The girl was so upset on the day of infusion
a few weeks back
that I crumbled and sent an email to the paediatrician
asking for him to consider anti anxiety medication for Ivy.
I really wanted to ask him if he would consider it for the both of us
but I didn’t.
I need to find myself a doctor just quietly, I think.
He’d suggested it before and I had shut him down fairly quickly
because I wanted for Ivy to be able to learn coping strategies
and utilise her body’s natural defence mechanisms to her advantage.
Endorphins versus adrenaline and all that.
We tried, oh how we tried – visualisation, breathing, relaxation - everything
and I didn’t want to medicate my child in such a way that it might dampen her emotions
but on this day,
as she clung to my arm,
eyes large with fear
who am I to keep that option from her,
she’s just a little girl dealing with way more than anyone can imagine.
When I talked to her about it
“I always try to be brave but the ‘scared’ just takes over me”
and I understood that
so I asked.
no rush -
it could wait until our next appointment
and thought that we had dealt with this for so long already
that a few more weeks would be doable
those few weeks have been tense
and fairly miserable for the both of us
and I have found myself bargaining with a tiny seven year old
who is skilled in the art of negotiation -
“Please, Mum, please. Not today. Today I want to just swim or sit in the sun or play with the sisters and feel happy”.
“Okay Ivy, we can skip infusion today, so long as you agree to having it first thing tomorrow”
and she would nod,
her eyes wide with innocence and a knowing that I was just as non committal.
What is tomorrow in the eyes of a child -
the perpetual promise of a new day
where today becomes yesterday’s tomorrow
and then the next day
and the next
until we are suddenly at the tail end of the week
and I still have 2400 grams of blood product to infuse into a girl who can only tolerate 800 grams at a time.
It gets done, of course
but it’s awful.
I sent him the email
and then Ivy landed in the hospital a few days later
and when I saw him he said he would think it through
and have a plan for our visit
which is now just over a week away.
I have thought about it often -
the coming appointment
where I will feel as though I am conceding defeat somehow,
failing her in some way
but in the same breath feel astonishing relief that I can actually do something to help the girl get through this part of her life
where every needle seems to her as though it has death dripping from its core
and every procedure is figuratively (and on some nights literally) a kick in the face
(mine, not hers).
What can I say?
When a little body is frightened they can be incredibly strong
and some nights I have gone away with a black eye
or a bleeding lip
feeling for all the world as though those were my just desserts
and a small price to pay -
all things considered
and I never hold it against her.
It seems wrong that I am looking forward to it almost -
that I am hoping for a concoction to chemically alter how my daughter reacts to her environment
but I am
and that is the horrible truth.
I want to change her
partially to make this easier for her
but also to make it easier for me.
I hope he has something ready for her – a plan,
else I may not be able to entirely hold it together
and my resolve to continue with all of these needles