Special Needs Consumption

The word CONSUMPTION is often used as an old fashioned way of describing someone with Tuberculosis.

In the past, tuberculosis has been called consumption, because it seemed to consume people from within, with a bloody cough, fever, pallor, and long relentless wasting.-wikipedia

and while most of us think of images of Little House on the Prairie or Deadwood when the word consumption is used, I would like to suggest that it is alive and well and sadly, taking its toll in a new form with special needs parents everywhere.

I know I have this new form of consumption.

Carter has been on and off bed rest for close to a year fighting a wound in his leg that appears to have super bugs attached to it because nothing is killing them. This past year our whole family has been consumed by this.

Special Needs Consumption is easy to contract and difficult, if not impossible, to cure. You are often first struck with it the first time you hold your babies hand through something horrific. The first time you whisper ‘it’s ok’ when you know it might not be.

Sometimes SNC (Special Needs Consumption) goes into remission. Yes, there are those brief times that you don’t think about your childs condition, their needs, their appointments, their schedules, their equipment….but these remission times rarely last long. Consumption is a powerful thing and will bring you back to reality quickly.

But what can parents suffering with SNC do to bolster their own strength? That is personal to each afflicted member, my friend Tammy takes long walks around the grocery store alone, my friend Laura took a huge leap of faith and decided to go on a professional writing retreat, and me, I am going to meet a giant mouse in FL this weekend to work and play.

I’m feeling guilty about taking off two weeks after Carters surgery. But yet, his 1 week check up yesterday went amazingly well. There is nothing I can do for him other than entertain him while he is on bed rest and quite frankly, after a year of that, I am not that entertaining. But through the guilt I see that if I don’t put my SNC into remission for a few days, I might drive off a cliff soon. I know everyone here will be fine without me, they always are and I would never go if I thought anything might be even slightly wrong. So, I need to kick this Consumptions butt for a little bit and let myself heal!


  1. Theresa berntson says:

    How can even feel the least bit guilty about your trip when this was in the works for so long? Your husband ,Son and Mother will see he wants nothing so GO GO GO without guilt and come back with renew spirit to take on OUR needs.I know your Mother so go with open mind that every thing will be good or I’ll have coffee with her and discuss this.

  2. I was thinking of you when I wrote my lead article last night. I’ve been thinking of you a lot, because even though ours didn’t last quite as long I remember that consumption. I am glad you are going to meet that Mouse. You deserve it.

  3. Barb – you are in my thoughts. You are a Super Mom, a real Super Hero. What you, Carter and your entire family must endure on a daily basis is more than anyone should have to. As I have said before, I admire your strength and dedication to Carter and just making it through every single day. Relax, enjoy and rejuvenate this weekend. You have to take a break from it. For yourself and Carter. Take care of yourself. I’m looking forward to seeing you next week.

  4. Barb- I am so upset that I haven’t been up to date with all that is going on. You are one amazing mama… and friend… and I miss you!

    Carter is such a strong kid! Keeping you all in my thoughts and prayers.