I recently heard a story about an elderly woman moving into an assisted living home. She was blind.
As one of the staff was wheeling her down the hall to her room he said, “I sure hope you like your new room.”
They stopped for a moment en route and she excitedly shouted, “I love it!”
The staff person said, “Ma’am, we’re not there yet.”
And she responded, “It doesn’t matter. I’ve already decided that I am going to love it. Whichever room it is will be just fine.”
How did she get an attitude like that?
Cause I sure could use one.
I don’t deal well with unknowns well. I don’t know what my life with Nathan is going to look like this year, when he starts school, when he hits puberty, when he’s an adult. But it would sure help to decide for today and for the future that I will have a good attitude somehow. That I will be creative and resourceful and make the most of things. That I will let my mind and heart marinate in the truth of God’s word so that I will have a good attitude like that that woman. That woman who was headed into the final stage of her life, her body not fully functioning and surrounded by strangers in a facility, not a home.
I have so far to go.
This Thursday Nathan goes back to the hospital for a urodynamics study. This study is designed to assess how his bladder and ureter are performing their job of storing and releasing urine. We’ve suspected something isn’t working correctly ever since he was a few months old. Between the kidney reflux, the underdeveloped (as in size of 25 week fetus) right kidney, the urinary tract infections if he’s not on a prophylactic antibiotics, the hydronephrosis (fluid in the kidneys), the tethered spinal cord, and the screaming fits and dry diapers, we have reason to suspect something is going on. (This is what it was like in the early days.)
This week I’ve been thinking lots about this upcoming urodynamics study. I’ve been waiting for him to be 18 months so that he is old enough to do the study for over a year now. At first I felt a lot of anxiety about not knowing what was going on in his little bladder and it was hard to wait. But now I’m having anxiety about doing the study and finding out something is wrong in there and we have to make more decisions about how to treat him medically.
Nathan’s urologist has led me to believe that we will walk away from this test knowing that either the pressures in his bladder are not working properly and we need to cath him every three hours so that he can comfortably void. Or, that his ureter is not properly formed and he will need surgery to correct it so that he can pee without refluxing urine back up into his kidneys causing more damage. Neither one is a good option. Neither one gives me have a good attitude. I don’t like the implications for Nathan, or me as his caregiver, if he needs to be cathed daily or if he needs another surgery.
But this week I actually had a hopeful thought. (Or maybe it was just wishful thinking.) It occurred to me that maybe we won’t walk away with either one of these options. After all, this kid has been a medical mystery from the beginning. He’s constantly surprising us. Maybe we will be pleasantly surprised this time. Maybe we’ll discover that he’s outgrown the kidney reflux that has been plaguing him, because that does happen to kids. And because God is God and able. What will I do if it’s good news? It will certainly be easier to have a good attitude if it is good news.
Whatever the outcome – whether I have to cath him, put him through another surgery, or if there’s nothing we can do – I know I want to have a good attitude.
So here comes a brave little boy and a battle-worn, yet eager, momma. Here we come back to the Dell Imaging Department on Thursday where we’ll probably both cry through the whole procedure and wait again for answers. Or not. And we’ll have the best attitude we can muster.
I can do all this through him who gives me strength.” -Philippians 4:13
My book, Beauty in Broken Dreams: A Hopeful Handbook for the Early Years as a Special Needs Parent, is now available on Amazon!
Also be sure to check out my list of Favorite Books on Disability!