Those Times When I Need to ‘Choose Something Like a Star’

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by Joe MacDonald |

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We live in a world that is loud and overwhelms us at every turn. The noise can drown out our own ability to think, leaving us frightened and unsure what our next step should be.

Because I have been a caregiver to two sons with hemophilia and have to deal with the complications of their disease, I often hear from family members, friends, colleagues, and medical personnel who want to share their thoughts and advice. I know their intentions are always well-meaning and their support means a great deal to me, but sometimes, hearing from others becomes too much to bear; it just begins to sound like white noise that causes me to have stress and clouds my judgment.

The internet is another matter. I appreciate the fact that we can access information with the click of a button and the internet is a powerful tool and can educate us in ways that generations before us could never imagine. However, when I’m online I’m always reminding myself to be wary of what I read, that what I’m reading might not always be accurate, or factual. It can feel like information overload to be online and knowing you always have to keep your guard up to filter out bad information can be exhausting.

A reminder for this hemophilia caregiver

One of my favorite poems is Robert Frost’s Choose Something Like a Star, and the line that reads, “So when at times the mob is swayed to carry praise or blame too far, we may choose something like a star to stay our minds on; and be staid. It’s a beautiful line that I try to hold fast to when I’m struggling with just about every issue in my life. I attempt to block out the noise that’s all around me and listen to the still, small voice that lives within me, that guides me and helps set me on the right path.

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When I am overwhelmed, that small voice within me is inaudible. My best hope is to remove myself from the noise and find a quiet place, free from everything that steals my attention. When I’m left alone, I can make the best decision regarding medical treatment, relationships, and other issues that need my care. It’s here I am reminded of my ability to “choose something like a star” that helps reduce the stress I’m feeling — and better meet my responsibilities of my relationships and duties, and for being a caregiver to my sons.

Time spent in contemplation provides a safe space to reflect on the crucial things in life and offers us a moment to discern appropriate ways to address situations. For example, when I struggle with how to address my youngest son’s complications brought on by continuous internal bleeding episodes into his right ankle and knee, I do my research and consult with the doctors, but then I have to reflect on the information, and I need time alone to think and focus on the right choices regarding my boy’s medical care.

That is so valuable to me. Time to contemplate is to me precious time that helps me shut out the noise and listen to that small voice within — the voice that will help me to “choose something like a star to stay my mind on and be staid,” and guide me to make the right decisions for my sons.


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.


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