Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Stories from the Work-Zone

A woman my age, in fact the person who is most responsible for me taking the step to become a single parent by choice, came into the office today.  She told me that she had scheduled a full medical check up, including a mamogram, and asked me if I had done that particularly uncomfortable procedure yet.  In fact, I recently had my breasts examined as part of my annual exam, and the surgeon only told me to return in one year; he advised me about weaning Raphaela, and said nothing about needing a mamogram at my 'advanced state.'  Thank G-d there is no history of cancer in our family, but it is times like these that I feel old per se, and have to remind myself that I have a one and half year old toddler, and that age is just a number representing chronology, not the person you are inside.


A woman who had been a client over ten years ago, returned for Chiropractic care this week.  As part of the re-evaluation routine, I asked her if anything of major or minor importance had happened in the last decade, vis a vis her health.  All of a sudden her face fell, and she said, "I thought you knew, my daughter A. committed suicide three years ago.  That's why I started running, and I am coming to you now for running injuries."  I immediately started crying, as much out of shock, but also coming from a sense of extreme empathy.  Very unprofessional of me, but I could not help myself.

It seems that since I gave birth, every event of the parent-child variety affects me in an intense and personal way, and at this point I cannot blame my reaction on pregnancy hormones.  A commercial on television that features a father pushing his son in a carriage brings me to happy tears; I love watching the fake birth scenes in dramas and remembering my own birth experience.  And when a woman tells me about the loss of her daughter, I have to stop myself from thinking about the anguish it must have caused, pain that I would not wish on anyone. It is un-natural for a parent to bury their child.


Several couples I have met through my clinic have special needs children, and amazingly, their marriage and family have withstood the pressure of the situation.  True, when they tell me stories about their teenager still in diapers, or the difficulties of their son or daughter getting a proper education, I almost want to tell them to stop talking, that I can't hear their stories because it makes me sad and uncomfortable.  Then I realize that I need to hear about their lives, so I can appreciate even more how blessed I am, and never take it for granted.


One of my clients works with a volunteer organization in Israel which places at-risk children in foster homes, and creates programs to help these boys and girls deal with the traumas of their young lives.  She told me today that she had put out the word that they needed essential supplies, like cribs and strollers and toys, and the generoisty of the response from the community was overwhelming;  she received more equipment than she could possibly use, or store.  Two of the children she placed this week suffered from Shaken Baby Syndrome, and the parents of these babies had been arrested.  When I asked her how she does this achingly difficult work every day, she answered, "I like to think of the Tikkun, because otherwise I could not get out of bed in the morning."

We must value and celebrate every day, all those small moments of perfect joy.

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