“MacDonald the Older” and I drove down the road that leads to his college. We stopped at a local restaurant, had a good meal, and then attended a concert together. I look forward to times like these when I get to share some laughs with my adult son. He gets my humor when so few others do.
As we made our way to the restaurant, he rolled up the sleeve on his left arm and said, “Look, Padre, I think I have a bleed.” I noticed the swelling and tried not to panic. I calmly asked him if he’d infused. He responded, “No. Do you think I should?” I looked at him as if he just lost his mind. Instead of raging and going crazy, I simply said, “Yes, son. I think you should infuse.”
I realized while we talked that I am powerless regarding his medical care. He is no longer a child, and it is up to him to infuse preventatively or not. He must be on top of any breakthrough bleeding episodes. It is all up to him. My prayer is that I trained him well enough to manage any issues resulting from hemophilia.
Parents want to shelter their children as much as possible. We hold them when the sting of a needle pierces their skin so that they may receive the right medicine to relieve a horrible episode. We teach them how to manage their care so that when the time comes, they can take over treatment. As parents, the hardest lesson we learn is that once our children grow older, we must stand aside and let them provide their own care.
Our little boys and girls grow into amazing men and women. The gift is that our adult sons and daughters offer a new season of joy. My son and I laugh at each other like nobody’s business. We love each other, and there is not a day that I am not thankful for his presence in my life.
And as for the bleed, I believe that he will treat when he needs to stop bleeding internally. As he matures, he will grow in his responsibility to be his best advocate and to take care of a bleeding disorder he didn’t ask to carry. I know that his sense of resourcefulness will continue to inform his journey. After all, he is a part of a fantastic group of men and women who live with chronic illnesses and thrive.
“MacDonald the Older” is made of amazing stock. I will always be a presence in his life to inform him or listen to him. Most of all, I will remind him that when things are at their absolute worst, he will still be loved. Bringing hope into his world is my greatest achievement. The rest does not matter.
Note: Hemophilia News Today is strictly a news and information website about the disease. It does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or another qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website. The opinions expressed in this column are not those of Hemophilia News Today or its parent company, BioNews Services, and are intended to spark discussion about issues pertaining to hemophilia.