I got an email from Kaeden's home away from home yesterday. I had requested that they start giving him his allergy pills as he was all stuffed up and miserable throughout the weekend, and his pills did manage to offer him some relief. The email was simple, asking if he took pills or drops, but it hit me very hard.
See, my kid, from the time he entered this world, has had numerous medical issues. I'm not sure I understand, sometimes, why one individual is faced with so many challenges. When Kaeden was born he had trouble breathing, very shortly, but needed to be in an incubator none-the-less. When he was about 6 months old, he suffered his first bout of RSV. When he was 9 months old he experienced a seizure with fever which left him hospitalized for nearly a week. And thereafter, my little guy was coontinually in a battle with one ailment or another, his asthma and RSV serious issues which left us hospitalized for months every year. On one of these visits, my little baby actually had to be resuscitated to live.
The doctors offices were our second home, the medications they prescribed keeping him alive with worries about what the side effects could mean in the future. See, he wasn't just on a series of steroids, but series after series, well beyond the indicative amount. But, he was staying alive, taking his breathing treatments and nose cleans 4 times daily like the little trooper that he is. And then, suddenly, he started having major issues with his teeth, where surgery was required to fix them. Was this one of the side effects they couldn't predict from the use of medications? And his skin, so tender and itchy and covered in scales, exzema, was this another side effect? Or was my kid just one of the unlucky ones?
He had to have tubes in his ears from his numerous ear infections, he was one of the kids that actually got a bout of chicken pox from the vacciation, complete with fever and his little body full of dots. He was the kid you would see with tubes covering his little face as he walked, an oxygen tak dragging behind him, a requirement in order for him to breathe. And then, around the tender age of three, having withstood so much already, began his little, mini moments of behavior problems, first signaling to me that there was something deeper wrong with my son.
I had his hearing tested, I took him to a developmental center to see if he was on schedule developmentally. He was kicked out of day cares, and as a single working mom in school, I was the only one there to shoulder these burdens. My parents helped as much as they could, which was a lot, but they didn't live right next door. It was just me and my son.
As Kaeden's behavior issues got more serious, and he was shuffled from school to school, therapy to therapy,we were finally given a diagnosis of ADHD. He started taking ritalin, which helped, but not fully. Give or take another year of issues, and he was diagnosed with Autism. Give or take a few years, add allergies to the mix. Give or take a few years, add Oppositional Defiance Disorder, but not becuase they're convinced he has it, completely, but because it will allow him to have more services...so, I signed the papers...what's one more diagnosis in the life of this child's full account of diagnosis?
Recently, during a sportday at school, Kaeden was having trouble breathing. When I was told, I went into panic mode. I haven't witnessed him having issues with his asthma for 9 years now. The fear that settled in me struck me to the core. Nobody else can possibly understand this fear as I relived all those days in hospitals with my son hooked up to tubes and living in breathing tents. I'm still watching him very closely.
My son, asthma, allergies, ADHD, autism...all the A's. Add in a few more figures and it just seems like this boy of mine has been fighting from the start of his life. And a fighter he is...add another A for aggression. But is it any wonder? Look what this child has been subjected to in his short 15 years here on earth. Could any of us be where he is having withstood so many issues throuhout his short life?
When I give my son his medication, 6 pills in the morning, 4 at lunch, 4 at night, it alwyas pains me. As much as I know that it helps him to function, I'm still, after all these years having to pump him full of medication to help him survive. Just when does a kid get a break? And why, dear God, is one kid the focus of so many ailments? Because as strong as he is, some days it just takes one little email asking which kind of medicine, to send his mom off the deep end. Some days it just aches.