Friday, February 24, 2006

Isolation

I come to love these blogs that I read. There are so many interesting ones and I must confess that I typically limit mine to healthcare. I made my professional career transition to healthcare fourteen years ago after the birth of my son. It wasn’t really a career transition so much as much as the fact that I switched industries, to focus on healthcare. I work on the business side of healthcare as I like to call it, since it truth be told, I have an incredibly weak stomach. That is not to say that I would choose to work in direct contact with patients with a stronger stomach, because I would not.

As the mother of a Special Needs child, I am in a special group. Special, as in isolated. It’s not that I am treated differently or poorly because I am not. But at some point, you realize that your life is incredibly different.

Take for example, a typical neighborhood scenario. We moved into our last neighborhood when dear son was three. We made friends with the neighbors and socialized with them at various parties. It was a fun time and a time when everyone was decorating their new homes and having babies. Dear son was three so we fit right in. It didn’t seem to matter that he was in a wheelchair because I would simply take dear son out for his daily walk and walk with other mothers pushing their newborns in their strollers. At some point, the walks would stop, because the babies had grown and could now walk on their own. The scenario would be repeated year after year. I continued to walk dear son with the new mothers but eventually alone. By that time, most of the families were finished having their children and I was still raising dear son.

The parties began to change soon too. In very subtle ways. The parents of children who played sports together would inevitably get together and begin talking about the latest practice. This would lead to car pooling to get the kids to practice and eventually to other activities. It really never mattered what the commonality was, the fact that your child is disabled is never something where there is much common ground. How can they begin to understand being airlifted? To most of these parents, the fact that their child would need an x-ray after playing soccer, is a major medical crisis. Dear son has been airlifted three times over the last few years. Most people can not relate to that.

It also doesn’t matter if it’s at work or at home in a neighborhood. Most of what you experience as a parent, it not water cooler talk nor is it something others particularly care to know. That doesn’t mean it’s bad, it just the way it is. (As for support groups, please don't recommend them, they are not helpful.)

One of the places where I am most comfortable, is in a medical setting. 95% of my day is spent in some way caring for my dear son. So, the best part of these blogs is coming home. Reading healthcare blogs and especially physician blogs, give me some great perspective and well as some good reading. It is the one area where I feel like I belong. I remember being particularly excited the first time I read FatDoctor’s blog. I quickly e-mailed my friend who has a child with severe disabilities. I told her that it’s pretty cool reading her blog because it gives you an idea of what the docs are thinking when you go in for an office visit as well as a different perspective. She fell in love with them too.

So the point today is just to say thanks. It so exciting to read about everyone’s day. Even nicer is when different scenarios are presented as food for thought. I feel like I have gained so much from reading all of these blogs. I am definitely addicted.

3 comments:

Fat Doctor said...

Big wet smooches to ya.

zoe said...

I can relate to some of what you write. I too am the mother of a special needs son. Our situations are different but the emotions you write about hit very close to home.

Karen said...

Hi please also remember that whilst often we are in our little cliques most people are really welcoming when they understand the situation you are in they are usually just too scared or embarrased to ask! My neighbour who I'd in a similar situation to you always turned down invitations and I assumed she already had lots of friends and didn't need or want any more wheras she was concerned about access for the wheelchair and that was something we could have managed to get around together!
Love your blog stay cheerful and enjoy your son!

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