Friday, October 23, 2009
Friday Thoughts from Family
“Sean has Down syndrome.” That was all Deborah said to me in the ER at the Children’s Hospital in Denver. Sean had aspirated earlier in the day and was life-flighted to Denver after his oxygen levels had dropped dangerously low. Deborah flew with Sean and arrived first. I drove with Deborah’s mother and got there about an hour later. On the drive there, I had thought: “What a waste of time. They’re going to fly him to Denver, check him out and tell us he’s fine. What an expensive trip.” Obviously there was more to it than just that.
After Deborah led me back to the ER and broke the news, I kind of blacked out. I had an immediate feeling of being sucker punched in the stomach. Having no experience with Down syndrome or any other genetic disorders, my first vision was of Sean in a wheelchair for the rest of his life. The ER doctor corrected me, and proceeded to give us the grim, worst case scenario Down syndrome facts. The rest of that evening was kind of a blur. I recall tearful phone calls to my family, and kneeling beside the ER bed apologizing to Sean for ruining his life, as if I was somehow responsible. I also recall feeling exhausted as we spoke with doctors after we finally were assigned a hospital room. We eventually were given time to sleep, and after some time of lying awake with my thoughts, I fell asleep.
That night I had the most vivid dream. I was standing beside an old garage. There was a hill behind it with a beautiful house at the top. Beside me were my two sons, Aidan and Sean. They were playing with a red wagon. Sean decided he wanted in the wagon and Aidan picked him up and helped him into it.
I’m not really sure what exactly that dream meant, but I feel it was Someone telling me that things were going to be okay. That Aidan was going to love his little brother and take care of him, not because he had to, but because he was his brother, Down Syndrome or not.
I don’t recall much else from those two days we spent at that hospital, but the vision of that dream is as clear to me today as it was when I woke from it. In a lot of ways, I believe it helped me come to terms with Sean’s diagnosis. It helped me to see that Sean was my son and that aside from a few small things, he was no different than any other baby his age. We knew there would be challenges, but we would take them as they came. There wasn’t much use in worrying about what might happen in the future. In a lot of ways that dream came true. We don’t have a beautiful house on a hill, but Aidan and Sean have a wonderful relationship and every time I see them playing together, I think of that dream.
Written by Doug Minner, Sean's Daddy.