Living With Disease!
July 25th, 2022
I have spent some time recently reflecting on the past 51 years. One thing that hit me hard was the reality that if I was born in the 1930's like my father, I would be blind today. The reason why? I suffered two retinal detachments beginning at age 37 for unknown reasons and the second one occurring following a traumatic soccer ball to the head at age 47. Modern surgical ophthomological techniques allowed a highly competent retinal specialist to repair my vision to 20/20 both times. What a miracle in truth.
I distinctly remember how the curtain of darkness was dropping over my vision as my retina began to detach. Over a few hours, I had lost 70% of my vision. Quite frightening in truth. Then a period of reality set in as the new norm. My sporting life had changed over night. 44 years of soccer gone in an instant. No chance to try my bucket list adventures like skydiving. There was a period of mourning and that is life.
The new norm is the new reality and that is not alterable despite what I really wanted.
I think about this from the context of my seat as the physician. My surgeon looked at me and said that this is your new reality and I am sorry for it. He was caring and real. No BS about what is coming and what to expect. It was not his job to make the sadness or new norm go away. This is the truth of delivering medicine at the treatment level but also at the patient's emotional level.
It makes me think about how I deliver bad news to a patient. It needs to be real as children know when we are lying because they see the stress on the parents face and feel the profound energetic shift that occurs under this stress. Kids are very attuned to a parents energy and mood. They feel very off when a parent is not stable and grounded.
Therefore, my job has to be to help the parent ground themself as well as give the child real and loving truth. This recently happened with a child with new onset type 1 diabetes mellitus. He was quite sick upon presentation. It was clear what he had when I laid eyes on him and heard two key phrases: he is drinking a lot and he is urinating a lot. The mindset is immediately to provide rapid and effective care which my staff began while I took the parents into another room to discuss the reality as it appeared. This is the critical time needed for a parent to ground and be ready to provide this child with love and support during this really hard time. How the child hears the reality of their life is also key. Your body is acting in this way and we are going to help you turn this around. You are safe and protected at this point and my friends at X hospital are really awesome and ready to help you!!!!
The days and weeks that follow will be filled with why ME's and what do I do now. We all know what that feels like to some extent. This is the critical time to listen and support. You don't need to fix it for the child. No one could fix my ocular dilemma. This is just reality. Do not fall prey to being the parent that spoils the child over the coming years out of sadness. This is only going to compound the problem. What they need most is truth, love and normalized parenting.
Be the love that they need in the pain,