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Sitting in Wait

Jodi Shenal by Jodi Shenal Additional Needs

Jodi Shenal

Jodi Shenal

I'm a stay-at-home mom with two amazing children. My son is on the Autism spectrum and my daughter has a rare genetic disorder and multiple disabil...

Sitting in a cheerful, brightly colored waiting room of the children’s radiology department, the hands on the clock move ever so slowly. 

A test that should take approximately two hours drags on into nearly five. 

On a fact-finding mission for answers regarding our daughter’s chronic GI issues, my husband and I can’t help but become a bit restless, as we sit in wait.

After the initial three trips into the X-ray room for fluoroscopic studies, completing one every thirty minutes, her anxiety seems to be conquered. 

The tears and fearful cries have all but vanished, thankfully.

With every medical appointment, panic sets in and we do our best to calm and soothe her. 

Trying to help your frightened child understand what is happening is heartbreaking.

I hate the fact that she has to endure so many tests, and this one is no picnic. 

Surrounded by loud noises, being forced to drink a terrible tasting solution, being confined to a tight space, and having strangers all around must be such a tremendous assault on her senses. 

I wish I could take her place.

As we wait between pictures, we’re worried, hungry, under-caffeinated, and anxious. 

Meanwhile, our gleeful girl is being such a trooper. 

She’s contently snuggling with her Dad, watching cartoons. 

She is happy and comfortably settled.  I am in awe of her incredible ability to take all things in stride. 

Watching her, as she seems perfectly at home now, I am at ease and can relax.

We wait.  Time continues to crawl by, hour by hour, as we are eager for the barium solution to do its thing. 

We take turns carrying our sweet girl back and forth to the little room for her X-rays. 

We’re hopeful the Radiologist can get some clear views of her GI system and provide us with a favorable report. 

As we are entertaining our girl and trying to creatively pass the time, another mom comes in. 

She is pushing an adorable little girl in a pink wheelchair.  She says “hello” and I reciprocate. 

I comment on the beautiful, sparkly bow in her daughter’s hair and she tells me that she loves my daughter’s shoes. 

We take notice of the beauty of each other’s child, and we exchange greetings to both brave girls. 

My daughter grins at the new friend across the room from her, in the wheelchair that closely resembles her own. 

The mom candidly shares with us that they have just received the best news. 

Her daughter can now start eating by mouth, at thirteen years old. 

She’s wearing a mask, but I see a great big smile, twinkling in her eyes. 

I am overjoyed for this mother and her child in their moment of celebration. 

We had never met before, yet we cheered and shared excitement together, as if we were old friends.

We went on to talk surgeries, therapies and diagnoses together, without any apprehension.

As our new waiting room neighbors prepare to leave, I hold the door for them and congratulate them again. 

There is a unique comradery that forms quickly between parents of children with complex medical needs. 

When we meet, unexplainably, there is a connection.  A mutual respect and understanding between strangers. 

Even though our stories are not identical, we empathize with one another’s victories and hardships in a way that most people couldn’t understand. 

The monotony of waiting had faded away and my heart was happy for their momentous win.

We received good news that day too.  A day of waiting gave way to wonderful results. 

Over the past ten years, we’ve spent a lot of time sitting in wait.  In more ways than one. 

There will be much more of that to come.  That is simply just a part of this life. 

When you receive answers that you desperately need, and cross paths with others that leave a bright spot on your day, every second of the wait is worth it.


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