The “Things Could Be Worse” Guide to Parenting

My daughter, husband, and I are walking against the flow of foot traffic coming into the Denver Children’s Hospital. We feel like the lucky salmon who successfully swim against the current as we escape the building and feel the heat of the sun on our faces. We have just finished a 4½-hour appointment with the eosinophilic disease team to discuss my daughter’s persistent abdominal pain and slow weight gain. While longer than most, this has been one of countless appointments over the past five years, and we will return next week for more tests.

My daughter is sick. Not in the gut-wrenching, unimaginable way of cancer, terminal illness, or rare genetic conditions, but rather in the annoying way. The way in which we can go for hours, sometimes days, without thinking about it, until she curls up on the couch and says, “My tummy hurts.” The way in which she takes three daily doses of medication that must be kept refrigerated. The way in which I am constantly reminded of the privilege of being able to attend to her illness.

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