An Eventful Night Reminds Me of What’s Most Important

Joe MacDonald avatar

by Joe MacDonald |

Share this article:

Share article via email
chronic pain in children | Hemophilia News Today | Main graphic for column titled

The events of last weekend proved chaotic and unexpected. On our way to see a movie, my family was involved in an automobile accident that left my vehicle inoperable. The person who caused the collision sped away, leaving us alone and frightened.

I called 911, and a fire truck, ambulance, and two police cars quickly appeared. Praise be to God, we all seemed to be OK.

My “dad” mode kicked in, and I called the insurance company as I was checking on my precious cargo — my wife and younger son. Because my wife has chronic skeletal pain and my younger son, “MacDonald the Younger,” has hemophilia, I asked the ambulance to take them to the hospital.

My son would need a physical to check for internal bleeding. It’s the bleeding we can’t see that my wife and I worry about the most. Bleeding from an injury to his stomach or head could prove life-threatening and would require immediate treatment.

Recommended Reading
National Alliance for Caregiving caregivers guidebook/ and children with rare diseases

‘Not Alone in the Dark’: New Guide for, by Caregivers of Children With Rare Diseases

Seems like old times

After dealing with the insurance company and police and firefighters, I made it to the hospital at the University of New Mexico. I felt like I was entering a time warp, and my mind couldn’t help but race back to the times my son used to spend weeks and months in the hospital because of internal bleeding. As the night went on, those moments came back to me like snapshots in a photo album.

As I sat in the hospital snack area still reeling from the accident, I observed a man carrying several bags of food, which he laid out on a table before his wife and son. They sat together, perhaps sharing some time away from the constant beep of medical machines, and my mind’s eye raced back to the times that my family lived out that same moment. I found myself wanting to tell them to hold on tight to one another, to love one another well, and to move heaven and earth to make time for one another.

Later, while my son was being examined for injuries, we learned that his allergic reaction to factor VIII had returned with a vengeance. As nurses and doctors moved through the room to help treat this complication, I saw something in my son that I hadn’t seen in a very long time: fear. He had begun to panic, and my attempts to calm him proved little comfort. The moment called to mind those times when we were in a state of panic about his condition nearly every day.

Fortunately, his symptoms decreased rapidly and he regained his composure. I sat by his side, assuring him that the worst part had passed and that his daddy loved him with all his soul and spirit.

In this together

Because of COVID-19 protocols, my wife and I had to take turns being in his room with him. Doing this reminded me of those times when our son’s hemophilia had overwhelmed us and we had lost emotional contact with each other. So, as my son’s condition began to improve, I went back and forth to the snack room to also spend time with her, to remain in her presence and talk through this difficult time together. I did not want history to repeat itself, so I made sure to care not only for my boy, but also for the love of my life.

The memories, flashing like snapshots in my mind, were troubling, to be sure, but through them all, I remembered that night’s essential lesson: hold on to one another and never let go.


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.


Leave a comment

Fill in the required fields to post. Your email address will not be published.