Hard Decisions as a Parent

22 02 2010

Three days last week, I went with Zack and Rainbow and their dad to the children’s hospital.

They, unsurprisingly, didn’t want to go.

There was screaming.

There were tears.

There was begging and pleading. “Please, please, PLEASE, Mom! It’s my body! Why can’t you let me decide? I don’t want to do this!”

I tried to answer back calmly.

I arranged for them to be given a priesthood blessing, if they wanted.

I gave lots of hugs.

I cried with them.

But I still took them.

I have recently discovered the burden of parenthood increases exponentially when one is required to make medical decisions–possibly life-altering medical decisions–for one’s children. One of the things that makes it so hard is that once their feet are set on this path, there is no knowing “What it could have been like.” That reality is lost forever, superseded by this new reality that, let’s face it, was forced upon them by their parents.

[Deep sigh.]

I wish I could tell the future.

Was it the right decision?

If the kids were choosing, the sacrifice of their personal comfort right now is too great. Hospitals? Needles? I.V. poles? Side effects?¬†Definitely not worth this nebulous you-won’t-break-as-many-bones future we’re holding up for them as a prize. Since breaking bones isn’t a given, it’s hard to weight the benefit of infusions against it. However, because in their cases broken bones aren’t simply possible–they’re probable–as a parent it becomes necessary to weigh those odds.

Dear Zack, I don’t want you becoming hunched over before you’re even a teenager because your spine is weak.

Sweet Rainbow, I don’t want you to have constant back pain at the tender age of six.

The medicine they were given in infusion form is supposed to help their bones become stronger by slowing the process of resorption. I really hope it works. I prayed a lot.

And I believe getting the infusions was a good choice.

The greatest difficulty¬†lay in causing them pain–two of my sweet children–when that’s the last thing I ever want to do, when I would take that pain upon myself in a second if it were possible.

Stick me with a hundred needles, and please make their bones stronger.

It doesn’t work that way, unfortunately.

They cried and screamed at the hospital. (I cried, too.)

But they were brave.

They got it done.

I am so proud of them.

See you in three months, Hospital. We won’t miss you, but we’re glad you’re there to help us out.

Here’s hoping for a strong-boned future!