Isaac gets a few stares when we go out, some we notice – I’m sure we miss a lot. Frequently a person looks at him, but they look just a second or two longer than normal… other times it’s blatant. Typically it doesn’t bother me, I always tell him it’s because he is beautiful (we all know he is!).
Tonight Isaac’s grandma and I took him to the mall. We rode the train in the mall, and waved wildly to everyone we passed. After our train ride we stopped to get some food in the food court. Isaac happily chewed on his small piece of chicken nugget, until he had a little choking episode. This resulted in him spitting chicken into mommy’s hand, while shooting mucus from his trach at the same time. The cough is quite loud, and obviously can attact attention. This happens at home a few times a week – we put our hand out and collect the chewed up food, and suction to make sure his trach his clear, then continue with dinner. I realized as I looked at the mortified young ladies at the table next to us, that this is not normal. I’m not sure if they actually finished their meal Of course, it would be nice if we could take Isaac away to deal with the madness, but when he is gagging we have to act. Sometimes it’s gross.
Later, we got on the elevator, with two men. One stared at Isaac the entire 45 seconds or so that we spent together. I suppose he actually stared at his trach, but it was pretty hard to miss.
I was a little bit frustrated by the stares, both in the food court and the elevator. I was feeling sorry for Isaac, and I suppose for me. Then I thought about it – Isaac didn’t even notice, he had no idea he had been stared at in any way.
He is such a happy little boy, and he goes about his day in such a positive way. Does staring mean anything? He IS a beautiful child, and he does have a tracheotomy. Does it matter whether they are staring because of his trach or his beauty? There really is no difference. It really doesn’t mean anything, maybe they walk away a little bit more educated and stare a little bit less at the next guy they see with a trach, maybe they don’t.
In the end, we have a happy little boy. A little boy who choked at dinner because he was eating chicken – yes, eating! My little boy, with the broken esophagus sat in the food court and chewed on a piece of chicken for 10 minutes, showing amazing drive to eat – that deserves some stares.