© 2009 Marica

042 – A list of ists

My son Damian has had appointments with lots of ‘ists’ this year …

Endocrinologist.

Immunologist.

Dermatologist.

Audiologist.

Ear, Nose and Throat Specialist.

Phlebotomists.

Dentist.

Thank goodness we didn’t need to visit all the other ‘ists’ that have been a part of Damian’s health care regime…

Ophthalmologist.

Optometrist.

Neurologist.

Oncologist.

Hematologist.

Radiologist.

Gastroenterologist.

Geneticist.

And these are the ones I can remember.

Then off course we have the regular visits to the non-ist general practitioner.

I was reminded of all this today when we were at the hospital having a follow-up appointment to check Damian’s new hearing aids. As I looked at the bulging file the audiologist was writing notes in (it was a good 5cm thick) I noticed it said on the cover, Volume 3!

I have been at every appointment. I have sat there waiting for the ‘ists’ when they have been behind schedule or late to arrive. I have put up with their rudeness and grumpy demeanour. I have breathed a sigh of relief when one of them was approachable or took the time to interact with Damian as opposed to talking about him as though he wasn’t there. I have sat there petrified waiting for results. I have listened. I have asked questions. I have taken notes. I have followed instructions. I have been my son’s voice. I have fought for his rights. I have done everything I could to be there for my son and support him. Our mother-son journey has not been an easy one. Damian is completely reliant on me for everything and at times this responsibility is overwhelming.

This has been a hard fought battle to get to where we are today – on his part and on mine. The joy is, he is still alive.

As we walked from the car park (through the new hospital building) to get to the old Clinical Services Building, where Damian had his appointment today, I was struck by the image before me. I had to stop and  take a photo.

I gave birth to Damian in the grey tower block.

I walked up the front steps of the old hospital (the facade of the entry to the old hospital has been preserved and now sits in this open courtyard area) and carried him through those arches to the Emergency Department on the day he was diagnosed with leukaemia.

We spent many days and nights in Ward 18, the Children’s Ward (the second storey of the building on the far right) – chemotherapy, radiotherapy, being in isolation because he was immunosuppressed, blood transfusions, tests, observation, occupational therapy, seizures. Unequivocally these have been the scariest times of my life. Watching your child suffer is awful. You feel so incredibly helpless.

And finally, the building on the far left with the multi-coloured glass is the new home of the oncology unit which Damian has also spent time in.

This picture tells a story about my son and his 26 year journey to be able to stay alive and live life.

All I can say is thank god for the ‘ists’. It could have been quite a different story I’d be telling you if it wasn’t for them. Thank you one and all.

Manifesto
28. Every day you will be tested.
37. Every day fight for what’s worth fighting for. Pick your battles.
44. Every day remember how far you have come.

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