Many, many years ago I saw the original 1967 version of the Dr. Dolittle movie based on the series of books by Hugh Lofting. Just about the only things I can really remember about that movie are Rex Harrison singing the song, “If I Could Talk to the Animals” and the PushmePullyou!
The PushmePullyou was an animal that looked kind of like a llama with two heads. It had two sets of front feet, one set on each end. This poor animal couldn’t go anywhere because both ends of it wanted to move forward!
I feel like a PushmePullyou! I can’t make decisions. I move forward then I step back. I’m damned if I do and I’m damned if I don’t.
I used to pray everyday that my children would be safe and healthy. And I believed with all my heart that they would be because I prayed. But then one day- the day that my daughter was diagnosed with brain cancer- my naive, child like faith was shattered. Up until then, I guess I sort of thought that praying worked like the way a good luck charm is supposed to work. For a long time I wondered (and sometimes wonder still ) what the use is in praying if God is going to do or allow whatever he wants to do or allow anyway despite what I pray for.
I’ve learned the hard way that sometimes no matter what we pray, bad things happen to good and innocent people. For the past thirteen years ever since the day Bethany got sick I have lived with the sickening, oppressive feeling that disaster, catastrophe, and bad things are hanging over my family like a cloud just waiting for an opportune time to burst and pour down upon us all those bad and catastrophic disasters .
My husband and I can come up with plan after plan and make decision after decision about Bethany’s medical treatment, her behavior treatment, her education, her therapies and her future. Then just when I think we’ve really made our final decisions, BAM!!! all the doubts, fears, worries, and what ifs come flooding in and I begin to think about all the bad things that can happen if we carry through with those plans.
We could send her to school on the bus in which by law only a nurse can administer to her the life saving medication she needs to stop seizures. However, we would have to fight the school district to provide said nurse. And besides… I am not at all comfortable with a stranger exposing my daughter’s teen age derriere on a school bus to administer this RECTAL medication anyway. Nor am I at all confidant that I would actually be able to make Bethany get on the school bus in the first place if she decided that she didn’t want to do so.
Should we we pull up roots, disrupt our whole family, and sell our house to move closer to the perfect school for children with autism so that Bethany wouldn’t have to ride the bus to this school for 45 minutes twice each day? At this school Bethany could make friends, get occupational therapy, speech therapy, physical therapy, and as an added bonus also get behavior therapy, art therapy, and music therapy all of which would be paid for by the school district. At this school she could also possibly be sexually and physically abused, or go into status epilepticus and die in the arms of someone who doesn’t even love her?
Should we we send her to school hoping to improve her life, and maybe give her something to look forward to so that she might possibly be happier? The last three times we tried sending her to schools her health rapidly deteriorated to the point of having so many seizures that she could not even lift her head off of her pillow for years. Or should we play it safe and keep her at home where she may be as happy as she can possibly be anyway?
Should we give her certain medications and hope for the best? Or should we decide against them because they might damage her liver, make her even more aggressive and violent, or suicidal or even kill her with a fatal rash? If she were to suffer any of these side effects we would regret that decision and probably never forgive ourselves. On the other hand, if we don’t try these medications we will always wonder if our decision has prevented her from having an improved life free of seizures and behavior issues.
So you see…I’m damned if I do and I’m damned if I don’t. No matter what decisions we make concerning Bethany’s health, well being, and future, there will always be pros and cons, there will always be regrets, doubts, and what ifs. I will always wonder if the other decisions… the ones that we abandoned would have been the better choices for her. I will always wonder if because of decisions that we did or didn’t make whether we have prevented Bethany from having the happiest and best life possible. I will always wonder if because of the decisions that we did or didn’t make whether we have prevented all of our other children from having the happiest and best lives possible.
I am a PushmePullyou.