Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Views from a Hospital

I haven't much to add, today.

But I have been reminded that people are looking for updates on our boy.

There is substantial confusion, it seems. There is no uniformity of opinion as to why B. has got this rare disease. NEC afflicts 3-5% of premature babies, and the majority of those are 28 weeks gestation or younger. B. may be premature, but he was born at 34 gestation. And he has got it not once but twice. The best guess that our doctors have is that our boy has a severe milk allergy - unfortunately, this is not easily testable or provable.

So we are in a holding pattern, waiting for the end of the antibiotics, rejoicing that he (and his X-rays) are looking better, waiting for the scary part: reintroducing food. We are praying that this time his bowels will be able to handle it, and that "NEC" will fade from our vocabulary.

On Fatherhood

Today I was asked, again, what it felt like to be a father. I fumbled through an adequate answer, as I have each time before. Wonderful. Amazing. Defining. As good as I imagined, and better.

Here is what I should have said:

My dear interlocutor, fatherhood is the best of me. When I am apart from my son, I am shallowed, hollowed, and incomplete. My son is the centre of my small universe, and in his cot is where my heart lies; my home is his hospital room.

Dear friend, in fatherhood my love is not weakened or divided but trebled and quadrupled, beyond the paltry limits of how I thought I could love. The wreck that these difficult times should have made me has been filled up to overflowing with the grace of God, making me better than I am. I am a father, but not fully a father yet, and God is making me the father I could never be.

But, O inquisitor, at the same time this fatherhood is analogous to a child's experience of a petting zoo. He meets, greets, and pets the zoo's puppy, and goes home. Then after begging his parents to return, he goes back to the zoo, where he spends the day with 'his' puppy under the watchful eye of the zoo's proprietor. His family are on the rides or eating cotton candy, but he lives for that small dog. Sometimes the people running the zoo are impatient with him because he is underfoot constantly - sometimes they grant him more liberties because they know how he handles the pup. But no matter how much he feels like he 'owns' the dog, that small child will never be the owner until his parents break down and pay the exorbitant amount for which the zoo asks.

And in my case, I am still waiting for my Father to break down and give me that for which I so ardently yearn.

- V.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

A reminder of just how inexact the science and practice of medicine actually can be. At the same time we are eternally grateful for those who have studied and dedicated themselves to it.

What a beautiful description of fatherhood. I believe that God gives us an insight into how He sees us, and infinitely more so. Exhilerating and humbling at the same time.

Benedict is constantly in our prayers.