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Three years ago something happened to my son for 40 minutes. It was scarier than the time we Heimlich’d him for Thanksgiving (I never thanked Julie for calling that – and I should have – so Thank You Julie).

For three years we have made a decision for our son, and he has participated in it. It has been more than half his life. We have been consistent, insistent, and effective. We consulted with professionals, they could not give us a clear answer and so we took the most conservative route possible. We have, I will always believe, done the right thing.

Modern medicine insists that there is something wrong and that it has a diagnosis. Modern American medicine insists that to not know the name, to not identify it, is absolutely NOT to deny it’s existence. The assurance of the existence, even without proof, or a name, or a plan, is safer than the risk of identifying it as a fluke. Or an oddity.

There is a face my son makes at me, when he sees a strawberry or a banana. It is hope and despair at the same time. The knowing, and the giving over to the idea that some day it will be different. Maybe.

Or that he will just understand why.

Today he and I went to the doctor. We talked some, we tested some, and I stopped looking for the explanation I want and will never be granted. I looked instead for the next right thing.

Tomorrow. With a calm face and a racing heart I will begin to reintroduce the foods that he has not had in years. In season, crisp and sweet. As he wants to try them.

I can be both excited and afraid at the same time.

I hope to be both.

Years ago a friend of mine casually made a joke about me being overprotective. The easy joke that comes when everybody in the room knows that it is true and, for whatever reason, it is pointed out in the hopes of toning down the behavior some.

The thing was that I didn’t know it. In fact, had you asked the moment before he said it, I would have said that I was being kind, and exceptionally laid back about things given the circumstances.

With some distance I know that we were both right.

I think my husband broke his hand on our third date. It looked like he did it at the time, it was sore in a way (and for a length of time) that implied he had done some real damage, it aches when the weather is changing. His experience of it was absolutely minimal. Never checked it out, rarely complained, barely modified his actions. I still think he broke his hand.

Today I took my son to the doctor to check out the following symptoms:
1. Approximately 15% increase in emotional fragility
2. Two casual mentions of a sore throat
3. His runny nose that was running perfectly in line with blooming trees and my own runny nose, itchy eyes, and generally allergic behavior.

The nurse added:
4. 99.5 temp

With a 5.5 year old son, most people would not be going to the doctor for such a vague and minimal list of symptoms. I had two pieces of secret information in my back pocket: 1, the daughter of a friend recently had nearly silent strep so it was on my radar, and 2, Jeff had strep last year and it looked about like this until it looked like OH MY HOLY G-D!!!!! strep.

He was checked out and it is either strep or a sinus infection, but no doubt at all that he’s got a touch of something.

In health things I absolutely have a touch of over protective, I also am generally pessimistic about the outcomes of big stuff. Still, when the mom of a 5.5 year old brings him in for essentially being A Tool — she’s usually right.