At birth, he was pink and perfect. Ten fingers, ten toes, all parts of him so tiny, so beautiful. The tears shed by my wife after her all-night labor expressed her joy in a way no words ever could. He was our first child. The first grandson on both sides of the family. The future unfolded into eternal potential as we looked at him.
Three weeks later we thought we were going to lose him. He was projectile vomiting after every feeding and losing weight fast. A note in his medical file stated “failure to thrive” and we shed different tears now. We frantically changed doctors almost as fast as we changed diapers. Each one shook their head in puzzled concern as they listened to us describe everything we did, saw, and thought.
They repeatedly asked us the same questions with no better result or diagnosis. “Does his poop stink?”
What kind of question is that? We were first time parents. What did we know? Sure, baby poop stinks. What does that tell you, doctor? What they didn’t do was provide any frame of reference. Say, compared to sauerkraut left out of the fridge overnight that has warmed in the morning sun at the breakfast table alongside leftover sardines in mustard, does his poop stink?
His pitiful crying pained us terribly through each dark night. We rocked him, held him, tried to feed him again and again. He always threw up. Nothing stayed down long. The exhaustion and worry drained our strength. We kept trying new doctors.
We finally encountered a gentle older doctor who patiently listened to us like all the others. Unlike them, he didn’t ask us to describe poop potency. He nodded at appropriate times and ordered an obscure test. “Just to rule out this one possibility.”
Two days later, we had a diagnosis, cystic fibrosis. We had never heard of it. We were completely unprepared. We needed to learn. The journey of our lives had just taken a major turn.
Today you can write about anything, in whatever genre or form, but your post must mention a dark night, your fridge, and tears (of joy or sadness; your call).