It's been almost a year since Jacob last attended school, his immune system too weak to risk exposure to even a simple cold. Nothing with Jacob is ever simple. Life goes on, days stretch into weeks and before I realize it, nine years pass without time away for my husband and I to unwind and relax together.
Over the past 15 years, Tanzania has made a concerted effort to immunize its children -- and has achieved a remarkable vaccination rate of almost 90 per cent. That's not good enough for the government and health organizations, though. They want to get as close to 100 per cent as possible. But figuring out which children have been missed is a huge challenge in a country where many families still live nomadic lives in remote areas. Enter Seattle health organization PATH and Canada's own Mohawk College, in Hamilton, Ont. They're helping out, not with more vaccines or nurses, but a database.
My 13-year-old son Jacob, who has a rare neurodegenerative disorder, was discharged last summer with 24-hour nursing care in our Toronto home. But aside from the fact that nurses can cancel at a moment's notice -- leaving parents like me to pull all-nighters so my son doesn't choke to death -- we're facing alarming incompetence when they do show up.
As the public watches "entitled" physicians struggle under the barrage of Liberal hostility, they miss the very real danger of a government stuffing an already glutted health care system with more administration. As David Gatzer pointed out, this is "a system designed for political popularity, not smart policy."
My mother is dying. When it got to be too much at home we put her in hospice. Hospice, for those who are not familiar with the term, is a place where folks go to die. The criteria to enter are you have three-six months left to live with an expectation of no heroic measures. The goal is comfort and dignity in your final days. My brother and I camp out in the room with my mom. Me in the Murphy bed and him on the Lazy Boy. We fall asleep listening to her whisper to herself and hallucinate on the shadows she makes with her hands. My mom had lung cancer and it progressed to her brain, so she is not safe to be alone anymore. She could fall. She could leave and get lost. She could take all her clothes off and run the halls naked. So we move in to the tiny room with her.
Two summers ago I developed the rash of all rashes. There was only one medication the doctors told me would make it go away: prednisone. A steroid that crosses into breast milk. Breastfeeding was too important to me, so, I declined. That is -- until today. After almost 30 consecutive months of breastfeeding, I reclaimed my boobs.
I'm starting to accept that all the research in the world can't prepare you for the day-to-day realities of parenting, and that the parent you hope to be isn't necessarily the parent you will be when you are faced with the child you end up with -- who is, after all, an individual in his or her own right. What matters is that I am the right mother for him, and he is the perfect child for me.