Wednesday, December 30, 2009

The other side of down syndrome

The geneticist who handed over my son's trisomy report was a horrible person. I'm not saying this just because of the list of things he was so sure my son would never be able to perform. ( I'm so surprised how education makes some people assume the role of God that they think they can go about predicting the future of people whom they consider 'lesser beings') He went a step beyond that and wanted us to take up the issue with my gynecologist for not educating us about the down syndrome test during my pregnancy so that we could have done the 'needful' to avoid the birth ( Ok, with a great effort I'm now controlling myself from using abusive language against him)!

This post isn't about what happened that day. I'd probably write about that story some other day. This is about the other side of down syndrome which he failed to tell us on that day. This is something that we are learning in our everyday journey with our son. Ok, let me tell this with a story that happened recently.

As you all know, Vignesh was in the PICU a few days back. Sometimes, my husband or I would leave him with the nurse for a few minutes to catch a meal or change shifts between us. And, most of the times when we are back, there would be a big group of nurses on Vignesh's bedside. Actually, the first time my husband saw this, he panicked. He thought something was wrong and ran to see that they had all come to play with my son.

There is about 5 or 6 beds in the PICU arranged in a straight row. So, the doctors just keeping moving up and down the room. And, almost everytime the senior consultant doctor passed my son's bed, she would stop, smile at him, and baby talk. I'm not sure if I gave her some odd look or she just felt like explaining it, she told me that she is not able to pass my son without talking to him or smiling at him.

There is a whole lot of people from infection control department to technicians who would come and play with him. At a certain point, it bothered me. He was having so many visitors that I began to worry about infections.

And, one day I was just walking outside to grab a cup of coffee. A lady from housekeeping came to me and asked if I was Vignesh's mother and how he was doing. I go to pharmacy and people ask me about my son. And, a person from guest relations department came and told me that my son was very famous there.

And, when he was leaving the hospital, all the nurses in the HDU in the shift were there to wave him bye.

A few doctors like his ENT visited him and specially mentioned to the nurse not to charge for the visit since it was more of a casual visit to see him and not for any specific medical reasons.

My son was in the hospital for about 15 days and his pediatrician would visit Vignesh at least twice everyday. He refused to charge us even for a single visit.

All these might seem like a brag and exaggeration. Its a brag, yes! But, definitely not a exaggeration. So, wondering whats the whole point? Its a huge and probably the biggest hospital in my city. These nurses, doctors, technicians or the cleaning staff see so many patients everyday. I don't know for what reason, for a lot of these people Vignesh wasn't just another boy. He was special and he was treated with special love and care. Few of them knew about his down syndrome and a few didn't. But, it did not matter. They loved him for what he was, the way he was.

Whether they knew it or not, I guess it is the extra chromosome that was at work. I have seen it so many times on so many blogs. How the designer chromosome could cause an infectious smile that could easily brighten a person and win over hearts! How some gynecologist or geneticist advocating against down syndrome turn a blind eye towards the this beautiful side is just beyond me!


  1. Well said Sumithra!
    He is a joy, he is beautiful,and his smile is infectious.
    How could one not love him!


  2. I'm teary after reading your post because it is this side, which eclipses all the negative assumptions, that shines so brightly in our lives. How wonderful that Vignesh can make someone stop and take notice of beauty.

    Simply put, I think Vignesh has a beauty about him that captures everyone! And I only get to see him from your blog.

    Just recently, I emailed your blog to my SIL (Gabe's Auntie R) because I wanted to share the beauty of Vignesh.

    I agree with Lisa. How could anyone not love him!♥