Every tomorrow has two handles. We can take hold of it by the handle of anxiety, or by the handle of faith. ~Henry Ward Beecher
Yesterday I received a phone call from the Intake Coordinator at Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital: my older son’s application for intake into their Eating Disorder (ED) clinic was reviewed and he had been approved for an appointment with a Clinical Assistant Professor to review his case and diagnosis.
I was relieved to receive the phone call, although, not surprised as the ED clinic had called me two weeks prior to review and confirm our health care insurance.
I was shaking and excited as I took notes: The appointment, set for mid-April, would be two hours long. I was told to plan to arrive 20 minutes beforehand to complete the paperwork. The appointment would entail a review of the patient’s history of eating issues, interview of the patient with parents, interview with just the parents, an interview with the patient.
As I continued to take notes, the Intake Coordinator made a statement that made me stop. I asked her to repeat what she had just said.
“If we are unable to treat your son, we will refer you.”
My heart fell.
“For what?” We’ve tried everything!” my mind screamed because we had, we had tried everything possible to help get my son to eat.
Instead, I thanked her for clarifying and then finished the call.
I shared the news about the appointment with my husband and son, including the fact there was no guarantee of treatment and the possibility of a referral.
“A referral for what?” they both said in unison.
We were all on the same page: this really was our last resort.
“I have no idea. We can choose to worry over what that could mean, or we can choose to have faith and be optimistic” I replied.
Saying it out loud is like setting a stake in the ground, reminding me to be completely optimistic, not cautiously optimistic as I had every time we tried a new way to help my son move past his eating issues.
Neurotherapy has helped him make some progress. Two weeks ago, I was on Burlingame Avenue with my son.
“What is that smell?” he asked.
“It’s Five Guys Burgers,” I told him.
“It smells appetizing” he replied.
I think he was just as surprised as I was.
I asked if he wanted to try a burger. The answer, of course, was “No.”
I felt a glimmer of hope, the smell was appetizing, not revolting to him. He used to cover his mouth and nose, using the sleeve of his hoodie to block out the smell of food, but since neurotherapy, the smell of food has been less annoying: he can sit through dinner with his burrito, while the rest of us eat a meal that, in the past, would have assaulted and violated his olfactory system.
I am not going to worry unnecessarily about my son’s acceptance into the program but instead, continue to grab the handle of faith. I know we will find a way for my son to overcome ARFID so that he will feel comfortable in social situations, continue to grow, develop, and be healthy.
Amid all this, I feel like my Mom is watching over us; she always worried about my son and his issues around food. Faith tells me she is guiding us to a solution. And that handle feels comfortable in my hands.