Sheriff Sarah

Sheriff Sarah

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Helpful, Not Hurtful

Recently, a liver friend of mine was relating an experience on Facebook. She had been really hurt by a careless comment someone had made. If you read the comment as a normal person, you may have thought nothing of it. But if you read it, as this friend and I did, as parents of children with liver disease or transplants it was impossible to interpret it as anything but callous.

This got me thinking about how people who have NOT lived with a liver child or someone else with a compromised immune system can relate to those of us who DO have such children and experiences.

It's true that each one us has different life experiences. Many of us can't imagine circumstances like a child's serious health condition, or a terminally ill loved one. We can ignore those things as long as they're not happening to us. We can even keep them at a distance if a friend experiences them. But should we?

Honestly, Patty and I knew nothing about biliary atresia or that liver disease was so prevalent in infants and toddlers. Nada. Zilch. We're hardly "experts" now, but we've seen through living it what strain, fear, anxiety and uncertainty liver families face each and every day. I'm talking specifically about those still "waiting for the call". We have been keeping tabs on little Nikki Taylor down in California who has been waiting for months for a liver donor. She has reached the point of critical need. She needs a liver now but several potential living donors have backed out for certain reasons. (I'll address this in a future post.)

Nikki and her family, and those like her, are walking a tightrope of hopefulness and caution. The friend I mentioned in the opening has a child waiting for a liver transplant. They are anxiously awaiting the call and are taking precautions to prevent unnecessary infection or exposure to sickness that would prevent surgery should the call come.

Isn't that what a parent should be doing? Watching over their child, their ill child, and keeping danger at bay? It's mind boggling to me that anyone, but especially people who say they are "friends" would make hurtful comments. Really? Have they not considered how this can affect the fragility of a parent's emotions?

Patty and I are blessed with the most incredible support system imaginable. Not once did we receive an unkind word, or an unthinking comment from anyone. So, it's that much harder for me to imagine what it's like for my friend. But I know what she is feeling because I have been there. Let's be helpful not hurtful to those around us, whether they have liver kids or not, but especially if they do.

Words carry an amazing amount of power. Let's be careful how we use them.

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