I just spent an hour filling out the paperwork to register Austin for kindergarten, which I will do on Tuesday (finally). Yup, an hour, or mighty close to it. Part of that was due to the fact that they want so many mailed bills as proof of residence and I do most of my bill-paying online. But part of it, of course, was the darned medical history.
The twelve-zillionth question on the green sheet (not to be confused with the blue sheet, the purple sheet or the white sheet) asked, “Has your child ever had any operations or serious illnesses?” After the Yes/No boxes, there was a line with the heading “Explain.” The line was 6 1/2 inches long. Oh, sure, let me just use my microscopic handwriting and explain my child’s three-and-a-half year serious illness in 6 1/2 inches.
So I neatly wrote “Please see attached,” and then proceeded to type up a 370-word addendum.
I’m used to writing and telling Austin’s story, but I’m not used to doing it in a completely dry, emotionless manner. Which is what I did on the addendum (which is why it was *only* 370 words.) I simply started at the beginning with diagnosis, stated each chemo drug and surgery date, each recurrence and radiation treatment, the high blood pressure and the daily meds, the enlarged heart and the old VSD. No adjectives, no editorializing. And, god, it made me sad. I thought, “Who is this poor child? He sounds downright miserable, like his life’s been nothing but pain and misery.” I wanted to add a sentence or two at the end, like, “But he’s a perfectly regular kid!” but I realized it was irrelevant. I’ll do that for his actual teachers, who know him already as a perfectly regular kid. This sheet will sit in some dry, emotionless folder in a file cabinet at the Board of Ed and won’t actually mean anything to anyone anyway.
Because that sheet and those 370 medical words do not come close to representing my child.