Wednesday, May 1, 2013

The Ball-and-Chain of My Smart Phone

 He said to all of them, “Those who want to come with me must say no to the things they want, pick up their crosses every day, and follow me."
~ Luke 9:23, GW ~

"Out of Courtesy, Please Turn Off Your Phone," the sign at the dentist's office admonishes upon my arrival.  I know that I cannot adhere to the request.  I make certain that I explain my noncompliance to the hygenist, so she doesn't think I'm just being an obstinate patient.  A week later, the pediatrician sighs in disgust as I answer my mobile phone in the exam room.  I understand his reaction.  After all, he also has a sign on his office door, "Please Be Courteous And Turn Your Cell Phone Off!"  Yet, that hematologist who is essential to this ongoing pediatric appointment is finally calling me back.

For the past 13 years with a medically fragile child, I have carried the ball-and-chain of a mobile phone with me wherever I go.  This has become an essential tool for raising a boy whose chronic diagnosis can bring us to the crossroads of life and death at a moment's notice.  Like a volunteer EMT, my husband and I are on call every hour of every day.  

Being the mother, I am the first line of defense.  Despite the fact that I work full-time, my job allows for much more flexibility than my husband's.  I am also the one who takes the children to their myriad doctor appointments, dental appointments, emergency room visits and overnight hospital stays.  That makes me the triage and charge nurse of the household.

My husband can and does fill in during my absence, but frankly, he would rather not.  He is so overwhelmed with his work load at the office, while also wondering how he will ever earn enough to pay all of the looming medical bills.  I want to be sensitive to this, so I try not to ask for help unless there is no other way.

Alas, I stay chained to that darn phone.  When our son was little, we would be hunted down by the babysitter on that rare occasion out because of something as inconsequential to others as a bloody nose.  As he reached school age, I developed PTSD symptoms around seeing that glaring school district phone number Unknown 262-560-XXXX alerting me on my droid.  The reflexive reactions of my heart and my stomach have always surged as the phone rings and that number flashes.  "Hi, Barb.  I think you had better come get him.  They were doing this warm-up in gym and..."  It doesn't take much, or necessarily anything at all, for a child with severe hemophilia to start bleeding internally.

While I know the smart phone is a blessing, giving both our son and ourselves greater freedom, I hate always being tied to it.  I love that he can develop greater independence, riding his bike down busy streets, texting me that he has safely arrived once he is at his destination.  But I wish I could turn that cell phone off in the dentist's office.  I wish I wouldn't get that emergency phone call while I'm enjoying a rare minute away to get a haircut.

Despite the fact that others might view me as heroic or entitled to a break, there is still an incredible amount of selfishness inside of me.  I don't want to say "no" to myself.  I want to be carefree.  As my son's warrior mom, triage nurse, and own personal EMT, I will never be carefree.  My life will always be like walking through a mine field wondering when the next crisis will explode.  But rather than facing this challenge with the resolve of a good soldier who has been chosen for an involved special mission, I all too often wallow in discontent.

Because of my worldly nature, I am in constant pursuit of spiritual growth.  It is only in clinging to the Holy Spirit that I can develop the ability to surrender my will for God's.  Only through the eyes of Jesus can I see taking up my daily cross as the gift that it is.  The privilege of parenting my remarkable children can only be fully appreciated through a heavenly mindset.  The Lord alone gives me the ability to deny self and fix my eyes on something infinitely better that He has planned for me.  In the immediate term, it may not always seem better, but in view of eternity, it most certainly is.

I know that I am not the only parent who struggles with being held captive by a child's special needs.  I'm not certain that necessarily makes it better.  But I do know in love and wisdom, we can encourage one another to always do the right thing.

PRAY:  Father, not my will, but your will be done.

*Do you live in the State of Wisconsin and have a child whose emergency care you want to assure in your absence?  If so, please consider the Patient at Risk Program.  This innovative tool allows parents to make their child's information readily available to emergency medical personnel when a parent is off site.  This tool can be critical when seconds count!

Photo Image Courtesy of 123RF

1 comment:

  1. Oh, Wow! Can there be a cell phone noncompliance club? If so I want to sign up and carry a card explaining this! 11 years and counting... God is good in his mercy in allowing someone(s) the common grace and knowledge to develop a cell phone! Now if we could only pay the bill... ;-)
    Thank you for your honesty!