Staying Calm in a Crisis Helps Me to Focus
My youngest son, Caeleb, called me to pick him up early from jazz band rehearsal last week. I could hear a hint of panic in his voice. Caeleb has complained of arm pain over the past few months, but it never seemed to be a big problem. I hoped it was weather-related and would resolve on its own. When Caeleb shut the car door, he started to cry and even tried to muffle his scream. I kept calm, although my heart took me back to times of crisis I would rather keep at a distance.
The hemophilia treatment center (HTC) instructed me to take Caeleb to the emergency room. I know the drill all too well. We stopped at the house to pick up a few things, talked to my husband about what needed to happen at home, and Caeleb and I were off to the ER.
During the 40-minute drive, Caeleb talked nonstop to distract himself from the pain. It came in waves and could be excruciating.
I quickly recalled the long drives we’d make when we lived over three hours from the HTC. One night, Caeleb’s knee bleed was so painful that he cried the entire way to the hospital. All I could do was drive carefully and not let my emotions get in the way.
In moments of crisis, I become a different person. When my son is screaming at the top of his lungs in pain, I’m not crying with him. It’s as if I take my emotions out of my body, put them inside a box, and seal it shut. I’m too busy thinking about the “what ifs” to let emotions enter the mix. What if the doctors can’t stop his pain? What if he stays in the hospital all week? What if I can’t make my business trip next week?
Staying calm in a crisis helps me to focus. I give my full attention to whatever’s most critical. Instead of mentally running through my to-do list, everything of minimal importance falls away. It amazes me that crises remind me to focus on what’s important.
As I drove Caeleb to the emergency room, there were moments when everything was fine. He talked and laughed, and I began to question why we were going to the hospital. Then a wave of pain would take over, and my son couldn’t even speak. I kept calm and moved quickly.
Being calm in chaotic situations often prevents them from becoming worse than they are. However, my emotions have gotten the best of me at times. Seeing a child in pain is devastating, and sometimes I have to be devastated with my son.
During those moments, I felt a complete loss of control. I know it’s impossible to predict how hemophilia will manifest, but to retain as much control as possible in a crisis, I will do my best to keep my emotions in check. There will be times to feel sad, cry, and even be angry. I will wait to experience those emotions once I have helped my son.
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.