Family Obligations

IMG_8153A month ago, while we were having lunch in Japantown, my daughter started to cry. She had pain in her chest, pain so bad it frightened her.  We took her to the emergency room at the hospital where she was born.  They sent us on to Children’s Hospital.

Hours later, the diagnosis is that all the painkillers she has been taking for headaches over the last six months have starting chewing holes in her esophagus.  We left with two prescriptions and the assurance that her heart is healthy.

Four medicines later, the reflux pain is nearly gone.  The headaches aren’t responding as well. So far, none of the prescription medicines has made them stop. At this point, she’s taking three supplements and a prescription, but none of those prevented two bad headaches this past weekend.  We’ve seen a neurologist and an allergist, without getting any answers why her head hurts all the time.  We’ve got an MRI scheduled for next week.

Her grandfather suffered from allergy-triggered migraines, but all the doctors we’ve seen so far have shrugged that off.  Despite that — and because none of the medical suggestions have yet done any good at all — we’re trying an elimination diet to see if that will help.  This week she’s avoiding gluten, dairy, eggs, soy, things in the nightshade family, beans, citrus, and processed sugar.  She is determined to find some relief, so she’s committed.  I hope this will help.

We’re not to the end of things to experiment with, if it doesn’t.  I want her to come to the floatation tanks with me.  She thinks that sounds terrifying. There’s still acupuncture, massage, Chinese herbs…so many things we can try.

Dad011While we’ve been trying to sort this all out, my dad has been at the Cleveland Clinic, waiting for a new heart valve to replace the one they installed five years ago.  My mom has been staying alone in a hotel.  I want desperately to be with them, but I kept hoping that my daughter would feel better and be able to travel.  Instead, she’s regressing to the point that she doesn’t ever want to be alone.  One way or another, I will be back in Michigan before the end of the month.

Summers are always hard for me in San Francisco. The fog and the cold weigh on me.  The cure is to get out, walk in the light, see the ocean and trees, but it’s all I can do to pry my daughter out of bed.  Now I can’t even lure her out with the promise of a treat, because all treats are forbidden.

Wednesday is the 15th anniversary of my brother’s death.  His memory always hurts a little, but this summer, I could have really used his help. His absence feels like I’m missing a limb again.

I will survive this. I’m actually getting close to finishing the revision of Wish You Were Here, finally.  I’ve gotten back to the point where writing is an escape again.  My dad will either have another amazing medical reprieve, or he won’t. My daughter will eventually find some relief from her headaches and return to the amazing, talented, fun person she really is.  I believe that.  In the meantime, I know that depression lies.  It is my true enemy.  For the sake of my family, I will do what I have to, in order to fight it.

About Loren Rhoads

I'm the author of 199 Cemeteries to See Before You Die and Wish You Were Here: Adventures in Cemetery Travel, as well as a space opera trilogy. I'm also co-author of a series about a succubus and her angel. In addition to blogging at, I blog about my morbid life at
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4 Responses to Family Obligations

  1. Emerian Rich says:

    Hugz. Hang in there! Wish I could help in some way. Know I am sending good, healing thoughts your way.

  2. martha j allard says:

    Selfishly, I can’t wait to see you. I so want thiings to turn out for the best. I’m thinking about you all.

  3. In the midst of all of this, you have to take care of yourself too, Loren. You can’t be everywhere and fix everything. Do your best. You have your writing as an escape, I would think.

  4. owlwoman says:

    Excellent post, tho’ not an easy read. I think you hit the nail on the head – depression lies. We must all keep fighting!

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