Posted by Mark Weiss on August 21, 2012
This is not a typical post for me, but it’s important to me that I let you know that I feel your pain as parents and patients. I PROMISE that my next post will be an Alcatraz bathroom installment.
The darkest days for my son, Jedediah, clearly among the darkest days of my life, were those when Jed was in horrible pain. Often, going to the bathroom offered some relief; other times, not so much.
Like many of our kids prior to a new treatment taking effect or a surgery, Jed was basically housebound in the weeks leading up to his colectomy.
So, when we were recently on a car trip and Jed announced that he had to go to the bathroom, even though I knew he was not “in pain,” Sela and I WERE in pain. FOR him. We were flashing back to those darkest days.
Then, it was déjà vu all over again.
It was 1978 or thereabouts. My dad and I were on a car trip. I was fresh in remission from my stubborn UC onset—it took over a year of twice daily steroid enemas to get to remission. My folks, like Sela and I, had seen their child in pain with no way to relieve it.
I announce that I have to go to the bathroom, and my dad’s foot gets heavy all of a sudden. I know now what he was thinking. “Hey, I can DO SOMETHING here. If I go faster, I can make my son feel better quicker.” How many times have you wanted the ability to DO SOMETHING to make your son/daughter feel better?
The Tennessee Highway Patrol had other ideas. Pulled over for going about 20 mph over the speed limit, my dad pleaded with the officer to let him take his son to a bathroom. The police officer responded that the speeding ticket would cost $75 ($264 in 2012 dollars) and that my dad would have to follow him to the police station to pay the fine.
This was bad, and my dad didn’t want to make it any worse, so he let the police officer continue to talk about court, judges, etc. Then he says, “But if you give me $5 [$17.60 in 2012 dollars], you and your son can be on your way.”
And, that, my friends, is how one Tennessee Highway Patrolman bought lunch on that summer day in 1978.