I remember why I ruled out pediatrics as a career choice 6 years ago.
I can't stand sick kids.
Not that I have anything against them. Just that, in my primitive, simple mind, kids aren't supposed to be sick. They're supposed to be cheeky, playful, noisy, bouncy. Poo poo and pee pee. Not sick.
I have this 5 year old with a humongous sellar tumour. Surgery last week; they were unable to save the pituitary stalk, nor the optic nerve. He's blind now. Having trouble adapting; crying in bed, whining, screaming. I don't blame him. A lifetime of visual stimuli, all gone. At so young an age. He'll never see the colours of a rainbow. His dog's face. People. The gaze of his wife. The sensuous form of a lover. His baby. Trees. The ocean. Instead, total darkness.
I pray he regains his vision. Yet, unless he defies the laws of anatomy and physiology, I know he never will.
Then, I saw a 7 year old girl the other day, with severe mental retardation, wheelchair bound, blind. Has a tracheostomy and on a portable ventilator for recurrent pneumonias. Can't eat, so she has a percutaneous gastronomy feeding tube. Recurrent pressure sore.
Aside from an occasional smile, perhaps random, she doesn't interact with the environment. Or her family. Has been like this since birth.
My emotions and mind were in turmoil. May the heavens forgive me for saying this: If I was her I wouldn't want to live. If I were her parents, I'd pull the plug. Not drag it for decades, bankrupting the family. Because this is existing, not living. Terri Schiavo comes to mind.
I respect her parents for their undying love and dedication, and for their strength, and not taking the cowardly shortcut that I am thinking. Because they're infinitely stronger than I will ever be.
But for me, life is meant to be lived. Not merely to exist.
On a different note: Thanks for the words of encouragement regarding my earlier post. I'm just going through a tough time right now having to deal with some interpersonal issues. Appreciate the words and prayers.