convinced him not to hire a private helicopter to take him home.  My Mom and I took ibuprofen and played with Andrew.   Already I can feel my body mending. 

It’s odd that just in my last blog entry I was pondering the frightening fragility of our lives—how everything changes in one single moment jutting up from ordinary events.  The gravel caused my Mom’s tires to skitter—a tiny little shift from the routine—and that set into motion a series of occurrences that could have changed everything instantly.  We are fortunate that nothing has really changed, save for a wrecked truck and some bad bruises and wrenched ligaments.  We are lucky.  Shaken, but lucky. 

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