September 22, 2012

A Chance to Thrive (Part III)

A New Start

“You need to hold my hand in the parking lot, Sweetheart.” 
“Hey Buddy!  Don’t run in the store!” 
“Whoa!  Stop touching, Big Guy!  You might break something!”

No one who sees the lively, active, energetic three-year old today would ever possibly guess that he had experienced a difficult, almost unthinkable infancy.  That just two short years ago, his chances for survival were next to impossible.  It’s like looking at a “before” and “after” make-over photo; you have to look twice to believe it’s the same person, and even then the resemblance is barely recognizable!

September 16, 2012

A Chance to Thrive (Part II)

The Discharge
Nothing, not any experience or doctors’ descriptions, could have prepared me for seeing this little boy for the very first time.  Underneath all of the wires, tubes, probes and bandages, I could just barely catch a glimpse of the frail body lying limp in the hospital bed.  His yellow-hued eyes barely glanced at me listlessly as I greeted him in my sing-song voice that I tend to use when talking to babies.  He gave no reaction whatsoever when I attempted to stroke his stick-like arms and legs.  I now understood what “Failure to Thrive” looked like.  And I was instantly afraid.  What if he died before an organ became available?  What if he did get the transplant that he needed and healed physically, but remained emotionally damaged because of all the trauma and lack of nurture during the first year of his life?  What on earth had I just agreed to?

September 8, 2012

A Chance to Thrive (Part 1)

The Dilemma
“I’m sorry, but there’s nothing else we can do.  Our goal now is to make him as comfortable as possible until the end.”  The doctor stood at the child’s bedside, uttering the words as gently as possible, terrible words that no parent ever imagines hearing.  The tiny, frail little boy had just celebrated his first birthday  - if you can call lying in a hospital bed hooked up to monitors and tubes a celebration – and had long ago been labeled “Failure to Thrive.”   The disease that raged through his fragile body during his first year of life had simply been too much of a struggle for him to continue fighting.  He had given up on his desire to live, and now, apparently, the doctors were giving up as well.