The Patient or The Person?


I am sure I am not the only one, especially the only parent, who struggles daily with wondering if I have made the best choices for my daughter.

Sometimes we argue, and bicker, and I find myself wondering if I am reaching her.  Other times I look at all her activities and wonder if she is too busy.  Still other times, I look at her and I see those tired eyes, and I wonder what I can do to make things better.

Choices.  Life is about choices.  And around 12 years old is that transitional time where more and more of the choices become hers, not mine.  I can guide, and support, but she is beginning to make more of her own choices, and handle their consequences, be they positive, or not.

She is doing a great job,  and truly despite a few hiccups, I could not be more proud.  But I will always worry.


The one area though, where the decisions are mine and her father’s to make, are the complex medical decisions.  And with Meghan there are many.  I have to wrestle with my roles, advocating for her best interests physically, mentally, and emotionally.

This has been a growing process for me, and there has been such a learning curve.  With Meghan there is always a medical decision, always a worry, always something that has to be checked out and looked at.  Many of these things have potentially serious consequences.  But, she is not a medical specimen, with a fascinating genetic disorder.  She is a child, a young lady, with hopes, dreams, goals, and emotions.  Finding the balance between who she is and what she needs is tenuous.

Sometimes I get it wrong.

This time, I got it right.

The doctors are worried.  She needs a biopsy.  But, it’s not her first biopsy, and it won’t be her last.  There is reason for concern, and we take that concern very seriously.  The biopsy was to take place on the 9th of December, the first available.  It would keep her from swimming for about 10 days.

right decision

She looked at me.  I knew in my gut what to do.

No, you’ll have to book her for the 16th.  (Even knowing the extra week of waiting would be agonizing for me.)

The doctor looked puzzled.  But…

Listen, she has her drama concert on the 10th, and her swim meet on the 12th and 13th.  She’s primed and ready to qualify for a championship meet.  One week is not going to change that biopsy.  You and I both know, it is already whatever it is.

She looked at me.  She looked at Meghan.

My eyes locked with my girl.  In those eyes she thanked me for putting her the person, before her the patient.

Thursday there was this…

Saturday, there was this…

And before the meet was over she had personal best times in 4 out of 5 events, and 2 qualifying times for Silver Championships.

We have no idea what Wednesday and the ensuing week waiting for pathology will bring.

But, there is a peace in knowing the person is always more important than the patient.


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