Emotionally, I’m a mess. I just don’t feel “right” and it’s not going to get any better. Not today, anyhow.
Today… well… I just want to make it through.
Forget that Ryan’s skull surgeries were denied by all the hospitals that the surgeon has privileges. Forget the overwhelming feeling of having to start all over again with finding another surgeon — and hospital — that will take him. Forget the frustration that over a month was wasted in getting his skull repaired as the cranial defect grows. This is all too common in the medical community. I deal with it all the time.
All that matters at this moment is what today will bring. How it will kick the crap out of me. I just wish it were over! I’d give so much to make it all go away.
It won’t, this I know. So I will do what I am good at doing… I’ll lower my shoulder and plow through it.
I know what’s coming. The thing is, that’s what makes it (even) worse.
I need to take Ryan to another surgeon’s office. In a few hours I’ll load the seemingly endless supplies and equipment into the van for our trip. That sucks, yes, but that’s not what’s going to rip at my emotions.
It will be all the staring.
I don’t blame these people, I really don’t. What they will do, unknowingly, is human nature. It’s hard to look at my son. It’s hard not to look at my son. It’s hard for me, as a matter-of-fact, even to this day.
Nope, I can’t fault them for it, but that doesn’t mean it hurts me any less.
Most people don’t realize how much it hurts me. They won’t notice me, the man who is pushing that poor soul’s wheelchair. No, instead they can’t hide their look of… what? Shock? Pity? Repulsion? Horror? Yeah, it’s all these reactions wrapped-up in one.
A few will even cover the agape mouths as they try to hide their wonder and amazement.
Some will gasp.
Not for me, but for them, I’ll pretend not to notice. I might even give a comforting smile to let them know it’s alright. You know what? It’s not though… but it’s not by their doing. This will do what I want, namely, to break their gaze.
Mercifully, they won’t notice that I’m fighting to suppress the tears behind my highly tinted sunglasses. They won’t know that I demand of myself to hold it in — as much as possible — until Ryan and I are in the van. Not until we are heading home and no one is paying attention Then, and only then, will I allow the deep anguish and despair to be released in what is always a stream of tears and uncontrollable heaving.