Friday, October 21, 2011

In the Spotlight (or Under a Microscope)

My oldest daughter has a broken bone in her hand.  This most likely is not headline news to any of my reader-friends.  We are past the surgery, bone graft and new scaphoid insertion and are now working our way through a six-month recovery. 

Yes, this was not a simple bone set and release.  This was a complicated procedure requiring over three hours of initial surgery, with a second surgery scheduled, to be determined.

As a family, that means that we have yet another medical issue to deal with.

I use the term crawling under my rock quite a bit.  Here is why.

When you are labeled "that family", you know the one that has so-called problems such as "two daughters with type 1 diabetes", the last thing you want to be dealing with is more inane conversation from people who do not understand anything more than a runny nose.  You are in a virtual spotlight just by way of living.

With her arm in a splint/sling and with an insulin pump prominently secured to her hip, that spotlight shines even more intensely.  Wherever we go, it almost seems as though we are stepping behind a podium for an impromptu media conference. 

"Miss, Miss!", says a reporter who is cleverly disguised like a parent we know.  "How on earth did you break that?  What do you mean a bone graft?  I have never heard of such a thing!"  

Another suspiciously similar parent-reporter steps up, "Can you tell us what happened?  Does anyone know about this?  So you have diabeat-us and a broken hand?  Aw, nothing goes well for you honey, does it?" 

"Another problem?" says a reporter who looks a lot like our mail lady.

If the door for unsolicited comments was only cracked, it is now wide, wide, wide open. I can only imagine what it is like for my oldest daughter when I am not there, helping to deflect some of the questions.

Being under the spotlight leads us to another crossing in our journey of life... do we tuck our tails and head for the big rock? 
No, because we are stronger than this.  If we are in the spotlight, we owe it to ourselves to shine.  We answer the pivotal question of I don't know how you do it with a shrug and smile.

As 'that family' we are responsible for showing our children (and apparently the rest of the world) that neither a complicated bone break nor type 1 diabetes is going to get us down.  It might make us pause for a bit, but we will recover and move on, stronger than ever. 

I owe this to my daughter, who much like her mother, looks for a place to hide when someone starts in with the questioning.  I need to teach her the survival skills that she will use for the rest of her life.  Sadly, a broken hand and type 1 diabetes will not be her only tribulations in life.  She will undoubtedly face even more challenges.  Life, while beautiful and wondrous, can also be filled with strife and struggle.  Perseverance and defiance (along with a quick wit) will become a few of her many tools in overcoming these obstacles.

After the 99th question today, I took my daughter aside and told her to invent a story (not a lie) but a good, stop-in-your-boots-and-stare-with-your-mouth-hanging-open kind of story.  After a moment of shock, she looked at me and giggled, "You mean to explain how I broke my hand after climbing the Grand Canyon?  Or how the alligator tried to bite me after I climbed out of our bathtub?  Or should I just say that if they think this is bad, then they should really see the other guy?"

Now that's my girl!  Give those reporters something to write about! 

If that doesn't work, the space under my rock is always available.

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