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The Good, The Bad and The Pointlessly Angry

Things to do in the ER, Pen and Ink

<<There’s more blood again,>> Thing1 texted. And suddenly I was trying not to cry at the country store.

 I had left the house about 9 to work because our internet sucks on the weekend. Thing1 had been sleeping, the Big Guy was still in bed on the iPad, and Thing2 had been watching TV when I left.

The country store’s round table had been crowded with a few farmers and the family of one of the store’s teenaged employees discussing frustration with regulations on moving firewood from the NY border 3 miles away to VT and then moved on to haying and who needs new layers this spring taking me out of my troubles for the moment. The others left for chores, and I got online to handle support tickets.

Nothing is working. Not a second, drastic change in diet. Not any of the four pills or the biweekly injection. The four month “acute” flareup that initially responded to in-patient treatment has fully regrouped.

But giving up is not an option, so Sunday after work, we went shopping for food for the doctor’s recommended diet. Thing1 insisted on making the first recipe. As he mixed the gluten and sugar-blueberry muffins, symptoms forced him to take breaks. When the muffins were in the oven he casually told me that he had lost over 10 pounds this weekend, and I could see he wanted to cry — and didn’t want to as well.

Knowing from experience that the ER would only give him IV fluids and a referral and that we had to wait to call the doctor until Monday, I gave him a hug and kiss goodnight as he headed up to his room. His groans of pain echoed down the stairwell as he got into bed, and I felt like kicking something.

“He’s a good guy,” I whispered angrily as I got into bed.

“He is,” The Big Guy murmured.

“Why am I so angry?” I asked.

“I don’t know,” Chris answered in a tone that told me he was just as frustrated.

“He’s done everything right,” I said.

He has. He has educated himself and taken responsibility for his diet. He’s taken every prescription as instructed. He’s kept up with his school and work responsibilities and still retained the kind, affable demeanor that defines him for us.

“I don’t even know who to be angry at,” I said as I punched the pillow into a comfortable shape. I set the alarm on my phone and, knowing if I even glanced at a single social media app, I would get even angrier, put it facedown on the nightstand.

I’m not religious at all, so I don’t get angry at a creator or even at the force. As I tried to force sleep to come, however I tried to think who there was I could blame. Had I had too many Diet Cokes before I was pregnant? Had Chris ‘inhaled’ when his sperm was forming?

I got angry at him and then at myself for all the things we could have done to cause this and then stopped. What did it matter?

There’s a part of me that wants to believe that being good creates more good that will ultimately find its way back to you, hopefully in this lifetime. I’m deeply flawed, but Thing1’s only flaws are youth and inexperience, and they haven’t had enough time to send anything out into the universe.

It’s easy to lie in the dark, believing some cosmic force is out there punishing him for my mistakes, but it changes nothing. Every moment spend raging at the fates in the ceiling will only make it harder to stop hitting the snooze button in six hours, and he’ll still be sick in the morning.

So Sunday night I made my choice. I forced my eyes closed and turned over on my side with the blankets high enough to block out sleep-stealing anger and frustration.

Monday morning, I called the doctor. We still don’t have the right answer, but banishing last night’s anger — even if I have to do it again tonight — makes it easier to remember that not having control over the situation doesn’t mean we’re completely helpless to help him unless we start to believe we are.