Home » Uncategorized » News Media: Wrong child

News Media: Wrong child

This blog post is not about politics, but it does have a political tone because of the parties involved and my observation of a blown chance by the media to do some good for once. This is a critical statement on the mass media, not on any of the political candidates involved. For the record: I have respect for all four presidential and vice-presidential nominees. Further for the record: I believe the race is about the individuals and how they will lead our country, not about their individual family members. And lastly for the record: I am tired of hearing about this election, just give everyone a ballot Friday morning. {g}

I should have expected the news media to miss a great opportunity, but deep down I was hoping the media would have picked up on the issue of amazing parents raising children who are affected by the genetic condition of trisomy. In the case of Sarah and Todd Palin, their son Trig has trisomy-21 most commonly referred to as Down syndrome. Instead the media decides to drill into the pregnancy of their daughter Bristol.

Parents who have trisomy children face a slew of medical decisions and situations that I believe pale most challenges any parents face, including pre-marriage pregnancy. How would I know? Our son Paul was born 12 years ago with trisomy-18 (less commonly known as Edwards syndrome). Trisomy 21 and 18 are fundamentally the same thing, but significantly different results. Down syndrome children often live long somewhat normal lives. Trisomy 18 children have what the doctors described to us as a “life-incompatible” condition. No matter though, raising any trisomy child has its challenges and stresses.

Each time I see parents with trisomy children I recall the sleepless nights, the fights with the nurses and doctors, the give-comfort vs. extending life decisions, and putting a feeding tube down my son’s throat hoping I was reaching the stomach and not his lung. I believe we averaged less than 4 hours of sleep a night in the two months Paul was here. Our time with Paul is the reason my favorite movie quote is from Hans Solo in The Empire Strikes Back:

Han Solo: Never tell me the odds. (in response to C-3PO’s statement: Sir, the possibility of successfully navigating an asteroid field is approximately 3,720 to 1)

Each time we met with genetic doctors they explained the odds of survival to us. Same with the heart doctors (Paul’s heart effectively had three chambers instead of the four because of a huge ventricular septal defect (VSD)). The amount of stress it put on us did not kill us, so it only made us stronger, and *more* compassionate and understanding.

In the case of Joe Biden, the media focused on how great a dad Biden is for traveling hours each way to and from Washington. My hat is off to Mr. Biden for the choices he as made to provide the best life he could for his family. I feel this is further proof that the media is very biased and is working very hard to lean one way in their influence on all elections. Sickening.

I only have the highest respect for this family. It matters not to me that they are Republican or Democrat, caucasian or martian. They are human, earthlings just like the rest of us with real world problems. I am more amazed how this family decided with everything going on in their lives, that serving their country is something important too. I am not so sure too many other people on this planet would accept this challenge, yet have time to criticize the way they are raising their family.

8 Responses to “News Media: Wrong child”

  1. September 2nd, 2008 at 16:06 | #1

    Well said!!!

  2. September 2nd, 2008 at 21:48 | #2

    You hit it right on the nail! – I too am sick and tired of the media, and the constant division in the country, gosh can’t people look at the big picture or is it just me?

  3. Phil Sherwood
    September 3rd, 2008 at 07:34 | #3

    Bravo! You guys and parents like the Palins are the true American heroes. Talk about having to make life & death decisions at 3am…

  4. September 3rd, 2008 at 09:23 | #4

    Please accept my condolences on your loss, and my admiration for your strength. I raised a child with a life-threatening condition and developmental disabilities and I appreciate the pain and the joys such parenting brings.

  5. September 3rd, 2008 at 10:29 | #5

    Hi Phil,

    We are not heroes, we are parents. 3am, 4am, 5am… family emergencies have no tie to the space/time continuum. {g}

  6. September 3rd, 2008 at 10:31 | #6

    Thanks Ted, the experience in 20/20 hindsight was very important to our family, and one I would not trade for anything.

    Students going into ultrasound technology are still getting educated using some of the tapes recorded of Paul. One of my extended family no longer verbally abuses his grandchildren based on a visit to our house while Paul was here. Just a sample of things we know about. Good things came out of this experience for more than my family.

  7. September 3rd, 2008 at 12:36 | #7

    You go Rick!

    I think of how sad the Palin’s must be knowing that they have a rebel no matter how hard they have tried. You can only lead the the horse to water, you cannot make them drink. Only people without children could ever think that the Palin’s are hypocrites because their daughter did something outside of their beliefs.

  8. September 3rd, 2008 at 13:58 | #8

    Hi Rick,

    I agree, well put. Also sorry to hear of your loss.

    As for the stories on the Palin’s teen daughter, even there the media seems to miss the point. True character doesn’t mean that you never make mistakes or stupid decisions, but it’s how you respond to them. Since she is apparently owning up to her mistake and trying to do the right thing in it’s wake, that’s reason for her parents to be proud of her.

Add reply