Unless you follow me on Twitter and was able to decipher the message I sent on Monday night which read…

Feeling very grateful for friends tonight. Especially the ones who know all about brains. @GKAguirre – thank you, the sequel.

… you probably have no idea that we had a second neurological “emergency” with Noah earlier this week.  In fact, as I write this post, I am fairly certain that this event is news to Grammy and Papa (Dave’s parents) because when I asked if he happened to call and fill them in, he shrugged and said, no. (Yeah, really)  So a few points to be made here:

1. The fact that I am blogging about this event should be a strong signal to my dear in-laws that all is OK, and that the experience was nothing like the one we had last month which shook me to my core. Short version of the recent events:

Upon returning from camp on Sunday, Noah informed us on Monday afternoon that he could only smile on one side of his face…  oh, and that he couldn’t close his left eye all the way…. and, by the way, only one eyebrow moves… and he has been feeling like this since, ahem Saturday. He then suggested that maybe we should “wait it out and see what happens.”  I can’t be sure, but I think Dave actually considered Noah’s recommendation as an option. I had a slightly different approach which was to bury my guilt for not noticing in that deep dark place in my heart and start calling doctors, beginning with Geoff (neurologist extraordinaire) who basically diagnosed Noah’s condition over the phone but told us to head down to Children’s Hospital (CHOP) ER for an exam and treatment.  Geoff’s suspicions were right on target and Noah was diagnosed with Bells Palsy, a treatable condition caused (most likely) by Lyme disease.  We returned home with a few prescriptions that will allow his face to start moving again and not resemble a Botox job gone horribly wrong.   He will be fine.

2. Because the episode was only a few hours from start to finish AND the fact that he will be fine, we didn’t tell many people.  In fact, I can count on one hand those who we shared the experience with, two who were neurologist friends.

We didn’t tell anyone else – including a few people who share our DNA — because we didn’t want them to worry.  Not telling seemed easier for everyone.  But, as I reflected on our decision to stay mum, I came to the conclusion that we were wrong. And selfish.

Informing someone that you are sick or suffering demonstrates an intimacy that you share with a precious few.  If someone I loved were going through something scary or painful, I would be tremendously hurt if they kept it from me, even if their intentions were well meaning. Years ago, my Dad had a hernia operation without telling any of us kids.  When he finally shared that this procedure had been done, we all raised our eyebrows and secretly wondered why we weren’t worthy of this information before he went in for the surgery.  Were we not trustworthy?  Would we make bad hernia jokes?  What would it take for us to get HIPAA privileges?

His response to our question was familiar:  He didn’t want us to worry.  But worrying, I have found, is something that people who love one another do together.  You sign up for worrying when you get married and commit fully to it when you have children.  And along the road of life, you meet people who want to wring their hands next to yours, and vice versa.

Granted there are those loved ones in our lives with whom sharing certain pieces of information may not be advisable.  Forgetting to call the gossipy sibling, the doomsday grandparent, or the indifferent friend from the ER is a smart approach.  But for those who have the capacity to react appropriately and with compassion, you owe them a call.

Had Noah’s condition been more serious, would we have called all those we love and trust? Absolutely. Should we have called them when we weren’t sure what was wrong? Absolutely.  This was our bad and we will do better next time with one caveat:  I hope there won’t be a next time.

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