Even Superheroes Need Heroes


Seven years ago almost to the day, Oliver had emergency surgery.

For three days, he’d been in agony with a sore throat.

The pediatrician suspected mono (glandular fever) which is rare in a three year-old but not unheard of.

We had to wait two more days to confirm the diagnosis.

After a night of almost no sleep, I was consumed with trying to help Oliver by driving him around for hours. A friend asked me why I couldn’t take him to the doctor.

I explained I had been told to take him back the next day. She almost yelled at me, ‘But they can do something for the pain!’

Good point.

So I did what doctor’s receptionists hate and I simply walked in with him and demanded to see a doctor.

Later with some pain medication that only took the edge off, Oliver slept as I drove some more. And then something happened.

His head started to tilt over.

By the end of the afternoon, he couldn’t lift his head straight up. If you’ve ever strained or hurt your neck, you will know that moving around, getting up and down is extremely awkward. And painful.

Oliver was watching Sesame Street with his head supported by the chair cushion and the only way he could get off the sofa was by sliding to the floor and then standing straight up. He had to walk sideways because his head was turned as well as tilted.

We went to the children’s hospital.

After we had convinced the nurse that he didn’t have a specialist, we hadn’t been there before and he wasn’t normally like this (I’ll never forget the look on her face when the penny dropped,) he received an MRI.

Blood tests showed he did, indeed, have mono but what was causing his head to tip over, which by now it was almost resting on his shoulder, was an abscess that had developed in his throat.

Swelling, now so great, was threatening to block his airway and suffocate him.

His own body, by doing it’s thing with the parasite, was risking death of the host.

The surgeon strode down the corridor with her male and female interns. White coats flapping, they looked like a more benign version of Batwoman, Robyn and Batboy coming to save the day.

She told us the problem, the solution, the impact. She was awesome. I just knew things would work out.

Oliver had his surgery and bounced back none the worse over the long haul.

And I learned several things that day.

There is nothing so likely to relieve a mother of her senses than seeing her child in extreme, unrelenting pain.

That when you have a child that’s suffering it’s important to have a network.  Another person to add logic and reason to the situation. To see beyond the immediate, to strategize.

And I learned that even superheroes need heroes. To defeat those enemies that even you can’t manage.

Try make sure you get a good one.

Do you have a story like this? Have you ever needed a hero? Did they appear or were you left languishing? Please leave a comment for me!

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I am participating in a Blog Every Day For 30 Days Challenge advocated by Chris Brogan. I am doing this with the lovely Mary Ulrich who writes for Parents and Caregivers of Adults with Disabilities at Climbing Every Mountain. Check her out!

{ 6 comments… read them below or add one }

Mary E. Ulrich
October 14, 2010 at 5:40 am

OMG, I don’t even want to think of what could have happened.

We have all been brought up to follow the rules and not cause any fuss. This backfires many times and could have been a horrible disaster.

I had a friend who had a similar situation about a bee sting. She called and called and the nurse was just a jerk. When the mom and child just showed up at the doctor’s office, the nurse looked at the little boy with the swollen body and said, “Well if I would have seen him, I would have given you an appointment.”


Congrats to you Alison for being the Superhero and helping your son.
Mary E. Ulrich recently posted..Nursing and Caring- 1945 vs 2010My Profile


Alison Golden October 14, 2010 at 9:41 am

My experiences in hospitals over the years have led me to believe we all need an advocate. We are not in the best place to do that when we are overwhelmed, worried or sick.


Giulietta Nardone October 19, 2010 at 9:45 am

Hi Alison,

Followed you over from Hannah’s, which I followed from Marie F’s. Love leaving comments on blogs I haven’t been to before.

Great post about superheroes. I agree! No one can be strong 24/7. It’s important to “lean” on others from time to time. Without the leaning, we can’t get close to each other.

Happy to hear your son is o.k.

Giulietta Nardone recently posted..It’s okayMy Profile


Alison Golden October 19, 2010 at 7:03 pm

Hi Giulietta:

That’s right about the leaning. We don’t get close. Good point. Thank you for stopping by. It’s funny how we network online, isn’t it? 🙂


May 18, 2011 at 3:54 pm

That is an amazing story, and I am grateful I do not have one similar, however, it is a testimony to trust our motherly instincts. Those doctors might have been superheroes, but truly you are the hero to your kids.
Amy recently posted..Cheesy Lasagna – An All-Time Kid FavoriteMy Profile


Alison Golden May 18, 2011 at 7:24 pm

Thank you, Amy. We went through quite the mill those few months. My other son caught meningitis. But it all turned out OK. 🙂


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