One of my all-time favorite songs was sung by Collin Raye. I quoted it on my wedding invitations: “All my roads have led me to this night, this love I share with you.” Rascal Flatts has a similar song, “God bless the broken road that led me straight to you.”
Ryan had his semi-annual checkup at Shriner’s Hospital today. I found out from the nurse that we’ve been going to Shriners for 10 years now, with our first visit on 4/7/98. Happy 10th anniversary. 🙂 Anyway, on the way there I was almost in a panic state because I was pretty sure the doctor was going to recommend surgery for Ryan’s hip dysplasia. I was worried because, aside from the logistical nightmare of trying to get a 13 year old in a body cast up and down a flight of stairs to our 2nd floor apartment, there’s the concept of rearranging our plans for summer camp, where he’d sleep (certainly not on the top bunk where he is now), and how on earth to handle toileting issues. But if his hip wasn’t stable and caused him any pain, then certainly, it’s what we’d have to do. We’d just figure out a way.
I started thinking about all the stuff we’ve had to do that we didn’t really want to do, but after we did it, it turns out that the experience served a purpose. I know my “girls in the attic”, my Muse, has a story in mind for me to write about autism after the years since Alex’s diagnosis. Ryan’s time at Shriners has its purpose too. He had his BIG surgery here when he was 3; we stayed at the hospital for a week. When the cast came off, we came back for two weeks while he took therapy and relearned how to walk. I spent a lot of time talking to the nurses and therapists and doctors and interns, and I realized that I really liked the people here. When I drove home with the windows open, the air smelled sweet and clean, unlke the air around Staten Island (permeated with the aroma of Fresh Kills landfill in summer). I know people in Philly who would laugh their butts off at that idea, but live within 10 miles of Fresh Kills and you’ll appreciate Center City. Eventually I realized I really liked it here, and when my marriage broke up, I knew where I wanted to go. It wasn’t fun at the time, but the experience served its purpose.
On the drive today I came to the conclusion that even if we have to go through surgery at this time in Ryan’s life, it might not be fun but if it’s what we have to do, we’ll do it, and I’ll trust that there’s a reason behind it. Maybe I’ll meet a therapist who has information I need, either for Ryan’s therapy or for a story I’ll be writing at the time. Maybe the time at home, taking care of him, will inspire me to do something, either writing or to help someone in need, or even to crochet something. (I’m overdue for a Project Linus donation.) Whatever it is that we have to do, I’m pretty darn sure that somewhere down the road it’ll make perfect sense, even if it wasn’t what we really wanted at the time.
As it turns out, we bought a six month reprieve. He’ll go for a CT scan in October and see the doctor again in November. I’m pretty sure we won’t be able to put it off much longer than that, but with any luck and God’s grace, we’ll be in a house by then, and the boys will have their own rooms and Ryan won’t be on a top bunk anymore. Best-case scenario, we can wait ’til next summer and plan our 2009 summer months accordingly. Whatever it is we need to do, we’ll get it done and trust that somewhere down the line it gives us something that we need, in one format or another. It’s all about keeping the faith.
Sometimes bad things happen and we wonder why. I haven’t yet had a bad experience that I didn’t eventually learn from. My car accident at 18; getting fired from JC Penney’s; the failure of my first marriage; every rejection letter and “this needs help” critique. You name it, it hurt like crazy at the time but it was meant to happen so I could be who I am now.