Wednesday, May 6, 2009

The Miracle Boy

Grace and greetings.

Below is a paper that I recently wrote for my creative writing class. I wanted to share it with a few others, but was having trouble emailing it, so I am posting it here on my blog. This is a story of my son, Samuel. I hope that it raises some of the issues that we deal with up here on the North Slope.

"The Miracle Boy"
D. Ian MacInnes-Green

He was sitting on the plane to go down to Anchorage along with everybody else on the sold out flight. Everybody was excited about the possibility of the Girl’s Basketball team heading off to the State Tournament. It seemed that everybody noticed him as well. Ten hours before, he was contemplating suicide, the risk was high. But now he was calm a collected. He talked with some of the other passengers, but mostly it was a quiet trip for him and the officer that was escorting him to an Anchorage facility. The officer held the literal keys to his freedom; for he had hand cuffs on his wrist and shackles on his ankles. He was not thinking too much about being a miracle boy at that moment….

Not quite twenty years earlier, his parents were talking about having children. They wanted to have children but were not in a rush to have them. They knew that they needed to be financially secure to have children, but they never were financially secure.

His mother has always had a problem with the medical profession; they would keep telling her that all her problems were in her head. When, in some cases years later, she was able to prove that it was her physical body that betrayed her, not her mental ability. So when conception was still difficult, the doctors said to keep trying. The fact that all her life she had problems with her menstrual cycle was of no consequence to the doctors. Finally, after three years and several doctors, one doctor admitted that she had endometriosis, a problem where the endometrial particles were not completely flushed out of her system each month, and they built up tissue outside of the vaginal area. The doctors performed several laparoscopies to try and clear things out, but it did not work. It was not until she had a laparotomy that the medical world found out that she had stage four (out of five) endometriosis. Once her tubes and other reproductive organs were cleaned out, she was able to conceive. It happened a month after the surgery, not intentional, but it happened.

Because of the issues associated with the endometriosis the pregnancy was watched very carefully. The last several months she was limited to light duty, but not quite complete bed rest. The boy’s parents were excited and nervous. They would watch with excitement as they felt him move around in the womb. It reminded them of a dolphin, so they would call him “fin” for short.

The parents had planned to have the delivery as holistic as possible. They had two friends to go through the Lamaze training with them in case the father was not available to be there. As the boy’s parents were both ministers, the father’s position would sometime take him away. The parents tried to make all the “right” plans for the birth.

Then the day arrived for the Miracle Baby to be welcomed into the world. Early in the morning of that eventful day, the water broke. The mother woke up, thinking that she had wet the bed. She woke up her husband to confirm that her water had indeed broken. Since it was only 2:00 o’clock in the morning, she called the doctor on call, and was told not to worry, and come in to the office later that morning. They changed the sheets to the bed, where as the husband promptly went back to sleep. The mother-to-be could do no such thing. In fact, she became angry and resentful of her spouse to so calmly go back to sleep. So she stayed awake, sitting there nervous, worrying about every small detail, include that fact that she could not go back to sleep herself.

The expectant parents arrived at the doctor’s office shortly after they opened. It was soon confirmed that her water had indeed broken and the baby was on its way. The parents were admitted to the local hospital that the doctor worked with, and they waited.

Part of the problem already was that there were no birth contractions to speak of, so the medical staff hooked her up with medication to help bring on the contractions. AND THEY CAME. She had been on the medication for about five hours, but she still had not dilated beyond a couple of centimeters. (The mother needs to be dilated at least ten centimeters in order for the baby to pass through the birthing canal.) One of the partners who had gone through the Lamaze training with them was a nurse, and this just happened to be her day off, so she was able to be there with them.

The prenatal doctor came in and said that the medications were not working in bringing about the birth. It was time to prepare for a cesarean section; the couple asked for a few more hours. The time finally came: it was closing in on the magic hour of 24 hours since the water broke and she had not dilated beyond the two centimeters, it was time for surgery. The parents finally agreed, signed the papers so that the surgery could take place. At 11:01 PM (23:01 on a 24 hour clock), on this particular Tuesday night, the Miracle Boy was born.

If there was anything constant in the boy’s life, it was change. By the time that he was in his third year of high school, he had lived in eight different states, ten different communities, fourteen different houses, and ten different schools. He could no longer trust that any friends that he made, he would be able to keep. There was one time in his early years, when he made an observation and question to his father, “It is September, are we moving?” That particular September, no they were not moving; but there were too many other September moves throughout his short life.

Finally, when he started high school, he thought that he found a place where he belonged. He made friends that seemed like they would last. The school itself was an alternative school that was geared to the personality and understanding that he needed. Then his father was offered a position far away, in a small isolated village inside the Arctic Circle in Alaska.

He moved with his parents to the village up north, he gave it a try, but he just did not feel like he fit in anywhere in this “new home.” He had lived through too many changes, too many times to move, no real stability. This time he thought he would make one more move; this would be his choice, his decision. He would end the torture that had happened all his life; it would end here and now.

He really wanted to end his life, but ended up being helped out of the situation. The people who were trying to help, including his father, took him to the local hospital, where he agreed to go to the hospital in Anchorage. In the village, they have no humane way to handle anybody who is suicidal except to “arrest” them, put them in police custody, until the person is “transported” to the Anchorage facility. In the case involving the Miracle Boy, this meant flying down on a crowded, overbooked plane, with a majority of classmates and their families to travel with him. Only, he was handcuffed and shackled for his “safety”, the “safety” of the officer escorting him down, and the “safety” of the rest of the passengers. But by the time the flight had actually happened, he was not longer suicidal or even thinking in those terms.

Since that flight, and the three week stay in the hospital that followed, he has found a new lease on life. He has started making friends, this time not worrying about who was going to move first. He is looking to graduate from high school and go on to college. But right now, it is just one day at a time. Even though his parents do not always agree with the decisions that he makes, he is still, and always will be, their Miracle Boy.

Peace and blessings.

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