How To Be Sick

A father’s care when one of his children is sick is part of the child’s identity.

If we do not know how to provide the care as a family unit, or to have a designated parent or caregiver for one our children, we are not meeting their needs. There are times that we forget they are our children. And then there are other days when we can’t stand being apart from them, and it is heartbreaking to be reminded of that.

My wife and I have a daughter who is 11. When she started school there were several new kids in her classroom (and one of them is now in Kindergarten, which is wonderful!), and it was tough to deal with a lot at once. She also has a 2nd grade friend who is very much like her (no spelling, no bad behavior, no fussing!), she still has fun and will do whatever needs doing (she never says no to anything), but she is at a different grade level than my daughter. It was also hard for us to understand what was going on that our child needed special care.

When she started school they asked if we wanted any of her classmates to be sent home from our child’s first day, they all got homesick, and we agreed. Then they said she needed a parent. She is very much like any child (no ADHD, no issues) and they just didn’t know what to do. She was having trouble understanding what was going on at school because she just couldn’t focus, and she didn’t understand why people would pick on her. Now of course the whole school knows about my son’s problems, and we understand that the only way it can be fixed is for her to go home and have someone look after her.

Now on the days that it seems like we have the best of days and the worst of days, I will start out by saying to myself (and she and I both)   I’m a parent, and I care.   I am the one who has to go find and comfort the child in tears 

When I was 12- I had a bad case of asthma (my dad noticed right away and took me to see the doctor, after I had been there 2 hours we were referred to a special nurse-pediatric asthma team. This was one of the few kids we got who had asthma). I was diagnosed with chronic obstructive pulmonary disorder, (chronic breathing problems) they said I wouldn’t make it to 2 years old, if I was lucky.   My mom was already with me the whole first couple months, but my sister would go as soon as she knew I needed help, and I would be left as the one responsible for caring for my daughter by myself.  

So when I was 21- I started having the chest pains.   I was told I had cancer in my lungs, but I didn’t have a way to know that, and just a little bit of fear.   The chest pains worsened and by the time I got to the ER I was being airlifted to the University of Pittsburgh Children’s Hospital for surgery.   I was given 2 things, a ventilator and a breathing tube. When I arrived the doctors gave me a script to get my prescription filled at my local pharmacy, because a prescription would mean a trip to the hospital, and as you see the hospital was a 2 hour drive away.

I needed that medication.

As the day of the surgery hit, I started to feel better.