Being that our kids are back in school, I thought it might be a good time for the rest of us to catch up on some reading. If you’re like me, you have a book wish list that would choke a Kindle. So you’re probably not looking for anything new to add to your reading repertoire. But I’m going to tell you about a fantastic book anyway, that I believe every parent should read. It’s called In Pain We Trust, written by my dear friend and fellow parent, Vicki Whiting and her (now 18-year-old) son, Kevin Whiting.
Even though I’m known for my sense of humor, I’ll confess that In Pain We Trust is not a funny book. However, it is an important book on family health care advocacy that has some poignant, light moments (scattered amongst the drama) that make you smile in spite of what happens.
Nominated for an International Book Award, In Pain We Trust is a mother’s battle to save her son from a little-known, life-threatening disease than no one, not even so-called medical experts, could diagnose properly. However, they could (and did) misdiagnose it all over the place.
When Vicki’s son, Kevin, was 13 he started having extreme stomach pain, accompanied by vomiting, fatigue, and severe weight loss. It was like he had the flu, but ongoing and getting worse. If Kevin kept losing weight at this rate, he would die. Doctors told Vickie that Kevin had everything from bulimia to ulcers. But all the treatments they tried were unsuccessful, and as a result Kevin’s weight continued to melt away like butter in a hot pan.
The fire that fueled In Pain We Trust
Fed up with how doctors were failing her son, Vickie shifted into fighting mama mode and ferociously took on an equally failing health care system. Refusing to accept “I don’t know” as an answer Vickie and Kevin (and the rest of their family) embarked upon a journey that pitted them against bureaucratic insurance companies, hospitals, and doctors; all the elements that are supposed to be on your side in times of a medical emergency.
This is a tale of health care advocacy that should not be missed, especially if you’re a parent. The good news is you have way more power than you think when it comes to being an active participant in your family’s health care. The bad news is sometimes you have to claw your way through the rubble of a family crisis to find it.
Or you could just read In Pain We Trust.
And not to worry, at the end of this bumpy ride, Kevin emerges victorious. I’m not giving anything away by telling you this because In Pain We Trust is a memoir written in first person by both Vickie and Kevin. So you know from the beginning that Kevin finally gets the proper health care he needs. It’s the journey that matters in this story. The beginning and end are merely bookends that keep everything grounded in reality, even in the face of a parent’s frustration.
Because there’s nothing worse than watching your kid suffer and feeling like there’s nothing you can do about it. In this case, Vicki metaphorically became one of those moms who lifted a car off her son…because it came to a point where she had no other choice but to do so.
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Stacy Dymalski is a stand-up comic who gave up the glamorous life of coach travel, smokey comedy clubs, and heckling drunks for the glamourous life of raising kids (who happen to be bigger hecklers than the drunks). This blog is her new stage.
For more of Stacy’s comedy check out her hilarious book Confessions of a Band Geek Mom available in paperback and on Kindle on Amazon.com.