If You Love Something, Hold It Tight …

4 07 2007

Cross posted from Blue Collar Muse

Years ago, I got a frantic call from The Much Younger Trophy Wife.
While #1 Son, then age 2 or so, played on the kitchen floor she
stepped around the corner to make a phone call. Returning, she found
him sitting on the floor, playing with an empty pill bottle,
surrounded by aspirin and with white powder on his lips. We agreed she
would take him to the emergency room and I would meet her there.

Once there, having no idea how many aspirin were originally in the
bottle and thus no idea how many he ate, we had two goals. We needed
to find out how much aspirin was in his system and then we had to
neutralize it. How we did step two depended on what we found in step
one. No need to pump the little shaver’s stomach for one aspirin but
neither could we wait and watch him pass out to get a clue.

He was as terrified as I was. That likely contributed to his complete
inability to give a coherent answer to how much he had eaten. Being
only two years old might also have played a part. We weren’t going to
get an answer that way. Next the doctors decided to give him charcoal
to bond with any aspirin in his stomach and prevent it being absorbed.
It would be mixed in liquid and then #1 Son would drink it. Suddenly
the child who would one day eat a dead cockroach on a $50 dollar bet
got finicky! We tried the cool, be a big boy approach and suggested he
drink the special “coffee” and be just like daddy! No dice. Then we
tried the “Calvin and Hobbes” approach and encouraged him to drink the
gooey, slimy mud! Again, no joy!

This took moments to type and a lifetime to actually experience. When
all the alternatives failed, the doctors advised us the only way to
know for sure how much aspirin he’d consumed was to draw blood. From a
terrified toddler.

He had fallen asleep on a gurney in the ER when The Much Younger
Trophy Wife, a doctor, a nurse, a phlebotomist and I descended on him.
Our best chance to do this quickly failed as his vein rolled away from
the needle when we stuck him while he snoozed. He was awake now and so
the adults immobilized him by holding him tightly and in a couple of
cases, laying over the top of his squirming torso. He was screaming
and it only got worse as they tried again to hit the vein. I held his
legs still and could clearly see him and he could see me. I cannot
remember if the communication we shared was actually verbal or not. It
is really unimportant. I know as clearly as I know I am typing these
words that my son either screamed at me in fear or looked at me in
terror and communicated, “Daddy, this hurts!! Daddy, I’m scared!! WHAT
ARE YOU DOING TO ME, DADDY?? WHY ARE YOU DOING THIS TO ME, DADDY!!!!”

I cannot communicate the emotions ripping through me at that moment.
My son, for whom I would gladly give my life, knew only that he was
being hurt and that I was the one hurting him. He was terrified and
instead of comforting him, I was making it worse – MUCH worse! He knew
it and I knew it. That what was being done was absolutely necessary
mattered not at all. So I gripped his ankles even tighter until the
deed was done. And I felt useless as a father and a man. Not only
could I not keep my son from harm and fear, but the most loving thing
I could do for him was to hurt and frighten him. When it was over,
with his fearful tears and my frustrated ones, I tried to calm and
comfort him. As adults often stupidly do, I tried to explain what I
had done was necessary. Did I mention he was only 2?

He turned out to have ingested less than one aspirin and nothing
further needed to be done at the hospital. We took our son home where
he fell asleep exhausted and where I licked my wounds and wondered,
not for the last time, if I was really cut out for this parenting
business.

Our country faces a similar predicament. We have not ingested a
foreign substance but foreign nationals; not an alien substance but
illegal aliens. And the situation we face is life threatening. How
much we have consumed is unknown but symptoms indicate toxic levels.
The “special coffee” approach has been tried as has the “Calvin and
Hobbes” approach and a dozen others including the “Head in the Sand”
approach to address the problem. Despite our efforts, since the
problem has not been fixed it grows even worse. It is time to look at
a more difficult approach.

Everyone agrees we must stop the influx of any more of the foreign
substance, locate the foreign substance already in the body and either
remove or neutralize it to keep the patient safe and healthy. Everyone
understands the patient is terrified and emotional at the moment and
will likely continue to be for the forseeable future. It is
understandable. The situation is grave. The only choice is how to do
it now that only a couple of options remain.

But it is time. For those who asked us to trust them with political
office; for those who wanted the responsibility of making the hard
decisions; for those who asked us to believe they have what it takes
to do the right thing regardless of the personal toll it might exact;
in short, for those who play the role of father and adult in our
scenario – it is time. It is time for them to weep as the nation
struggles against their application of what is needed. When the nation
looks East and yells, “Why are you doing this?? What are you doing??”,
it is time for them to tighten their grip.

They must ignore the pleading that they stop! They must suppress their
natural impulse to diminish the suffering of the nation by the fastest
method possible. They must make sure the source of the problem is
identified, quantified and nullified. Once done, there will be time
for reconciliation and healing. Once done, there will be time for
comfort and soothing. But for now, hard choices must be made. It is
the only responsible thing for a parent or a politician to do.

Because the poem from long ago was only partially right. If you love
something and set it free, sometimes it gets destroyed and can never
return. Wisdom knows there are times when you love something, you hold
it tight and do what needs doing to make sure it’s there to love
tomorrow. It is the wise parent and the wise politician who knows
which approach is called for and when.

Hoping our leaders love us more than they love themselves … After
all, isn’t that what they promised us?

Blue Collar Muse

CAII
This was a production of The Coalition Against Illegal Immigration (CAII). If you would like to participate, please go to the above link to learn more. Afterwards, email stiknstein-at-gmail-dot-com and let us know at what level you would like to participate.

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