Failure to parent

My son was born two years after my daughter. She was still undiagnosed, he seemed fine, at first. He nursed, although not that well, eat a bit, when pushed, and was growing. At eight months there were some seizures. As with his sister at that time, still undiagnosed.

At about a year old, the doctor proclaimed …

What we have is a failure to parent.

At least, that is what was heard. Loud and clear.


Gary Larson cartoon

Gary Larson cartoon

Of course, what she really said was …

What we have is a case of failure to thrive.

Is there a difference? Not to a parent, or more specifically (in my opinion) to a mother. I think this diagnosis hits the mom especially hard. It truly sounds like …

You are not able to get enough food into your child and s/he is failing to live. Of all things a mother should be able to do is to feed her progeny. And, we carefully choose our words. “Failure” as in what you are. “Thrive” as in live.

We know that is not what is meant, nor the reason. But, when the child is (apparently) eating, nursing, etc. the term and diagnosis is devastating.

We need to install a g-tube.

Oh, great. Surgery and a way to feed my kid since not only is he messed up, but I am a failure. Totally. Completely.

You will thank us for it within a week. Trust me.

We finally had our minds wrapped around this, and yes, a g-tube was the solution. We set up the time for surgery, the day before we took our son in for some pre-surgery stuff and blood work.

The morning of surgery, when they come out to get us …

I am sorry, but we cannot do the surgery today. The blood test shows he has hemophilia.

Who knew? How is it that one nightmare connects to the next?

A month later they put in the g-tube. Two weeks after that, we thanked the doctor. Feeding was no longer a fight and proper weight gain was in sight.

My daughter? No, no g-tube. Every gastro visit the doctor reminds me that it is my decision, he will gladly put one in if I want. Her weight is fine.

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