Pushing Through the Pain

11 Nov

The life of a parent is full of irony. Pregnant moms wishing for a boy end up giving birth to a girl who grows up to be on the cheerleading squad, homecoming queen, and only wears pink. Like anything in life, it takes time to adjust but you move on and accept it. With me irony is not so funny.

Before I was laid-off from the parenting paper our columnist Meg Zwieback (my personal voice of reason) wrote about what to do when your child has to have a “medical procedure” done. She recommended talking about it, not  anything, and doing a rehearsal of the event. Zwieback wrote that if your child needs to be restrained you should talk about it ahead of time.

Restrained, I thought was an odd word. But her description made sense and in the end I thought the story might do parents some good. I had no idea that I would be the one being calmed by Zwieback’s words only two months later.

My daughter has had a small tumor on her shoulder for 6 months. It is not cancerous but it had to come out. A simple procedure; she would not have to be knocked out and it would only take 15 to 20 minutes. I took Zwieback’s advice and talked with my daughter about it, she was scared of the shot but not the tumor removal.

As a mother there is only one sound that really gets me: screams of true pain. Not “I scraped my knee” crying, but “there is a bone poking through my broken arm” scream. I have never been one to sit through the end of skateboard videos when people are falling and breaking bones, and while Jackass can be amusing I can’t watch the painful stuff. (Yes, I am a pussy!)

Struggling, I lied down with my daughter, pinned her legs through mine in a leg lock and held down her head to face me (away from the scalpel). I was prepared for the tears, and was a little prepared for holding her down, but the screams of when it “hurt”were too much. This is something I never wanted to do again. Because I was making her look into my eyes, I had to hold back my own tears. No one wants someone they love to hurt, especially a child. But somethings have to be done, and yes somethings hurt.

After it was over we were both exhausted.

When I was reflecting on this with another parent, she shared  a similar story. I began to realize, while I only have a few friends with children, this scenario is something that happens more than you would think. A bad trip to the dentist, a broken arm, or as with me when I was younger the dreaded “eye drop.” It is all in the words that are said during and after the procedure, no matter how horrific, that make a lasting impression.

I recall after having a surgery as an adult, it wasn’t the pain that lingered but the reactions and comments by others. And with my daughter it was the comments by the staff and doctor that helped ease the emotional pain of having her tumor removed. I was eased by the doctor commenting that “mommy was really brave, too” and that Zwieback’s article was helping parents like me prepare for the worst.

I guess irony does have its place, even if it hurts.

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