By Kimberly Haugstad
Last month, we spent the July 4th holiday at a festival on the Mississippi River about three hours from home. We packed for the trip with factor, snacks, tissues, and a pillow in the car. Our plan was to take a dinner cruise on a paddleboat and watch the fireworks from the river that night.
Like clockwork, life happens. Standing in line to board the La Crosse Queen River Boat, Ben gets a gusher of a nosebleed. I have exactly one tissue in my little purse. Of course there are two full boxes in the car just a mile away! Ben is great with nosebleeds; he gets them often and starts holding pressure right away. However, this one was an extra leaky one. We soon max out on the tissue and he’s dripping a bit down his hands and shirt. Not something we haven’t seen before, but Ben is 11 now and a little more sensitive about everything.
There I am, standing next to Ben, thinking of our options. Use his shirt now and buy a new one in the gift shop for later? Beg the boat crew to let us board early and hope there is a restroom on board? Tear off a little of my husband’s shirt and use that? I have never really liked that shirt of his anyway…
I’m embarrassed to admit that it honestly did not occur to me to ask anyone else in line with us for a tissue. We are so used to being on our own and relying on ourselves to figure things out that I was totally surprised when a sweet young man walked over to us and very gently handed Ben another tissue. He said, “No worries little buddy, I get them too”, and walked back to join his family in line. A minute later an elderly lady pushed a handful of tissues into my hand with a smile and a pat. We were now good to go!
These acts of kindness caught us off guard. No big deal made, no drama or questions about this kid who now had smeared blood all over his hands, down his arms and shirt as he held pressure to his nose with yet another tissue. There was simply a bit of gentle and genuine help and quiet support.
As I present around the country in my role as Executive Director of HFA, I speak often about supporting each other in our bleeding disorder community “family.” If another bleeding disorder family had been with us, I am certain I would have asked for help. But here I was unknowingly isolating us and missing something bigger. Our national family is larger than the 20,000 people in this country known to have a bleeding disorder; it’s 313 million strong as a nation. It was a perfect holiday lesson about our country and unity!
Oh, it took most of those tissues and about 20 minutes, but we got that nose under control and yes, in Momma-mode I managed to save one clean tissue – for the next time!
Kimberly lives in Wisconsin with her husband, Howard, and boys Ben (11) and Jonnie (9).
*Note: “Infusing Love: A Mom’s View,” is a blog collection of personal opinions and a representation of individuals experiences. While extensive efforts are made to ensure accuracy of the content, the blog entries do not represent HFA or its Board of Directors. The blog is also not intended to be construed as medical advice or the official opinion/position of HFA, its staff, or its Board of Directors. Readers are strongly encouraged to discuss their own medical treatment with their healthcare providers.