- Every 6 weeks Jack has an ophthalmology appointment to check on his optic nerve and make sure it hasn’t been damaged by excess cerebrospinal fluid.
- Every 4 weeks he goes to the oncology clinic for a check-up and chemotherapy infusion.
- Every 12 weeks the clinic appointment also involves a trip to the hospital for a spinal tap under anesthesia.
- Every 4 weeks he goes in for a nebulizer treatment to protect his lungs from pneumonia.
- He has blood drawn for labs every 2-4 weeks.
- There are weekly dressing and cap changes.
- Nightly flushes of the Broviac catheter.
- Pills three times per day…
There are also the normal appointments with his pediatrician and dentist and optometrist that happen at various intervals.
We need to add occupational and/or physical therapy in there. We need to add therapy for anxiety, too. Oh and we’ve been meaning to get a follow up from the neurologist.
Can’t forget about the random trips to the ER or stays in the hospital.
Add in school and homework. Add in my own appointments, pets, a house and a full time job. There is just not enough time – or energy – for everything.
There is no time to LIVE. And I can’t afford to quit my job or get a nanny. I’ve done the math many, many times. (And, frankly, sometimes my job is a break from all the rest of it.)
For our family, some of this ends when Jack’s cancer treatment does. If we’re lucky, Jack will be completely cured and nearly all of it will go away – cancer will be a distant memory. That’s what we’re hoping for.
But I know there are so many families out there who don’t have an end in sight to the demands of special needs. I don’t know how you do it, day after day and year after year, especially those of you who see this and say, “that’s nothing!” Maybe, like me, you just do it and then marvel at all you accomplished after the fact. Or maybe you don’t even think about it.
In any case, I bow down to all of you out there living with special needs who have gone before us and will keep on living this crazy-making life. I’m in awe of all you do.