5

I do not know what my parents were thinking. One day they had a typical (albeit moody, depressive, artistic, and rather eclectic in appearance) twenty-some year old daughter, the next they had a daughter with an uncertain future.

My father could expect a call if my aging vehicle was making a strange noise. “Should I take it in, Dad?” My mother would listen to me complain about something that a typical twenty-some would complain about. Then, it was my body doing strange things, and I was complaining about pain, a lack balance, vomiting and dizziness.

I wonder if I ever will ask them how they felt. In a way, I don’t want to know. I know I caused them pain and that pains me.

I tried to keep a brave face at least some of the time. I tried to make jokes, which is sometimes my way when I feel uncomfortable. I did not want to cause my parents pain or sadness. I did what little I could to ease their pain. I don’t know if they noticed.

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Once I was a parent with a typical infant son, and then for twenty-four hours I thought I’d have to take him to CHOP, the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia. It was among the worst hours I have yet lived. My husband and I felt like we fell into a pit. Like the bottom dropped out and there was no end to how deep I could go. Things turned out fine.

Things do not turn out fine for every child and their parents. And what can you say? Things do not turn out fine for every child and their parents. And what can you say?