Until two years ago, Laura Keating, of Elgin, IL, was perfectly healthy. Then one night the mom of two was rushed to the hospital with what she thought was a bad case of the stomach flu. Instead, she was diagnosed with a chronic disease called gastroparesis. Essentially, Keating explained to the Chicago Tribune, it means her stomach and intestines are paralyzed. She can't get food and has to get all of her nutrition from a feeding tube in her arm.
Her illness not only takes a physical toll, but an emotional one. She is frequently in the hospital, and sometimes is so exhausted she sleeps all day. Her two girls see all this and worry, Keating writes in an essay for The Mighty. They ask questions like "Why do we always have to sleep at Grandma and Grandpa's?" and "Why won't Mommy wake up?"
Eating out can also be difficult, Keating writes. Does she tell servers the truth or just say she's not ordering anything? Once she was at a restaurant with her family and told the server she didn't want to order anything. The server got the manager, who demanded that Keating pay for a kid's meal. When Keating responded, “But I’m not eating anything. I’m here to be with my kids,” the manager said, “Well, eating or not eating is a choice. I’m charging you for a kid’s meal.”
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That's when Keating's 4-year-old spoke up, her mom writes proudly. "I don’t think you understand. My mom has gastroparesis. She can’t eat or drink anything because it makes her sick. If she eats she could have to go to the hospital again. I really don’t want that to happen,” the little girl said.
The manager backed down--and avoided them for the rest of the meal. Needless to say, Keating and her husband were so proud of their daughter, and she was beaming at the way she helped her mom.
via The Mighty and ChicagoTribune.com
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