Welcome to Siberia

Posted: July 29, 2011 in Cystic Fibrosis
Tags: , , , , , , ,

Hold on, little one.My son had a rough start into this world. He was over 6 weeks early and, as we would later learn, in distress. We lived amongst the halls of Childrens’ Hospital in the crisp fall months of 2002. I won’t go too deep into details this go-around but I will attempt a visual of my experience…..


For many years you have imagined visiting Hawaii. The breath-taking landscapes, the crystal clear waters and feeling the sun warm your cheeks. You start planning and saving for
this tropical paradise, dreaming of what you will do and the people you will meet. Finally, you have pinched enough pennies to afford a trip. Elated, you shop and pack and pack some more. How many bathing suits? How many bottles of sunscreen? Do I need a new pair of sunglasses? And so on and so on. Until your day of departure has finally arrived. You are glowing. You can hardly contain your excitement!

The airport is miraculously a breeze. Check-in is quick, the lines seem to speed along and even security is pleasant as you make your way to your gate. You settle in after boarding, resting your head on the back of your seat, close your eyes and anxiously await your paradise. You gently nod off in your daydreams, a gentle smile graces your face.

“Please return your trays to their upright positions and buckle your seatbelt. The captain has notified us that we should be landing shortly.” Hawaii! Oh, how exhilarating! It’s time! You have waited so long! I bet it simply just smells different! Is it going to be like the movies and a woman is awaiting every passenger’s exit, placing a lei over their head as they exit?

You joyfully grab your carry-on and await your turn to exit the plane. Slowly you move towards the door and attempt to peek around heads and shoulders hoping to get just one tiny glimpse. Your counting down now. Only five people ahead of me, now four, now three…

And finally, you have arrived to the exit of the plane. You stand in the doorway wanting to breathe it all in at once, bask in all it’s glory. You stand there, eyes closed, waiting. A breeze lifts your hair and kisses your cheeks, but strangely it doesn’t feel warm and welcoming as you had imagined. It was a chilly breeze. One that forces you to wince in shock and discomfort. As you slowly peel your eyes open they resist at the brightness, not of the glowing sun and blue skies but of white, crisp snow and overcast clouds glaring above you.

How could this be? What happened? Am I dreaming? Some one has made a mistake! This can’t be right! You are greeted by name and welcomed to Siberia…wait, what?! You protest. You pull out your ticket, yes, see, Hawaii.

“No ma’am. There has been a correction, this is your final destination and no return flights are offered. No doubts and no refunds. Buh-bye.”

Packed and dressed for the hot summer weather, you shake in the chill. You stand, stunned and confused. In your daze, your luggage is tossed from the plane and closes its doors and begins to taxi away. Leaving you. Stranded and alone. The other passengers have dispersed. While they seem just as confused as you, they pay you no attention and scramble to find shelter and comfort from the cold. It’s just you and this suitcase of swimsuits and sun-hats, all of no use in this unfamiliar and desolate place.

In the days and weeks and months to come, you learn how to manage your new residence and way of survival. You have clawed, scrounged and fought through it all and now even seem to have found a rhythm and an acceptance of your fate. You still daydream and wonder about Hawaii. What if I had made it there? What would I be doing? How different things would be….

And so, this has been my path. Or, at least, the beginning of it. The harsh reality and eventual acceptance and ownership of a plan gone wrong, a destination never reached. Within hours of my son’s birth he was wisked to emergency surgery; and after a long recovery and many tests, my first born child was diagnosed with Cystic Fibrosis. I would later learn through consultations and reading material what this meant for him, for me and for our family……Welcome to Siberia.


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