By Cathy Jameson
I never liked Pink Floyd until I was an adult. As a child, I thought their music was ‘old people music’. I apologize for being so naïve. I liked several other artists from the 1960s and 70s when they were very popular when I was younger, but it wasn’t until I was an adult myself that I grew to appreciate Pink Floyd. I don’t know if it’s the lyrics, the instruments, the vocals or a combination of all of that that finally drew them to me. When I hear a Pink Floyd song now, I am immediately mesmerized so much so that I tune everything else out to listen to what’s coming from my speakers. That happened to me when I heard Us and Them last week.
Us (us, us, us, us) and them (them, them, them, them)
And after all we're only ordinary men
And you (you, you, you)
God only knows
It's not what we would choose (choose, choose) to do (to do, to do)…
Maybe it’s because I’m older, but the lyrics of that song speaks volumes to me now. I’m sure being the mom to a medically-fragile child has something to do with it, too. I didn’t choose what happened to my child, but consequences from events that I allowed, that contributed to long-term medical problems, affected him poorly. Those consequences affected both of us, and may continue to, for the rest of our lives.
In the beginning, I thought I could live with the outcome of what happened to Ronan. He lost skills. He lost the ability to speak. Since he had them once before, I figured I’d just work to reverse the damage the vaccines caused and get him those skills back. Ronan was young. Time was on our side. It was just a few vaccines. Surely, recovery was a possibility. And I thought I was being naïve about my taste in rock bands…ha! Recovery is possible for some individuals, but it hasn’t happened for my child. It is a hope for our family, but I have yet to find full restoration for my son.
Before my son got sick, I would’ve consider the people we were to be assigned to work with me on an Us and Them level. In the early years, we saw plenty of specialists and spoke to countless medical people. But the more intense things got as I looked for help and for answers, Hey, doc, could it be the vaccines that caused this??, it became an Us versus Them situation. It still is that way when I approach certain people, and I know that other parents have faced similar experiences.
Us Parents fighting The Establishment.
Be it a doctor, a nurse, a school nurse, a therapist, a school administrator, a teacher, or lately, a politician or elected official, some people take pleasure in saying no to moms like me. It takes a lot of patience, time, knowledge, and emotion to raise a special needs child. As time goes by, one would hope that things might have gotten a little bit easier. For parents in our community, it seems like some parts of life are getting harder. We’re not just fighting for our kids’ medical needs and educational needs like in the early days. These days, we’re also fighting for our rights, including ones that have already been established. Instead of going forward with some people who sit in positions of power, it feels like we’re going backwards. Until Us vs. Them dissolves, I don’t think we’ll get a chance to make too much progress. I do believe that it could be better for both sides. But the fact that there are “sides” negates that possibility.
Us and Them.
Will we ever be able to go back to that? Complete harmony hasn’t always existed in the world, but could we find time to have civil discussions? To see eye-to-eye? To treat each other with respect? To set vaccine differences aside? To work together and put children first? With how politicized everything has become, to include vaccinations, I think we’re a long way off from any sort of Us and Them relationship. They aren’t willing to work with Us. And we’re not going to jeopardize our kids or their health for Them. We did that once already. It’s something I know many parents will never allow to happen again.
Us vs. Them.
…who'll deny it's what the fighting's all about?
Out of the way
It's a busy day
I've got things on my mind…
When I heard it recently, I was once again mesmerized.
As I listened to one of my now favorite songs on the radio, I was whisked somewhere else and to some time else, where things were not so hard, where I never had to worry about expressing my convictions, when I never had to defend myself as much as I do today. I miss those days and pray they will return sometime soon.
Cathy Jameson is a Contributing Editor for Age of Autism.