Sometimes life can trigger unexpected emotions that one can not control. For me, that was watching one lonely tear roll down my daughter’s cheek as she waited for three of her teeth to be extracted. More than anything, I wanted it to be me laying back in that chair. I wanted it to be me, scared for the pinch of the needles. I wanted it to be me anxiously waiting for the unknown to be in the past. And then it hit me…This is how my parents must have felt at each and everyone one of my painful appointments I had as child. And before I knew it, the memory of the most painful day of my life ran through my mind as though it was yesterday.
As a very young girl facing yet another test, my father stood up by my head and my mother stayed toward my feet. Looking at their brave little girl, a tech explained the test to all of us.
“They will be placing needles into the nerves of Jean’s foot which will send electric currents through her legs. If she feels pain, it means her nerve endings work.”
Without warning, the tech began with my right foot, which caused me to flinch with pain. “It hurts,” I cried. The currents immediately went through my right foot again.
“This time I need you to tip your toes towards your head, sweetie,” the tech informed me.
I obeyed the tech’s request, and cried out in more pain. The cry was bitter-sweet to my daddy’s ears.
“Okay,” the tech said, “We’re done with that foot. Now, we just have to do this on your left foot. Then we’ll be all done.”
“No,” I whimpered as a tear rolled down my right cheek.
My dad bent down and whispered in my ear, “You squeeze my hand as much as you think it hurts, and then I’ll feel the same amount of pain as you. If you do this today, I promise that you will never have to do this test again.” He gently removed the tear from my cheek with his thumb.
“Okay,” I looked at my dad with all the trust in the world.
The technician began again. I held my breath while squeezing my Dad’s rough hands as hard as I possibly could.
As I think back to the fire running through my legs during that horrible test, I can’t help but be grateful that I was the one on the table. Yes, I was a strong little girl who could get through the physical pain, but to be the parent and watch your child suffer through countless tests would be far more than I could ever handle. I not only feel blessed to have three healthy children, but I am also fortunate to have strong, loving parents who never once showed me how terrified they must have really been.