Struggling With Loneliness During My Son’s Long Hospitalizations

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by Joe MacDonald |

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One of the unexpected issues I struggled with when my youngest son, Caeleb, faced many prolonged hospital stays due to internal bleeding episodes was loneliness. My wife, Cazandra, and I divided our time between the hospital and home life with our older son, Julian. As a result, we often didn’t sleep in the same bed for many weeks, much less relax together in our home. However, we never intended to isolate ourselves. Instead, we did what we felt was best for our children.

I felt the loneliest when I returned home from the hospital to shower, sleep, and get up to face the challenges of a new day. I sat in my unusually quiet house, feeling like the walls were starting to close in around me. The silence spoke very loudly as I felt alone, attempting to provide Julian with some normalcy. My heart began to sink, and I felt a wave of anxiety at the thought of never having a “normal” life again.

I could’ve remained on the couch all day long, but both of my sons needed me. As much as I wanted to give up on the day, I couldn’t stay stuck in my negative thoughts because my family depended on me. So, while I sometimes resented having to move, I believe that it proved the best thing for me.

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Loneliness can creep in and attack us when we least expect it, often creating an unhealthy response to our environment. In my case, I responded to isolation with a feeling of loneliness that sent me into a pit of despair.

Unfortunately, loneliness doesn’t come in an easy-to-solve puzzle box because it is crafty and often finds a way to subtly arrest your soul without so much as a glance. It wages war against the spirit, attempting to crush everything in sight.

In my case, I felt like a walking robot, moving from one responsibility to the next without feeling or connection. The slippery slope landed me at the bottom of an emotional pit. I was flying on automatic pilot for many months, moving from one hot-button issue to the next. My brain responded as if on overload.

Recovery from my loneliness was straightforward. First, I reached out to Cazandra, sharing how I felt about our crazy schedule and our inability to connect during the times when hemophilia seemed to take over our lives. As I shared, I realized the isolation I felt seemed to leave. Laying my cards on the table and speaking my truth gave me the strength I needed to overcome the demons I faced.

Hope made its presence known and taught me the importance of speaking out when things get bad. Cazandra offered me the opportunity to let down my guard and share my feelings with her. As a result of our conversations, I felt closer to her than before the many hospitalizations. Communication remains the key ingredient in our marriage.

I think about loneliness and how reaching out proved crucial for my wife and me. May my fellow blood brothers and sisters continue sharing the issues that they face. Maybe we can draw strength from one another’s stories. Instead of being imprisoned by feelings of isolation, perhaps our communal connections can set us free.

Reach out to those you love and share your heart. You never know what conversations may arise from stepping out in faith.


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, and are intended to spark discussion about issues pertaining to hemophilia.

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