05 August 2011


I've learned that people will forget
what you said, people will forget
what you did, but people will never forget
how you made them feel.
- Maya Angelou
(from a book my mom gave me about moms)

We went to Cornell/Columbia - Presbyterian today for a second opinion with their neurology department.  We got there early for our 10am appointment and sat down in a huge waiting room.  Since Lula is on Medicaid her appointments are all relegated to clinics. Thus, huge waiting rooms full of the poorest and the sickest being ministered to by the best and the brightest, the overachievers who want to help the world and maybe also get a BMW.  It sets up a sort of caste system that I have never felt so acutely before.

Anyhow, as we were waiting a woman sitting near us got into a heated argument with someone on her cell phone. From what I gathered she thought some of her family members were conspiring to call ACS (Administration for Children's Services) to have her children taken away from her. She became increasingly agitated and abusive, until she unleashed a stream of profanities into the receiver.  Staff members asked her to keep her voice down, and then to leave, which she completely disregarded.  All the while her little boy calmly traced a pattern from the chair, across to the magazines, over to the water cooler, then up to the chair again to stare out the window.  He was not the slightest bit upset by his mom's behavior, so I guessed that it was pretty typical.  

The worse she acted, the sweeter he behaved.  He started bringing Sam and I little plastic cups full of water, one after the other, as security was called up and the waiting room was gradually emptied of everyone but his mother, who was by then furious, humiliated and rabidly insulting everyone.  She was wildly inappropriate, but honestly I think if the right person had sat down and listened to her she would have calmed down her anger would have dissolved into fear and sadness pretty quickly. Instead she felt ganged up on by everyone.

Surprisingly no one addressed the little boy at all, and it seemed like he really needed to be given something to do. I asked for some crayons which they couldn't find, so I got a highlighter and some paper. I asked if he wanted to draw something and so he drew me and then he drew Sam.

Here we are:

Micaela by Damien

Sam by Damien

I am certainly no art therapist, but he began furiously drawing circles and I couldn't help but see it as a release of anxiety.  He was very attentive to drawing our eyebrows too. He had such a sweet, sad little face I wanted to take him home with me. Thankfully the police showed up and were somehow able to calm Damien's mom down and persuade her to leave.

We were finally seen by neurology, who want to admit Lula to Cornell at some point in the next few weeks to do more tests.  We explained why we were so unhappy with our other neurologist and they seemed to get it, but we'll see. No matter what tests they do they need to see Lula as a person first and foremost.  I think everyone deserves that.

Goofing off in the neurologists office

1 comment:

  1. Wow, micaela, what a story. It makes my heart feel up in my throat. And a very cute picture of your manicorn with lula. What a load of stuff, its so hard to know how to approach it all.