Wednesday, 17 July 2013

The Power of Memories

As a general rule, I try to not complain about the various tests and procedures that Max needs to undergo. At times, my heart literally aches for him, but the only thing I can do is acknowledge the pain and keep moving forward. Often, people will hear me say "ouch", that means my heart is hurting. But then I move on.

Earlier last week, I received a letter from the hospital with a date for Max's next round of Botox. After reading the letter, I felt physically ill.

I'm sure I've mentioned it before, but when Max got sick, I made a pact that I would always be with him for every medical procedure. When he's distressed, he wants his mother, and why would I deny him of that? Regardless of my emotions, my little boy needs me. My motto is 'if he has to go through in, then (metaphorically) I do too'.

I've been there through countless blood tests, cannulations and multiple procedures where I've had to hold him down. I hate it. The blood taking is getting harder as he gets older, he flips out the second he see's a tourniquet.

These days I'm an expert in restraining him, but it never gets physically or emotionally easier. The infuriating part, is when the doctor/nurse tells me I'm not restraining him properly. Max is different to what they're accustomed too, he needs his left hand held and both of his feet (his feet are especially adept at causing chaos). I've often been 'told off' for not holding his right arm properly. That's when I gritt my teach and inform them, he has hemiplegia in that arm and his feet are far more likely to cause damage. Cue awkward silence.

I look back to the time when Max had his first Immunisations. It was before the stroke and I was a quivering mess by the thought of him being subjected to pain. When he cried, I cried. Nowadays, I feel pretty silly about that and Immunizations are a breeze.

When Max had his first round of Botox, he didn't have a general anaesthetic, he had the 'happy gas'. The only problem I could foresee was being able to keep the mask on his face because I knew he would hate it.

Only one parent was allowed to stay with him during the procedure and that person was me. As predicted, he hated the mask, he sobbed and tearfully repeated the word 'car'. His little voice was muffled by the mask and the gas. Poor little guy just wanted to get in the car and go home.

It was at that moment, my mind flashed back to the day of the stroke. On that day, he had an oxygen mask on, when they drilled into his shin, he let out a bloodcurdling scream which was muffled by the mask. They told me he was unconscious, they told me he wouldn't feel it. I was all by myself. It's the one moment which continues to haunt me from time to time.

The day he had Botox was the first time since that very first day, where he'd worn a face mask. Those muffled sobs of 'car' took me back to the moment of that bloodcurdling scream. The exact point in time, I felt emotional pain unlike anything I'd ever experienced before.

My legs started shaking, I held onto the trolley so I didn't collapse. I took a few deep breathes and reminded myself of the task at hand. I stroked Max's hair and sung to him until the gas took effect and he relaxed. The procedure was over in a matter of minutes.

That's the reason I'm dreading Botox round 2. Such a small thing which evokes such a powerful reaction. I'm still going to be the one who stays with Max during his next treatment. I know that avoiding painful experiences only increases the power they hold over you. So I'll take a deep breath, go into that treatment room and remind myself that we never truly know how strong we are, until being strong is the only choice we've got.

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