Mystery Diagnosis

Medicine has always intrigued me. As a child, I would pretend my play horses had elaborate injuries, then cast or splint them like a good doctor. When I was in high school, though, we dissected a cat in my A&P class, and the bleeding heart liberal in me could not dismiss the thought that someone loved that terrible, terrified cat. Any dreams of being a doctor screeched to a halt with the same immediacy as they did for that cat.

Medicine still interests me. I watch Discovery Health any chance I get, after the kids and hubby have gone to bed. The shows are too graphic for the children, and Chad doesn’t like to see people going through trauma. Although my heart aches for the parents of kids with medical problems, as Gracie’s mom I have a different perspective than I ever did before.

I pore over the “Mystery Diagnosis” type shows, hoping to see another kid with Grace’s strange constellation of symptoms. Occasionally, I will recognize the rare disorder by the symptoms – that happened with the episode about Lesch Nyhan Syndrome and the one on dysautonomia. It is scary to see dramatizations about children who have rare disorders that have been ruled out for Gracie; they always seem so terrible on TV.

The reality of what we live is also terrible, but we have good times, too. We have fun together. We sing, we laugh, we draw pictures and do crafts, we go on nature walks, we tell silly stories, we have a lot of fun. The dramatization about Gracie’s illness would surely be grim, but it wouldn’t tell the whole story. It’s true, her mystery disease is terrible so often; we worry so much for her. But she’s still a kid, a person, just like any other person. She is more than her illness, and I love her so much.

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