Wednesday, November 03, 2010

May I vent?


Here's the thing: Gary loves martial arts. He switches gyms/dojos regularly, but he loves doing it. He loves feeling powerful and being able to submit guys. I get that. It makes all kinds of sense.I would prefer he stay with one gym, but I can't even explain to myself why. I mean there are certain advantages, like getting belts, but he doesn't seem to care. I should not that it is not his PLAN to change gyms regularly. It is not part of a plan to master different styles and techniques. He just changes. He has a reason every time, but I don't remember all of them.

Here is the second part: he gets hurt. A lot.

When he first came to me I learned that if Gary said, "that hurts" that translated into "I am in severe pain and I need help right now." Now however he has adapted to having a mommy. Now he says, "I hurt my shoulder. It hurts right here. I think I might have torn or dislocated something. I can't use my arm at all. I literally can't even lift it." Then I take him to the doctor, or more recently tell him to take himself. The doctor gives him some advice that he does not follow and after a couple of days he is using his arm (or other previously injured body part) without significant pain.

I get frustrated on a couple of levels. First, I am a philosopher and I accept pain as a REASON not to do something. If you put you hand in the fire and it hurts that means you should not put your hand in the fire again. I do also understand that there are sometimes reasons why you have to do something you know is painful. Normally if I am beginning to have trouble with my asthma I sit and breathe quietly. I don't keep doing the thing that is bringing on the attack (exercises in the cold, grooming the dog). However, when Gary was panicked while swimming across the lake, I just made myself keep going, knowing I was going to make the asthma worse. Then I made sure he wasn't planning on swimming across the lake again.

So I suppose I take as axiomatic "if something causes you pain, stop doing it unless you really, really have to do it. Then do what you can to avoid being in that situation again." I have assumed that even athlete held it to some degree. Injuries result in poor athletic performance and so an athlete would presumably try to avoid injury while engaging in activities that are still high-risk to injury. It is a perspective that I can imagine some rational person having. I'm have more trouble understanding the motivation for such a perspective when there perfectly wonderful books to read, but not everyone is the same.

But Gary keeps injuring himself. He describes the pain a debilitating. He tells me how serious it is. He goes to the physician of his own free will and then never does what they tell him to. Well, he will go to physical therapy, but he won't rest or continue exercises like he should.Then he does it again.

Okay, so I can accept all that. I don't get it, although if it were your child I would tell you how perfectly normal it was and how you should not get yourself too worked up trying to change it. .I would nod, hold your hand, try to get you to laugh at the insanity of teenagers, and tell you that brain development isn't complete until age 25.

But it is my child and it is making me a little nuts.

He called me early this morning.

"Remember how I said I hurt my knee so bad that I couldn't walk?"
"Well, I told you."
"I went to bed early. Maybe you just told Roland?"
"No I told you. ANYway my knee hurts really bad. like on a scale of one to ten it is a nine."
"Okay." I just don't have the oh-my-god-how-awful-let-me-take-care-of-you-response anymore.
"So what should I do?"
"What do you think you need to do?"
"Well, do we have a leg brace or crutches or anything?"
"Well, okay. I don't know how I am going to get around."
"The school nurse might have something. Remember you said you would take the dog to the groomer. If you want to drive by my work I can go with you so I can get the dog, walk it in and stuff like that."
"No, I can do THAT."
"Okay, well, let me know if you need anything."
"Okay, bye."

As you can see, I am a cold-hearted bitch.

He called 10 minutes later. "I think I should go see the doctor."
"How can I get the money for the co-pay?"
"Tell them to bill us, they will."
"Good. My knee cap is like just floating. I think I dislocated my knee and probably tore something and that is like really, really bad."
"Then the doctor may give you a brace to wear for a few weeks."
"I'll take it off! They can't make me wear a brace!"
I'm on the other end, saying nothing, shaking my head, and sort of laughing.
"I just don't understand you."
"What do you mean? I HURT MY KNEE."
"I know. and you are going to go to the doctor, not do what he says, and then get injured again."
I take a couple of deep breathes. "Honey, if you can't get the dog to the groomers, please call and cancel the appointment."
"Okay. I don't see what's so funny though."
"I love you. Let me know if there is anything I can do to help."
"Okay, bye."

True story.

Venting complete (for now).


  1. That would drive me crazy!

  2. I've just been introduced to your blog and I'm enjoying it very much.
    I had a thought about this post. Gary getting repeatedly injured reminds me of teens (and kids and adults) who self-injure. There are many reasons for it, including the desire to feel something, anything rather than the numbness that they are feeling, and the physical pain can be a distraction from the emotional pain they are experiencing.
    Thank you for your blog and your parenting!


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