Thursday, October 6, 2011

Maybe I shouldn't say...

Pookie came home from the hospital Saturday, September 23rd, with her INR just hundredths of a whole number above her targeted range after 12 days.  She missed half a day of school that Monday while I took her to the lab to draw her blood again.  She had 17 needle marks in her left arm.  Tuesday, she threw up before school with a migraine headache.  I sent her to school for two hours and then went to pick her up.

When I called the nurse before the cath a few weeks before, the nurse said, "Katelyn is not a drama queen.  I've never known her to complain about anything."  That Tuesday when I pulled her out of school, we eventually saw her cardiologist.  He told me, "Next time she complains [about chest pain], let's not make her ride 8 miles on her bicycle."

Can I tell you something?

Being a mother is hard.

But being a mother to Katelyn?

Some days?  Some days it requires a PhD, an MD, an RD,  a psyche degree, an RN, a PT, a GI, Rx, neuro, ... and, and that's just Monday at 8:00.


Last year, I quizzed the school nurse about the frequency with which Katelyn visited her office.  She shared that Katelyn is opposite of a typical school kid.  Most children visit the nurse frequently in Kindergarten, less in first grade, fewer times in second, on and on so that most fourth and fifth graders really don't come to see her very often.  Katelyn, however, came to the nurse rarely in Kindergarten, more often in first grade, frequently in second grade and almost daily in third.  Friday last week was the first day this year the school nurse did not call my home or my cell phone.

After Katelyn's pneumonia last year, she frequently - constantly - complained about her lung hurting.  We gave her breathing treatments almost the entire winter. 

She reports aches and pains in her fingers.  Her feet.  Her shoulder.  Her eyeball.

Sometimes it's real. 

Sometimes it's hard to tell.

Please understand.  I love my daughter from head to toe.  Her very existence is a blessing and in my estimation the absolute proof of God's grace.

She will be mortified that I am writing this about her - but she is a drama queen.  She lives to perform and to be the center of attention.  She loves going to the doctor and (until this last visit) sees a trip to the hospital as a li'l piece of heaven where pizzas and ice cream appear with just a phone call and medical students request interviews and listen to her funky heartbeat.  She is a bundle of energy and intelligence, beauty and talent, sass ... and an enigma that I am constantly trying to crack.

I am her filter.

I was floored when the nurse at the cardioligist's office told me she'd never known Katelyn to complain about anything.  I wanted to shake her by the shoulders and insist she understand how difficult it is not to call over every complaint, to try to discern what needs a phone call and what doesn't.

When I sit in the conference room of the elementary school year after year and insist she not run in PE and she be allowed extra time to eat at lunch and I feel like a neurotic mother with Munchausen by Proxy and she looks perfectly healthy yet she is constantly in the nurse's office and then the nurse calls and says she complained of chest pain in PE and I say, "Tell her to suck it up and get back to class," but the nurse says, "her lungs are clear and the pain is in her chest," and I cuss under my breath and tell her I'll call the cardiologist...

Maybe I shouldn't say that being her mother is hard.  Because not being her mother?  Brings instant tears to my eyes and a grip on my chest that I can only imagine is what she felt on that bike ride.  But I didn't know.  And she doesn't know.  How hard it is to filter her aches and pains and to know when to call and when to reassure her that everything is fine.  And insist that she act normal when normal is grey and ambiguous and hard to discern.

Maybe I just shouldn't say.
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