The right leg is still over an inch bigger than the left, but the swelling is going down. By a full half-inch since last night.
What does this mean? It means that the Eldest is no longer bleeding into the muscle, that the clotting meds are (finally!) working, and that his body is starting to reabsorb the old blood that is sitting in the muscle. It means the start of a determined, fragile recovery. I ditched the hematology fellow ( fellow = specialist-in-training) and yanked the local hemophilia expert (a.k.a. hemophilia attending) onto the case. He immediately prescribed large, whopping doses of clotting meds through Thursday, rest and no school for most - if not all - of the week. And physical therapy. While my psyche cringes slightly at trying to keep the Eldest sitting down for another 2-3 days, it's a small price to pay. Oh, thank heavens. It's working. We're not going to be hospitalized, he's going to be fine.
I think I'm a little more sympathetic to my brother right now, who infuriated me beyond belief when he told me that his wife's third, easy conception and his two post-utero healthy children are signs of God's existence. (see here for my ire) And what about my not-easy conceptions, my healthy-by-my-definition children - they are evidence for what, exactly? And yet, with the Eldest's well being returning, I feel the urge to do something similar.
I want to point to the Shabbat, and say look! The day of rest truly was such for him, he recovered and regrouped on the shabbat. Aha! Thus the value of the shabbat is proven, via my personal lens.
I have long since been cured of the desire to point to God and say, oho! He gave the child a test that could be overcome, that He is just in the hurdles He places before us. Maybe She is, maybe he/thon/it isn't, but I know well how easy it is to make the divine into a scapegoat and triumphing hero in my personal dramas - and that this way lie problems when the path be not so smooth.
The divine, karma, the cosmic force du jour - these are explanations, excuses, and today I understand my brother's urge to turn and point to them as the givers of order. He's still a little snot, of course. Just a better understood one.
Not for me. I think I'll keep my focus on the human level right now: the resilience of the child, the patience of the parents, the care and curiosity of the sibling. And I'll tell you a story:
This bleed has been a tremendous opportunity for the Toddles. Typically knocked off his feet (literally) by his energetic, athletic sibling, the Toddles was finally able to keep pace with his big brother these past few days. It's wonderful. The Eldest, after some thought, turned the Toddles into his personal assistant, which role the little guy took on with enthusiasm. It reminded me strongly of the Sorceror's Apprentice in the movie Fantasia - like Mickey Mouse, the Eldest didn't know how to turn off his enchantment, either. So the Toddles would bring him book after book after book after book...but the Eldest found it in himself to smile and say, 'nothankyou,' and carefully put the book on a steadily growing stack. The little one would offer up his gap-toothed grin, and go off for another book while I giggled in the corners.
And on and on. And then.
Friday night, after two days of enforced, painful resting, we went to another family for Shabbat dinner. This was a thing of wonder for the Eldest, who'd been out of school since Tuesday at this point, and was feeling the lack of his peers' company. The family who invited us was prepped for our allergies (no peanuts, tree nuts, sesame, poppy, pumpkin, zucchini, beans, dairy, beef, wheat, oats, rye, spelt, barley, corn, egg) and had warned their kids that it was sitting-down games only. Their eldest was so excited that he'd shown his classmates all about his plans to play sitting down. These kids were, of course, also the Eldest's classmates - kids who've seen the Eldest get his clotting meds at school, marveled at their friend's lack of fear of small, sharp needles, but never really understood what it was all for. Right.
We arrived for dinner, and the family gave the Eldest a gold foil crown. You are the king, they told him. If you need something, just tell us, and we'll get it for you! He loved it. And he used his powers wisely. Mostly.
All evening, the child asked (often politely), and other children grinned, ran, fetched. The Toddles, by now wise in the ways of this business, ran and fetched as delightedly as any of the others, while the Eldest sat and glowed.
He saw himself loved. He saw himself valued - not for his athletic ability, for his charisma, for his imagination, for any of the bits that make up the boy, but for himself, for the whole child, abled or not. Following on that, he's been remarkably patient with his limitations, wonderfully accepting.
So, who do I thank? Do I thank God for the gift of community and caring? Or do I thank the family and friends who chose this moment to show the Eldest their affection and willingness to invest energy in him? I think I thank the people. But I thank them knowing that I believe in a divine who sets situations in motion, brings us to places where we can choose, and then lets us choose. Blessed be, then, the choice and those who shape it.