February 2014 proved to host the last bleed “MacDonald the Younger” faced thus far. The treatment plan created by our Hemophilia Treatment Center worked like a charm, and in the twinkling of an eye, the storm subsided and our quality of life improved drastically.
What we didn’t see were the ravages of years of bleeds and the toll that the harsh storms took on my son’s joints. We also failed to notice the remains of stress and other damaging debris of a hurricane that recognized no boundaries. And so, we began our next chapter.
The beauty of ending a season of horrible illness is a great thing, but we must pay attention to the relationships that took on an extreme burden of pain. My wife is an introvert, but she managed to address the ravages of the years’ storms by processing her feelings through beautiful blogging about the years we practically lived in the hospital.
I, on the other hand, could not feel any of the effects of what happened. I am an extrovert, but when things such as health concerns show their ugly heads, I crawl into a hole and refuse to come out. It took years, and a good therapist, to talk about my feelings toward the whole season of ugly bleeds. Time proved to be my best friend as different realizations gave way to healing.
After MacDonald the Younger’s release from the hospital for the last time, we returned for a follow-up appointment. I felt fine as we parked the car and headed back into our second home. Then: Not this place again. With that thought, my stomach felt a little queasy. What’s happening? Am I getting sick?
As we sat with our medical team, the nausea I’d felt a few minutes earlier returned and would not go away. I excused myself from the conversation, went into the bathroom, and “sold Buicks” all over the restroom floor. My health recovered quickly. I believe that my body physically reacted to returning to the hospital. The act of returning to the arena of some of the most challenging moments of my family’s life proved tougher than I’d realized.
We began rebuilding our lives without the hospital. Picking up the pieces was not an easy thing to do. Recovery took years of soul-searching and it took intentional work to reclaim ourselves both as individuals and as a family. The storm passed, but we faced an obligation to clean up the rubble that washed its way onto the shore.
We are not finished clearing away all the debris of hospital life and the long-lasting effects of chronic illness. However, we express gratitude that the storm did not devour us. Life changed in an instant, and for that we give thanks. My son is no longer bound to a wheelchair, so he runs and plays with neighborhood children. Life for him is radically different. Little by little, we rebuild our community of love and support. Hopefully, our lives will discover restoration in a way that is better than what we can imagine.
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.