Wednesday, April 10, 2013

The View From The Ditch

Remember this movie?

The Boy sees a psychologist.  

At the children's hospital that we attend  (that sounds like attending a concert or something equally as fun as that ...but wait, I recently sat through an organ concert that I would have gladly on any day of the week gone to my dentist for work on my teeth then sit through that recital again).  Let me start over.

At the children's hospital that we go to for the boy's health, they have a theory that you treat the "whole" patient.  We have a psychologist   Psychiatrist.  Nutritionist.  A LPN.  The doctor.  The biofeedback ladies.  A physical therapy lady and a social worker.  I am sure our insurance LOVES us.  Not.

So, because of the mental impact his illness has had on the formation of his personality and his development, I have had absolutely no problem using the insurance we have at a cost of  $277 a visit (bill to insurance, not us) for the boy to have someone else to talk to, besides me.  It has been a good thing.

Months have passed since we last saw her.  It was good to connect recently.

She said something that I have been pondering the last few days.  She said, "I am so glad to see you have climbed out of the ditch."  
I don't remember who said it first or when we had that conversation years ago.

When we were younger, The Boy and me, his illness consumed us.  And rightly so.  He was so young.  It was so hard.  And it was crushing all of us on Forest Avenue, not just him.  We lived at Def con 5 for so long, coupled with everything else that was going on (Tom, my epilepsy, Mr. Fun's cancer) that it was not a matter of if we would break, but a question of when.  We had a to develop some sort of objective voice in our life management, so we started with Mrs. D for The Boy.

A great parenting decision, if I do say so myself.  :)

She works with lots of "kiddos" with broken body parts, so we were right at home.

As the conversations carried on, we talked about how we were in our survival mode.  The analogy came up about tornado and how sometimes, when you have no where else to go, you run for the ditch.  

It was an easy analogy for him to understand, given we live in the outskirts of Tornado Alley.

For those of you who have not lived a spring in the mid west, the ditch is your last resort for safety when you have no where else to go.  The theory is that it is better to be in a low depression so that you aren't impaled by flying debris.  It makes it harder for the winds to catch under you.  Sure they can pull you out of the ditch, but you stand a better chance of survival than laying on the flat ground.

Remember when the truck drove into a ditch under an overpass?

Is the ditch ideal?  No.  Ditches are dirty.  You get filthy.  Ditches are unsecured.  Anything can crush or fall on your from above.  The sides are not stable.  They can collapse on our.  Some people have even drowned in ditches.  

All in all, if your life is so bad you are in a ditch to survive, you've got problems.  

Just ask the soldiers from World War 1.  Trenches they were called back then.

Where I grew up, we didn't really have sidewalks.  If I wanted to walk or ride my bike into town, I had to do it in the ditch along the main road.  It was bumpy, hilly, and took a lot of effort to navigate.  But when I finally hit the pavement at the Parker's gas station down the road, it was like winning the biking lottery.

The pavement was smooth and quiet.  It was level.  And maintained.  Someone had invested in that part of the road so that it was easier for others to use later.  

I love pavement.  Still do.  I know that I am not the only one from Soldotna who does.  I remember I was in a room full of Alaskans when we found out one of the longest dirt roads in our town had finally been paved (I was married with kids by then).  Funny River Road.  About 30 miles.  When we found out, it was like one of us had gone to the moon!  Everyone swooned.  Everyone awed. There was cheering!  It was magical moment that to the non-Soldotna native looked like "What the heck?  You guys are all jazzed up about a paved road?"  

To me, ditches and pavement go together like salt and pepper.  Ying and yang.  Truffles and dark chocolate.
A lot has changed since we climbed into the ditch initially.

Tom has passed away.  Mr. Fun is cancer free.  The Boy and I are finally seeing a light at the end of his academic and scout goals.  I have my epilepsy under control.  The days are longer in peace and joy.  While The Boy's health is probably never going to improve, we have found ways to manage him and it a little more consistently and successfully.
Mrs. D is right.  We have finally been able to climb out of the ditch.  The tornado is gone.  Sure, another one might come back.  In the mid west, they always seem to.  But for now, we feel the light on our faces.  Our dirty, messy-but-still-in-one piece faces.

One more thing...
Hey!  Did you hear that Funny River got paved?!  Woo hoo!