Wanting More Won’t Stop My Family from Being Content Now
My son couldn’t walk, and placing him in a wheelchair proved to be impossible. Internal bleeding into a knee or ankle forced my “stinky boy” to remain in bed. I hurt for him, thinking, “If only he could get in a wheelchair, he could see the world.” We wished that he could get out of bed, for our lives to improve, and for our family to regain a sense of normality.
Time passed, and my son’s health improved. Each day, we got his wheelchair ready. He attended school and adhered to a daily schedule. Over time, we grew weary of hauling the wheelchair everywhere. It was bulky and heavy, but at least it allowed “MacDonald the Younger” to take part in school activities and have adventures with his family and friends. While we were grateful for his chair, we continued to hope that someday he would no longer need it.
Eventually, we found the correct balance of medicine to stop the bleeding. My son began a new treatment and began to walk again. He started by taking a few steps from his chair. Then he could walk unassisted into his classroom. Later, we were able to vacation in New York City without the aid of a walker. Walking had seemed nearly impossible, but he had mastered it — the only problem was that he had a limp. So, we recommenced the cycle of wanting more.
Wanting more can have both positive and negative consequences. We live in a world that emphasizes the rewards of striving to maintain our best life. We hear phrases like, “Don’t be satisfied with where you are, work toward something better,” and, “Your best years are ahead of you.”
Moving forward is essential to my family. The MacDonalds strive to attain our goals. I hope that as we seek out better circumstances, we will find satisfaction in our present state. Our desire to want more should not prevent us from being happy in the here and now.
My wife and I started a tradition several years ago: We each choose a word to be our guiding mantra for the year. For 2020, my word is “content.” I look for ways to find contentment in all facets of my life. This commitment includes my role as a caregiver. How can my sons learn from my approach to peace and fulfillment? How might we walk through the valley of the shadow of treatment and come out on the other side?
I believe in moving forward. We often rush through life so fast that we don’t enjoy the present. There is beauty to be found along the journey. We must take time to be still and appreciate all that we have.
Several years ago, “MacDonald the Older” and I decided to drive from Rio Rancho, New Mexico, to Portland, Oregon. The trip took us through mountainous areas, cities, and rural towns. We made frequent stops to look at the beautiful scenery around us as we continued toward our destination.
Living with a chronic illness is like that drive to Oregon. We move forward as medical advances continue to enhance our quality of life. As we discover ways to improve our lives, let us take time to enjoy where we are, no matter how small our progress. May we find a way to be content in all aspects of our lives, and hopefully, our contentment will lead to happiness.
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