Sep 16 2014
Earlier this year, Zimra Vigoda wrote on Kveller about making the excruciating decision to have her son’s leg amputated and it went viral. She’s been keeping us posted on his incredible journey and this is her latest update.
Summer came and summer went. It’s been more than four months since my son Amit’s amputation surgery at the incredible Shriners Hospital for Children in Northern California and he is still in the depth of rehabilitation.
Amit’s journey from the moment he was born until today has been extraordinary. Born with a rare orthopedic condition, we have had the fortune of connecting with many wonderful individuals and organizations all over the world in an attempt to ease his pain and live his life to the fullest. Read the rest of this entry →
Sep 15 2014
I’ll be honest: I used to generally try to avoid kids with special needs if I could. Aside from the awkwardness of not knowing how to react or interact, I also failed to understand how families of kids with severe disabilities stayed sane. Feeding, dressing, washing, and changing older kids’ diapers was not my idea of a good time, and I didn’t know how they did it.
Then I had a kid of my own. We didn’t realize it when Moishy was born, but during routine testing when he was 3 months old, they told us that his head was not growing, among other issues, and further testing was necessary. This news sent us on a crazy whirlwind of doctors, hospitals, cat scans, x-rays, and more. Eventually the diagnosis was clear: Our beautiful boy had cerebral palsy and microcephaly.
I looked myself in the mirror and realized that I had to change. Now I had my very own child with special needs. Avoidance was no longer an option. Read the rest of this entry →
Aug 21 2014
My first delivery went textbook-smooth. From the time my water broke until the time I delivered my daughter was nine hours, which is under the average of 10 to 24 hours for a first labor. The one thing I hadn’t liked: To get me through the first part of labor, my doctor had ordered some Stadol, a narcotic that is supposed to “take the edge off the pain.” It made me alternately sleepy and groggy. It was only supposed to last an hour or two, but it lasted much longer, and I was totally out of it by the time my baby was born.
By the time my second child was ready to be born, I was determined to do it differently.
When I got to the hospital, I wasn’t in active labor. I was contracting now and then, but the contractions didn’t hurt. The only sign was the bloody show I’d experienced overnight. My obstetrician insisted that was enough–I’d gone so quickly last time, and I was five days overdue now, so it made a lot of sense to get me into the hospital sooner rather than later. Read the rest of this entry →
Aug 19 2014
I’ve always wanted to have kids, three girls to be exact. I’ve had names picked out since the age of 12 (OK, so those names have changed several times, but still, I’ve been choosing names for what seems like forever). On my 21st birthday, I remember shocking my dad with the news that having kids would come first–even before the family business.
Fast forward to now. At the age of 32 and recently married, I’m not sure I want kids anymore.
What happened? Read the rest of this entry →
Aug 18 2014
Last spring, my son managed to smash his head into the corner of a bookcase, requiring staples. Upon returning home from urgent care, with his head wrapped in gauze, he gleefully declared that he was “King Gauze.” I seized on the moment–finally, here was my chance to get him involved in my passion: playwriting.
I belong to a playwriting group that sometimes meets at our home. Therefore, my son has known the majority of my fellow playwrights since he was born. And, as he’s gotten older, he’s wanted to stay downstairs to listen to the work being read out loud, none of which would be appropriate for his ears. He has been frustrated by this and by the fact that I won’t let him read any of my work, either.
But with the emergence of “King Gauze,” we agreed that we would write a play the next day about King Gauze in Gauzeland. And so we did. Not a whole play but three scenes. His cast of characters was enormous and grew as we continued to write. The play took place at the birth of Prince Gauze. King and Queen Gauze were being visited by the whole town, along with some weavers (only later did it occur to me that the weavers idea came from “The Emperor Has No Clothes”). My son dictated the dialogue and I showed him how we were writing stage directions and how different characters said their lines. Read the rest of this entry →
Aug 14 2014
“He needs some TLC and gentle handling,” says the assistant head nurse as she hands me the chart of a new patient. “He’s young, he’s a career soldier, and his wife just gave birth to their first child two weeks ago.”
I look at his chart. All that goes through my head is that he is seven years younger than me and has Stage 3 colon cancer. Yet again, I find myself standing there and wishing there was no cancer in this world, even if that meant, as an oncology nurse, that I would need to find a new career. I go look for my new patient in the waiting room. Read the rest of this entry →
Aug 7 2014
After months of worsening depression and intense psychotherapy, it was an email I sent to my psychiatrist that was the last straw. I simply told her, once again, how lonely I felt and how much pain I was in. She called and told me it was time to go to the hospital–I had suffered enough.
Just a few hours later I was in the Psych ER being evaluated and then admitted.
Terrified and emotionally exhausted, I was shown to my room. I don’t remember how I slept that night but when I woke and met with my treatment team, I was immediately brought to tears. My doctor was calm and cool while he presented my options. The first was to try a different class of medication, pretty much the only medication I had not yet tried. One issue: I would first need to get off of my current medications and there were dietary issues, such as certain cheeses and chocolate that cannot be consumed. I looked at my doctor with a straight face and told him there was no way I could cut out chocolate. Luckily, he smiled and offered me a second option. Read the rest of this entry →
Jul 28 2014
My 8-month-old daughter Billie was recently hospitalized for a UTI. It was scary, exhausting, and emotional. She refused to nurse for four excruciating days (don’t worry, I pumped). She was lethargic and had a high fever. But after four long days and nights at an amazing children’s hospital, I’m happy to report my little girlie is back home and 100 percent herself.
My dad (who was with us at the hospital frequently) always taught me to find the humor in life. After reflecting on our scary experience, I’d like to share the top seven things that amused me at the hospital:
1. In the playroom at the hospital there was an old-school Casio-type keyboard with very funny typos. “Fly Me to the Moom” and “Capton Races” were our faves. Read the rest of this entry →
Jul 11 2014
On Friday afternoon, while I was alone with my infant daughter for a moment, there was a knock at the door of our hospital room. A short, pudgy woman–who just begged to be called Bubbe–pushed her reading glasses up on her nose and looked down at her clipboard, “Are you the Rosen-Prinz family?”
“Yes,” I replied quietly as the baby lay asleep in my arms. I had become accustomed to the constant daily interruptions after many days in the pediatric intensive care unit where doctors worked tirelessly to diagnose my baby with what we would come to learn is a very rare illness.
“Would you like a Shabbat kit?” she offered. Read the rest of this entry →
Mar 11 2014
I awake to a familiar screech. “Mommmmmyyyy……HELP!” So begins my biweekly sleep-run to my 11-year-old’s bedside. “Mommmmmyyyy……I want to cut it off, I can’t stand it anymore…I hate my leg….make it stop,” he hollers, eyes wide open yet not quite awake. My 14-year-old son appears at the door, sleepy-eyed yet familiar with the routine. He helps bring his brother to the bathroom and wash his face until the terror subsides. “Mommy, can I please get a pill?” I give him a couple of Advil on top of the bedtime Tylenol, a cup of water, and I hope for some peace.
As a mother of four kids, aged 6 to 15, I am certainly used to making lots of decisions. As all mothers throughout the world, from the time that they were babies until today, I’ve made thousands, perhaps millions, of decisions. I decided how and what to feed them, which schools to send them to, where we will live, what extracurricular activities they will participate in, what time they need to be home, whether they can stay out late on school nights, on weekends, and countless more such everyday issues. Some decisions were easy, others more challenging, but all were quite ordinary. Read the rest of this entry →