We’re doing fine…
I often write about pulling back the curtain and shining a light on the mysterious world of neonatal care.
I often write about the importance of sharing stories and of speaking honestly about the reality of neonatal intensive care and life beyond so that awareness can be raised.
So why after a difficult few days of surgery and a hospital stay do I still find myself uttering the words ‘we’re doing fine’.
I hear myself saying – “the surgery went well” | “the surgeon was pleased with how it went” | “he’s doing okay” | “It’s good to be back home”.
I don’t find myself sharing how in the days leading up to the planned surgery I felt sick to the bottom of my stomach; how I was plagued with vivid flash backs from our time in NICU and other difficult hospital stays.
When well meaning people comment “at least that’s over” I don’t share my frustration or show my upset when I know our journey continues.
When people ask after him I tell them he’s doing well; I don’t share how he struggled after recovery, how we watched as his breathing deteriorated and how we stood by as doctors surrounded his cot. I don’t describe the panic that set in or describe the feeling of helplessness.
I don’t tell how I fought back tears as my husband left to collect our eldest son from nursery; how I had to dig deep to find the strength to advocate and care for him on my own. I don’t mention how much I missed our eldest son and the guilt of splitting our time between the two.
People ask kindly after me. I say we’re doing fine.
I might say I’m tired; really I mean I am exhausted. My head is full of worry and I can’t quite think straight. The flash backs still creep in.
I might say I’m glad to be back at home; but really I mean I’m glad we’ve made it through, but I’m already looking to the next stage of our journey – the worry never ends.
We’re doing fine – three little words: They don’t say a lot and they don’t raise awareness, but they get us through.