A Dangling Headphone

Reagan went exploring in the desert yesterday on his bike. As readers of this blog know, we've had many ups and downs with that bike.

The same is true with his health. Reagan continues to struggle with a vestibular disorder. He also has severe hearing loss in his left ear. I get a kick out of him. Every time he does the dishes he listens to music with the left headphone dangling.

Because we were clueless about the mold in our home, we took extreme measures when he first grew ill. I've chronicled his journey in this entry.

While we have much to learn about the chronic nature of his condition, we continue to see the importance of diet.

This fall we put Reagan on the same strict anti-fungal diet that had proven so helpful to our older kids and myself. No bread, no pizza, no grains of any kind, no sugar either. Not an easy transition for a growing 13-year-old boy.

By the third day, as predicted, he grew very very sick. The fungus was dying off. By the fifth day something was different. By the second week he looked better than he had in two years.

October 4th we went out to dinner. Reagan begged to go off the diet. He wanted a bun with his hamburger and the Luna bar he had been saving for the day.

He savored every moment of the meal. Even had some organic ice cream later in the night. Sometime after midnight, Reagan woke me up. It had been a while since I'd felt that tug on my foot. He was spinning. Close to vomiting. We walked into the kitchen. He struggled to keep his balance, and said, "It's my fault. It's all my fault."

"Honey," I said. "Most 13-year-old boys can eat hamburgers and Luna bars and ice cream. None of this is your fault. None of it."

And so we sat up together. Just like old times. "I can't believe I used to feel this way all the time," he sighed. "I just got so used to it." He shook his head in disbelief.

Then he started to talk about the past. For the first time in two years he talked about that first night he vomited. He asked if he ever vomited after that first night. I was astounded and grateful beyond words. He had forgotten! He talked about the doctors, the nurses, the rehab nurses, his teachers, the video games. He talked about missing school, his friends. And then he grew quiet.

"You know, the past is like a rear view mirror. If you look at it too long, you crash."

I found myself silenced by his wisdom. And encouraged by its truth.

It's easy for me to take my eyes off the road. Especially when it comes to our decisions early on.

The first thing Reagan asked for, after we bought his bike, was a rear view mirror.

I don't know where this path is taking Reagan. I know many roadblocks are on the horizon. He’ll get through them. So will we. We’re traveling this road with a listening heart. Even if one headphone is dangling.