(Charlie 18 months, in the tub at Canuck Place)
Last Saturday I walked to a friends place for dinner. Upon leaving my house I grabbed my door handle and pushed a button to call the elevator…once inside the elevator I pushed another button to get to the main floor. I then walked towards the front of my building and grabbed the door handle to exit my building. On my walk, I pressed one crosswalk button, in one of the ‘undesirable’ areas of downtown. I then obsessed about reaching into my bag for sanitizer, but couldn't help but imagine the germs multiplying in my purse as my hand blindly reached down, down, down, searching for the 'decontaminate' so I decided against it. When I arrived at my friends apartment building, I pushed four separate number keys on the front directory before I was buzzed into the building where I grabbed another door handle, pressed another elevator button to get in, and then another to get up to the apartment, where I immediately washed my hands. Germs. Germs. Germs.
This is how my brain thinks now. I obsess over germs. I am Jack Nicholson in “As Good As It Gets”. I am that weird lady with chaffed hands from scrubbing them so much. I give sick people dirty looks if they cough in my direction. If I get a tickle in my throat I go through my mental Rolodex of recent people and situations that may be to blame. It’s an exhausting obsession to have. Matt was sick for two weeks and I managed to keep Charlie healthy…it’s so rewarding to know that all of the effort I put into keeping her healthy, worked…but at the same time it causes me to be RELENTLESS in my quest to keep her that way! Day 7 into Matt’s sickness, and 3 days before I left for Hawaii, I was sitting in the living room with Charlie’s nurse when Charlie sneezed…I instantly started bawling…I had failed at my attempt to keep her healthy, I thought. But, the nurse calmed me down and told me not to worry yet and that it was probably nothing, and she was right. Now I find myself counting her sneezes and ‘allowing’ her a daily quota…any more than 4 and I’m officially allowed to lose it. I am constantly giving Matt grief over where he should kiss Charlie… “NO! Not on the face, FOREHEAD ONLY in the winter!” And, “No hand touching, grab by the wrist only!” Just crazy demands, or so it would seem to others…but this is the love of my life we’re talking about, and if a thoughtless kiss could steal her from me, well then it’s just not worth it. I’ll risk being/seeming ridiculous in exchange for a healthy Charlie, any day.
The kids that frequent/use Canuck Place are really spectacular…I overheard one little boy, about 8 years old, saying, “Dad, I thought that after my surgery I wouldn’t be able to use my power chair for like weeks, but like 5 days later, I was fine.” He said it like it was no big deal…all impressed with his speedy recovery…what kid should have to get used to surgeries and the healing process? If that was me I’d complain about the fact that I had to get surgery, the fact that I had to be on a wait list to get surgery, the fact that I hurt for ANY amount of time after, and I’d tell my HORRIBLE story for years to come. I also met a woman who’s 15 year old daughter was diagnosed with Juvenile Huntington's disease…her daughter was a gymnast who didn’t have any signs of Huntington's’s until 10 years of age….and now, at 15, she can barely move or talk... her dad suddenly started showing symptoms and died from the disease as well, before they knew that it was in their genetic make-up. Just so sad. Kids are so innocent and resilient…and it’s so humbling to spend time with these little hero’s. By day 9 I was trying to contain my tears whenever we had dinner with them, it just really put life into perspective for us. That, and the fact that I seriously couldn't help but feel honored to be able to spend time with these little troopers who are constantly putting what really matters to the test. By the time we left, begrudgingly, we were preparing ourselves to miss these kids we had just met, and hoping we’d see them again soon.
We’re home now, and Charlie is the healthiest she’s been in months…we’re seeing plenty of leg and arm action, as well as some long term sitting up action which hasn’t happened in at least 4 months. She’s just unbelievable, beating the odds at almost 19 months old. I love her more than I’ve ever loved anything, and she’s in this stage right now where it obvious she feels the same. What more could I ask for?