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My Medicine

Last weekend, my son had and allergic reaction and went into anaphlyaxis.  I rushed him to the hospital where I was quickly pushed aside while an ER team immediately began working on him and ultimately, putting him on a ventilator. Once it was done and I could see even the doctor give a sigh of relief, my husband and I then awaited the arrival of the critical care team from our local children's hospital to transport him.  It was then that I began to document what was happening in photos.  I needed to.  I've said many times that my camera has been my saving grace. I couldn't do anything else at that time and it was the only thing I felt I had any control over. 

Fortunately, my son made a quick and complete recovery and once we were home, I uploaded my photos into a set on Flickr.  I wanted to share them and I was hesitant at first because I wasn't sure how people would respond to the rawness of the photos, but I wanted, needed, for others to see, to understand.   I then shared them on a Facebook allergy page that I follow regularly.  The owner of the page contacted me and asked if she could share them with others because she thought it was important to do so.  I said yes and didn't give it another thought. 

Immediately my inbox began filling up with messages from people all over the country that I did not know.  Some shared their similar stories with me, others just wanted to tell me that they were glad everything had turned out okay, but all of them thanked me for sharing my photos with them.  It was at that moment that I knew I did the right thing.  As of this writing, those 10 photos have been viewed over 4500 times. 

How many times have you taken a photo that really didn't mean much to you but to someone else it meant so much more?  How many times have you heard, Oh my gosh, I love that photo!  Can I have it?!  I've said many times that I believe everyone brings their own medicine to this world.  Next time one of your photos touches someone, take a moment and realize that perhaps your photography is your medicine, too. 

Today, share those photos that have may have been your you or to someone else.

Reader Comments (10)

Thanks for sharing your story and so glad to hear your son is fully recovered, tough boy! Recently, taking back up photography and starting a blog has been healing for me, certainly my medicine! Having to give credit to the sisters here!
April 10, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterGabriela
Amazing that you had the presence-of-mind to step back and photograph what was happening. And - it really is a surprise as to what images people connect to..and why. My images tend to be less documentary..altho this one is of this Canada Goose who has not budged...but just sits day after day - warming her nest:

So glad to hear your son is doing okay.
April 10, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterMarcie
I had a woman connect with an image of a Raven which gave her solace after her cat died. I was so glad she was able to find comfort in it.
April 10, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterKathryn Dyche Dechairo
different but similar situation, your post made it all come back, thanks
April 10, 2012 | Unregistered Commenterrakusribut
My comment is long, but I just want to share too (pictures and sharing are medicine)! I’m so glad your boy is okay!

My 2 ½ year old little girl also has some food allergies. Her first reaction was when she was almost 2. I had never given her peanut butter (her dad has severe allergies so I was cautious introducing food). But on vacation I decided to try and give her a mini pb cup. I know now that I never should have done it on vacation and without close access to Benadryl. I was cautious (I gave her only 1)- but at the time, I wasn’t knowledgeable. Luckily my baby didn’t stop breathing, but after 10 minutes she started violently throwing up for the next hour. How lucky we were that she didn’t quit breathing!
I took her to the allergist when we got home and had her tested. She is allergic to peanuts but she has the most severe allergy to walnuts (tree nuts). If a small bit of peanut butter gave her that severe of a reaction, I don’t even want to know what walnuts may do to her! I consider it a blessing that I now have more knowledge - she’s only 2 ½ and I know that I have to carry Benadryl and epipens and I pray to God I never have to use them!

With all that said, I also document everything with pictures. I'm a working mom and although my friends tease me for the enormous amount of pictures I post, I don't regret it one bit! It's my way of making the time slow down. It is absolutely my medicine for the sadness and guilt I sometime feel when I have to leave my baby and go to work each day.
April 10, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterAshley
So glad to hear that your son made a full recovery.

After the terrorist attacks in Oslo on July 22nd last year, I coped through my photography. I wasn't personally affected by the attacks in the sense that I didn't know anyone who was killed, but it was an attack on my city and my opinions and my way of life in such a way that it I felt it heavily even so.

Shooting - and writing words to go with my images - helped me so much:
April 10, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterJennifée
Thank you so much for sharing your heartfelt story today...much food for thought. Very relieved to read that your son came through just fine.

These are my *two* greatest medicines:
April 10, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterSweetpea
So sorry to hear of your son! How frightening it must have been - am glad he's ok. Photography is very powerful I've always thought, I've seen others' photos which resonate very strongly with me.
April 10, 2012 | Unregistered Commenteremma
a few weeks ago i took a photo of my grandfather's hand during his 90th birthday party. the photo was taken quickly...and with my phone. when i wrote a blog post relating to it i was blown away by the comments i received. i knew i had a connection to the image, but to read other people's reaction was incredible. i had no idea people would connect so personally with the photo.

and most importantly...very happy to read that your son is okay.
April 10, 2012 | Unregistered Commentertamara
I have always thought of my photos and photo journey as my medicine, Chris, but it never hit me so clearly that is might also be that for someone else until reading your post. You give me renewed energy and the hope that in some small one, something I capture might touch someone, move someone as deeply as it moves me.

I documented an ER visit with my youngest daughter when she was 5 years old after she was bitten by a dog at the park. I was surprised that, seeing how it was a bite on her lower lip, that no one at the ER took any pictures, so I grabbed my point and shoot and started documenting. I took pictures of her healing every day. The young plastic surgeon that sewed her up did such a great job. I took the set of photos with me to the follow up visit when the stitches were taken out. The senior doctor saw my daughter before the young lady who'd done the work came in. She was so excited when she saw my girl and started rapidly talking to the older doc about what she had done. When she finished, the doc handed her the pics I'd taken. I told the docs that I had a set at home and they were welcome to keep the photos - that young lady doc snatched those photos out of the other docs hand and said, I want them! I was surprised. She was so pleased with her work (as was I!) and I was happy for her to have them.

This is one image I shot during the recovery period, it only shows a small part of the stitch work but it is one my all time favorite images.
April 10, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterSiobhan Wolf

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