Monday, January 03, 2005

Lucky SB

One of those things happened today, you know, one of those things that makes you want to find the nearest closet to get in so you can drop to your knees and fervently whisper "Thank you, thank you, thank you" for everything good and safe in your life and then feel guilty because you are so friggin' lucky and still you whine about your children and you are the most unappreciative SB in the whole freakin' county.

The Boy has his OT appointments on Mondays, and today I dropped him off then took The Girl to the library to return some books. When we walked back into the waiting room after running our errands, there was a woman standing near the front door, and we had to walk past her to get to the play area. It's a small waiting room, so we passed quite close to her, and I realized that she was crying. For a split second, a flash of panic set in--that panic you get when you see a stranger in public distress for no obvious reason, the one that mutters to you to keep walking, mind your own business, let her have her privacy--and then I stopped and turned around and asked her if she was all right. And she wasn't all right. She said she'd just found out that her 14-year old son had a huge tumor in his leg, that he'd been in pain for 3 years and they kept taking him to the doctor, who kept saying that it was "just growing pains", and they finally brought him to the OT, and the OT said, "Uh, I think we'd better get an xray", and there it was, this tumor, and it was huge, and she was terrified, and angry, and all she kept saying was that her baby had been in pain for 3 years.

I told her that I was so sorry and I would be furious, too, and scared shitless, but that it might be okay. I said, you know, I'm totally not making light of this, but it really might be okay. I said, of course anything would probably push on nerves and cause pain, but it could be benign and still do that. The way she looked at me, I just think she needed to hear that. I wish I would have told her that it wasn't her fault, that she took him to the doctor, she did what anyone would have done, and it wasn't her fault, this thing. Thinking about it now, I think she needed to hear that, too. It was all kind of surreal and then The Boy came bounding out and I had to chase after him out to the parking lot, but I can't stop thinking about her.

Her boy's name is Nicholas. If you're so inclined, I'd appreciate it if you'd send prayers or vibes or thoughts or whatever good juju you hang with her way.

And then we went to the kids' dentist appointments, and while they were in with the dentists I sat down and picked up today's Newsweek, lord only knows why, and was incredibly annoyed by this article. Maybe I was just feeling emotional and sensitive, but I'm sorry--how bloody flippant can we be? I quote:

And the Green Zone Cafe, best burger in the four square miles containing
thousands of Americans, was blown to bits, along with the clientele, by a
suicide bomber. The kitchen was spared, so it reopened as a takeout place,
but U.S. Force Protection officers now raid it periodically, looking for
U.S. government employees who aren't permitted to be there. For a good meal
now, trade a beer for an MRE. We recommend the curry.

What the hell? Oh, haha, good one. The curry. People are dying and this guy is turning a witty phrase? This guy is a Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist? Okey-dokey then. Am I over-reacting? It just rubbed me the wrong way.


Jessica said...

No, you aren't over-reacting.

Regarding know how it's impossible not to think of your own children when you hear a sad or unfortunate story involving someone else's kids? It always seems to strike me even harder when the youth involved is the same age as my own child. My son is 14 and I can't stop thinking about Nicholas and his mother. All good thoughts, energy and hope to them.

Christine said...

I don't know what is wrong with people. Perhaps because he's reporting on these things he's been desensitized - not an excuse. If this is what sells it makes you wonder about people, doesn't it.

Isn't is scary how quickly our lives can change. One minute you think your son has growing pains and the next he has a tumor. I will pray for Nicholas. I'm sure what you said to her made her feel better. The kindness of strangers is a rare thing, in my experience. Good for you!