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10/05/05 11:25:25 - The Best Policy

One of the dangers of a bone marrow transplant is the risk of infection. As we’re destroying Aren’s immune system, it makes it even more difficult for him to fight off infection than it was before. So every Wednesday, in an attempt to catch any infections before they get serious, the nurses take a throat culture, a urine sample and a rectal swab. Today is the first day that he’s actually had to do any of this.
Aren has been a trooper throughout the process so far. Just this morning, he asked if he could tell me something. After I said that of course, he could tell me anything, he simply stated, “My chemo is cool.” But all this was before the rectal swab.

It’s particularly distressing to him because he’s the kid who will not let anyone other than me or MaryBeth even see his underwear. The throat swab and urine sample were fine (they just had MaryBeth collect the urine sample), but when they told him to pull down his pants as they pulled out the very long Q-tip that they were going to use, to collect any bacteria from his… well, you know… he flipped out. For the first time since he’s been in the hospital, he refused. He was so distraught. Kicking, screaming, crying, the works. MaryBeth kept trying to tell him that it wouldn’t hurt, but to no avail. It was a painful scene, made more pathetic by the fact that he’s been so good throughout this whole ordeal.

Finally, MaryBeth grabbed his face. “Aren, look at me.” Aren finally made eye contact through his tears, above his protruding lower lip. “Aren, I have told you the truth ever since we’ve been here. I’ve told you everything that would happen, and I haven’t lied to you once. I’m telling you, this won’t hurt”.

Aren, with tears still in his eyes, gave MaryBeth a hug, rolled over and let the nurses run the tests.

After having had children for nearly six years (two for nearly three of those years), I understand the temptation and even the need to occasionally be not quite completely honest with your kids. The problem is that kids are smart. They remember. Distrust between child and parent is as damaging to a relationship as an infection is to a body. Every time we lie to our child, we knock out a bit of that immune system that inoculates him against suspicion, leaving him more susceptible to doubt. If the doubt grows too much, what will remain of the confidence they should have in us? Once that bond is damaged, it’s even harder to recover than our physical health. And there are no operations or chemotherapy or transplants that can fix a broken relationship.


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flemmanog wrote:
Rick - Have you ever thought about putting all these commentaries together in a book? I would buy it!
05/10 15:33:47

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