P.J.’s Journey: The “H” Words
From the time P.J. was six months old until he was nearly two, he had one ear infection after another. It was excruciating for A.J. and I to watch him suffer through these things, one after another. We felt so helpless. After almost 18 months, we were referred to an ear, nose, and throat doctor to determine whether or not he needed tubes inserted. Instead of scheduling P.J. for that surgery, though, he immediately contacted our dermatologist who had diagnosed P.J. a year earlier with a nevus sebaceous on his scalp (he had been born with this condition). Since sebaceous nevi can give rise to sebaceous carcinoma (malignancy), and the ENT did not like the appearance of it at that time, the attention quickly shifted from his ears to his head. Surgery to remove the nevus sebaceous was scheduled just prior to his second birthday. A biopsy was done and the results were clear. We were so relieved.
In 2005, on our first night back at home following Hurricane Katrina, P.J. suffered an appendicitis and once again our child was in surgery. Less than a year later, he was “under the knife” again to repair a broken nose. That was three surgeries for him by the age of 14. Josh, our youngest son, is now 12 and has had three surgeries as well. You’d think that by the time P.J. arrived at the burn center, we’d be pros at this! Here we are 37 days and six surgeries later and it hasn’t gotten any easier. It is HARD. It is HORRIBLE. It is HELLACIOUS. In fact, there are a lot of “H” words that describe what it’s like and how we feel… HELPLESS definitely comes to mind.
When you’re waiting for your child (or any loved one for that matter) to recover from an illness or incident, HELPLESSNESS becomes a way of life. When our kids were babies, it was especially trying because there were often times when we didn’t know what to do to make things better. Nothing we tried worked. I’m sure P.J. has been frustrated somewhat over his own helplessness right now. There are so many things he can’t do on his own and he can’t always communicate what he wants. Talking (even getting out just a few words) is very difficult for him and there are times when asking “yes” and “no” questions just doesn’t cut it. With his hands being bandaged, writing on a board is not much easier.
As each day passes, things get a little better. We are pleased with his progress and with his patience, although he has mentioned another “H” word a few times… HOME. It HURTS to have to tell him that home is a long way off, but we are HOPEFUL that he will continue to be strong and courageous, and we are HAPPY that God is answering so many of our prayers.
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