Henry woke up two days ago with his eye swollen shut. It looked like a golf ball was under his eyelid. George stayed with Annabelle and I took him to the ER at Children’s. He puttered around in great spirits, held still to get his blood pressure taken and his heart listened to. It turned out to be a bug bite that swelled. I’ve never seen anything like it. But even knowing that, everytime I looked at him, my heart broke. To see your child in any kind of discomfort is so hard.
The hospital reminded me of many of the sick children I worked with for 9 years at a residential shelter in LA for children with AIDS. Flashes of memories kept coming up; a wrist as small as my thumb, singing to a child in the last stages who had lost mobility and could no longer see, holding a child as pain washed over her face, holding my hand over the heart of a child in the last stages who didn’t make it through the night.
And I watched Henry with his swollen eye pushing the tall metal tower on wheels for IV bags around the room, and I thought how lucky I am, how lucky we are. Is it random chance that decides which child will be healthy and which child will suffer? Or is it something else?
It’s too devastating to even think about.