Monday, January 09, 2006

Can there be anything more harrowing than parenthood?

Not that I can figure.

The thing is, when my little brother and his wife brought Owen home from the hospital to start his life in the big bad outside world, the doctors and nurses told them to watch out because he seemed a little jaundiced. And then, after a couple of days, he had become even more so, and the pediatrician said that he better go back in the hospital. And it turns out that Owen, poor little baby, is a rather severe hemophiliac. Which is quite treatable. But that is poor solace.

My brother told me they cried, they felt guilty, and then they had to face it; a three-step process that no doubt will be repeated for the rest of their lives. And me, I just felt sick and all I could think of was Owen, and of something my sister wrote to me, about how becoming a parent changes your life not in the way you think, but more in that you become so very vulnerable just because your children are so vulnerable. I can only imagine, since I lay awake all night thinking about my brother and his suffering for his son, and worrying about Owen, who is so very little, so very vulnerable.

But, the first reaction in my family is to be stoic. When my brother called to tell me all of this, he sounded a bit hoarse, but his voice was steady.

"The doctor said he can never be a boxer," he said.

We laughed.

The Swedish word for the day is blödarsjuka. It means hemophilia.

- by Francis S.

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