Every night at 10:00 the hospital intercom announces that is it “Quiet Time.” The announcement tells us that we should turn off phones and keep talking to a whisper because quiet is good for healing. It is a nice message and it makes me feel like I am living in some type of new age commune. The word, “healing” stands out because over these many weeks the concept of healing is on my mind. Max’s body has healed beautifully, the physical effects of major surgery have worn off, and he is himself for the most part. However, he does have an entirely new nervous system, spine/brain connection and different patterns of movement. As of today, we are told that it is time to go home and continue the process of healing on our own – a wonderful step in the right direction.
Nevertheless, I am confused by the healing that is to be seen in Max. He will return home healed from the actual surgery itself, nothing but a long scar running down his back, but he is not healed. Healing in my mind is a return to the state you were in before your illness, injury, or accident. It assumes a return to the state of un-harm. The progress that has been documented is away from the ravages of surgery, to a sense of health, but Max is not healed. He is not who he was before, he is not independent, and he cannot do things he did before – YET. But, the truth is that we don’t want him to be healed back to what he was. We did this surgery to change his physical existence from what it was into what it could be. And then, even if the surgery is ultimately the greatest success of our lives, Max will still be a person who is not un-harmed. His CP is forever going to be his challenge. He will never “recover” from it.
We want healing from the trauma of surgery, not to be what he was, but rather to be something different, to be more than before but accepting of disability. Is that healing or is it something else all together?