14 September 2008

Ann Arbor, Revisited

Today I was back in the town that I called home during college. Fall is nostalgia for me, what can I say? I think it's something in the leaves, the way the air feels when it's at the perfect temperature for jeans and a sweatshirt, the remembrance of new lunch boxes and squeaky shoes that came with September.

I reminisced about the differences of what Ann Arbor meant to me today, versus what it meant to me a million years ago. Instead of a backpack slung over one shoulder, it was a diaper bag. Instead of the butterflies in my belly coming from cute football players with great eyes, or professors that had a sixth sense of who did and didn't read the assigned 70 chapters and proceeded to call on those that didn't, the butterflies today were swirling about, nervous over what one more physician was going to say about Little A.

I wasn't looking for a spot to tie up my bike, but rather a spot to park my car in the giganto-plex parking structure, I wasn't fishing for the notes that I took the last time I was in class, but rather the medical reports and insurance information and copies of this and that and things I found on the internet. (Damn you, internets).

We found our way, Little A and I. We even got there on time, no grace period needed. We sat through the endless medical history questions from the nurse, knowing I'd get to repeat them all to the doctor again in twenty minutes. "Did you not get the records that were sent"? I always ask this question, just for fun. FYI: typically, the response is a blank stare, an occasional fumble of a chart. No, they've never reviewed jack prior to walking into the room, similar to my test-taking techniques of yesteryear.

Today our physician presented a choice to me: Little A could have surgery soon, or we could wait one more year. There is a 65% chance that she could grow correctly and that in that time, with her medication, heal herself, to speak. Or I could opt to heal her medically, sooner rather than later.

After her exam, during which she screamed bloody murder and "No" while they were prodding her, I asked about ten questions, and ran my fingers through my hair, tapped my feet, and rubbed my hands along my neck. "What would you do"?, I asked. Of course, I knew he would tell me that he couldn't offer that type of advice.

"Maybe this is something to talk over with her Da-" He stopped, mid-word, glancing at the empty ring finger, his eyes then noticing the very blank portions of her records. "It's just us. This is the decision-making team. Scary, huh"? I laughed. "It's OK, we're fine". And for the very first time, I meant those words.

"What do you think, Little A?" I tilted my head to hers. "Ummmm, no." I looked at him and smiled.

"I'm going to wait. I am. I think I'm going to wait and see what happens". I said it more as a question, looking for his affirmation.

"Great, I'll write you a prescription for the next year and you can call if she regresses". He smiled warmly as he shut her folder and asked the nurse to go and get the prescription form.

"You're doing fine, you know", he said as he squeezed my hand before walking out.

And suddenly, one day in Ann Arbor, I learned more about myself than in the culmination of so many others.

And out we walked, bag banging against my shoulder, air smelling like football season, sun feeling like school bus rides, life feeling, once again, like a beginning with endless possibilities.

34 comments:

MP said...

Wow...written by a true grown up! You are doing OK!

Blog Antagonist said...

I can't imagine how hard it is to be a single parent when things go right. But it must be infinitely harder when there's a decision like that to be made. You did a great job and you have my undying admiration and respect. Little A is a very lucky little girl.

Her Grace said...

Finally, you believe what the rest of us have known all along. You really are doing ok. I'm so glad surgery can wait, and maybe not have to happen at all!

Kellan said...

Once again, I love this post. You inspire me -

Seattle Mamacita said...

interesting the change in perspective now that you're back on campus with little A. And surgery! that is tough decision to make I can see why Little A was quick to say "no way."
this post makes me miss ann arbor the few times I've been back i always walk by my old dorm south quad to the back door where I literally bashed into my husband and I think how different we are now and how we've stayed the same all at once...

Christine said...

Beautiful.

I forgot you were from Michigan...have I told you I am as well? Reading your post does make me long for an autumn afternoon walk...

bubandpie said...

Closure can be a wonderful thing sometimes, can't it?

Loralee Choate said...

It's always interesting to go back to a place and realize how much you've grown. You're right...You will be ok. She's very lucky to have you, you know. (And of course, vice versa)

Amanda said...

Atta girls!

jeanie said...

I know that "we are the decision making team" moment. It is both scary and empowering - but you make the right decisions for your child whether there is an advisor on board or not.

slouching mom said...

I think that doctor was so right -- you are doing marvelously.

Mamma said...

I'm so glad you got that support. As parents we all need it. As a parent doing it alone--even more so.

You are wonderful.

carrie said...

That was probably his way of saying "this is what I would do" without actually saying it outloud.

You can do anything. Anything.

justabeachkat said...

You go girl!

Great post.

Hugs!
Kat

Ally said...

I think I would have asked the doc to put it in writing. "You're doing okay." Then I could post it to the fridge and look at it once in a while. :)

Poor Little A, though. That appointment sounded like a trying time for both of you.

flutter said...

You're more than ok, more than fine.

painted maypole said...

good for you!

(and I grew up in Michigan!)

BetteJo said...

Doesn't sound like that decision making team is scary at all. :)

Well done!

InTheFastLane said...

You ARE doing ok.
And I am glad surgery can wait.

Becc said...

...just letting you know I'm here...

Anonymous said...

She is half of you, and if that means she has half your strength and courage, she has more than enough.

Thoughts and prayers. It has worked before. She is always in mine.

T with Honey said...

Surgery can wait. That must be a huge relief.

And that doctor seems wonderful. Although he didn't have to be so kind and you definitely don't need anyone else's approval as a parent it sure feels nice to have someone tell you that you're doing fine.

Oh, The Joys said...

This made me smile. (Thanks for that!)

bgirl said...

it is so evident how incredibly loving, kind, and thorough you are. you make a fabulous committee. cheering you and little A on.

deb said...

"It's OK, we're fine". And for the very first time, I meant those words.


I'm glad.

Kerry said...

I just love your perspective on the happenings in your life. Even though our situations are completely different I found myself telling myself "you're doing just fine" with all that is going on with our oldest. Thanks for sharing.

Christine said...

you are a great team, jenn.

another gorgeous piece of writing. it touched my heart.

Single Mom Seeking said...

Just five words:
You are a super mama.

Little A. is blessed to have you.

Amy York said...

Hope the next year is healing for her... You are doing a fantastic job!

Christy said...

I cannot know exactly how you feel, but as a mother I can still kinda of relate. You show amazing strength, a strength that your daughter will appreciate and love. I hope that the prescription works.

crazymumma said...

I feel like an ass. But I do not know what her condition is.

Jen M. said...

You are such a strong woman! You're doing awesome!

Family Adventure said...

What a fantastic post! Your strength and her determination.

I went back and read the dime story and the post you wrote for her birthday. I was in tears.

I am so glad I found you!

And here's to Little A growing and healing without the need for medical intervention!!

- Heidi :)

PDX Mama said...

Beautiful.

I often feel similar feelings whenever I'm in ANY college town. Makes me a bit envious of those days, seeing those students strolling through the campus or at practice on a field. Need to get my hands on that Irish National Lottery so I can fulfill my dream of being a full time college student!

I hope she is able to heal herself. That would be so wonderful.