Monday, December 20, 2010

I Take My Chances

Yesterday I decided to drink less and workout a helluva lot more. It wasn't a new year's resolution, but just something I had to do for myself. On top of that I had decided a few weeks ago, after coming up from the bottom, to quit feeling sorry for myself. Boohoo, I have a preemie baby who requires food through a tube in his stomach, three different kinds of therapists a week, a million fucking doctor appointments. I told myself to shut the hell up, suck it up, Holzhauser, at least he's healthy and he's normal.

Then we went to the neurologist this morning for a normal appointment. Mindy and I were happy and laughing; Cyrus was too. First a resident met with us, and we bragged about how awesome our son was. He said Cyrus looked much better than the last time he saw him ( Seizing in the NICU) 5 months ago.

Then the attending came in and played with our little man. He turned to us, with no warning, and started saying how small his head is. How your brain grows the most in the first 6 months of your life. How he was nearly 6 months corrected age and his head was at about 4. How he had these reflexes that should've gone away by now. His brain will never be the right size.

And then it went something like, "He may not walk until he's 3 or 4, it's hard to say." Mindy and I were sitting beside each other looking at the nurse, the doctor, and the resident. Their faces were solemn and stiff. I didn't look at Mindy because I didn't wanna lose it right then. Cyrus played on Mindy's lap. Then all I heard was " ."

They all left the room. Mindy and I didn't speak for while. We were both on the verge. We packed up our little man and his things and then the tears came. We waited, composed ourselves, and went out of the room. Mindy told me to take Cyrus to the car while she made his next appointment. I pushed the stroller into the hall and saw, from behind, a seven year old boy walking stiff-legged with his parents on either side, his head tilted to the left. And through the doors to the lobby I saw woman who could've been my age in a wheel-chair, sitting at awkward angles, her mouth gaping open. It hit me then, there was a reason why we had appointments there; the same reason those other people had appointments.

I pushed harder now, trying to get outside, trying not to let the people see me. Mindy and I cried in the parking lot. I'd never heard my wife cry like that. It was the cry of grief, of losing someone.

We tried to talk about what we'd heard. I mean, was it really new information? Didn't we know months ago that this was probably going to happen? Had we really slipped into happiness under a fucking cloud of normality?

And all you assholes out there let us. Didn't you? You saw something was wrong, was off, but you didn't have the heart to tell us, right? Because you saw that we were finally happy, that we were so proud of him. That we were seeing through that fucking parent lens you all talked about.

Or maybe you didn't know. Maybe, like us, you let the optimism blind you. Maybe his cute smile we all translated into a handsome, intelligent young man. Maybe we all saw him running and playing like a normal fucking kid.

But here's the reality again: Cyrus can't eat through his mouth. Cyrus can't roll over. Cyrus was born 3.5 months early. Cyrus had seizures and surgeries before he was technically 40 weeks of gestation. The chances of him surviving were less than 50%. The chances of him being "normal" were 33%.

Just days ago I was smiling again and counting down the days until 2010 had gone away. This year we lost our 2 cats, our son was born and all this shit happened, Mindy's grandpa is critically sick, my boss and friend died, a couple friend of our has suffered through their own baby issues and deaths in the family, Mindy's mom is going through a divorce, we have been trying to help a teenager friend of ours (she's lived with us 2 months this year)...pick up where her mom left off, I've had to deal with my 80 students per semester, I've tried to play rugby and be a real part of the team, Mindy tries to fit in at work.

I thought that in a few days it would all be over, that next year we'd all have a fresh start. A new chance.


  1. You should be proud of him, and you will continue to be proud of him. Your dreams will adjust, just as they do for most parents. You certainly will learn new and different skills, and sometimes, like today, it will simply suck rotten eggs. You are right, the odds are that Cy will have developmental issues, but no one knows what the future will hold, for him, or any other baby. The unknown of disability is scary, but heck, worse case scenario, you can just imagine him in 20 years, pouring alcohol down that tube, and being the envy of every other 21 year old. (At least that is the case with my nearly 21 year old who only drinks wine and margaritas by mouth, but far prefers to pour. THe kid doesn't walk, talk, or follow many directions, but like most other nearly 21 year olds, loves a good drink and buzz now and then.)

    Carrie Lucas

  2. Well said, Carrie. And Ho, yes, those realities are difficult to grasp I am sure, but there is never anything wrong with being optimistic. Especially when wanting the best for those you love. 2010 wasn't easy, that's for sure. But damnit, you three trucked along, did what you had to do, and were able to start a new year TOGETHER.