The Throat Swab that Proved Waning Tolerance
My youngest son Caeleb suffers from seasonal allergies. He gets severe headaches, congestion, a runny nose, watery eyes — it’s not fun. One of the telltale signs that he is genuinely sick is when he vomits from a headache; otherwise, I chalk most things up to allergies. On a Sunday evening, he began to get a headache. The next morning his throat was sore. And like a good mom I said, “Get dressed, you’re fine.” He didn’t have a fever so I was OK with my decision. However, by Thursday morning he seemed to be worse. I kept him home from school and took him to the doctor.
My son was diagnosed with bronchitis and possibly strep. Yes, possibly. Caeleb is 13 years old and has been through surgeries, IVs, and thousands of infusions. Why does he freak out when the nurse needs to swab his throat? I’ll admit that I’m not a fan of this procedure myself, but there is a point when you need to open your mouth and let the swab happen. He fought and hesitated. I was not happy. I tried to push him to “just do it.” Then I realized I needed to step back and let him and the nurse handle it. But their efforts resulted in a swab that was inconclusive.
I was so frustrated. I thought. “Why wouldn’t he open his mouth? His hesitancy is taking time out of our day. Just do it so we can go home already.” And then I realized that I was taking an uncomfortable medical situation and comparing it to the infusions, blood draws, and surgeries of previous years. If my son could handle those things, I thought it was ridiculous that he wouldn’t open up his mouth for a mere swab.
Shame on me. It has been years since Caeleb has endured any medical problems, so in his mind hemophilia is far away. Perhaps the throat swab was causing him as much stress and fear as an infusion had in the past.
Our perspective changes from one season of our disorder to the next. Challenges alter our outlook. The illness takes precedence. But when your disease is under control, it is easy to dismiss previous situations.
When I wait in a doctor’s office, memories of previous visits flood my mind. Some leave a smile on my face, while others fill me with anxiety. When a new doctor enters the room, I answer his questions. I sit and nod despite knowing that I could probably educate him about hemophilia.
Our journey has brought us to the place where a throat swab is devastating. I’ll take it.
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