My dad's 49-year-old cousin Jamie was treated for seizures when he was 1.5 years old, and the doctors at the hospital gave him an overdose of codeine. They didn't wait to check with my granduncle and grandaunt, whom were out on a date night and having my grandaunt's sister babysit Jamie, and this was despite that Jamie is allergic to codeine.
As a result of the codeine overdose, Jamie got Cerebral Palsy and had his development stop right then and there. My granduncle and grandaunt were gracious and merciful about it, understanding that my grandaunt's sister tried her best by taking Jamie to the hospital. They also gave the doctors the benefit of the doubt, and they opted to not put him in a Pennsylvania state hospital or school (and this was three years before Willowbrook in New York was exposed).
I can only imagine the "What might've been?" and "Why did this happen?" questions that they've had, and especially since Granduncle Jim's endured a lot of other losses along with Jamie's loss of a normal life. Even before he lost the chance to see Jamie have a normal life, he lost his uncle (my great-granduncle) Bernie (of blessed memoryy) only years before (and Great-Granduncle Bernie had a botched shrapnel-removal operation that resulted in his having brain damage and resulting regression to a child-like state); and he lost his father (my great-grandfather Anthony Czarnecki, whom was a very-difficult man and -abusive father) due to Depression-affected suicide in the year after Great-Granduncle Bernie died at the Veteran's Affairs Home and Hospital in Lebanon, Pennsylvania due to a Coronary Occlusion as a result of a Schizophrenia flareup (and perhaps Granduncle Jim and even other relatives—and I myself recently—have wondered if Great-Granduncle Bernie didn't actually have a DVA-forced lobotomy that did damage similar to the damage that Jamie's codeine overdose did).
As for some of the losses after Granduncle Jim's having to deal with Jamie's loss of a normal life:
- His brother (my granduncle) Francis (of blessed memory) died at the age of 45 due a heart attack and Alcoholism in 1985.
- His brother (my granduncle) Tony died unexpectedly in 2014 at the age of 68—and being almost four years older than him, he expected to be outlived by him.
- His daughter, Denise, has never married or had children due to suspending much of her life to help care for her older sibling—so, he's also watched as Denise has lost a chance to live a normal life.
- He nearly lost his own life when he could've died due to a fall that he had from a letter in 2007, when he was trying to clean some eggs that some punks had thrown onto his roof.
As for Grandaunt Annie, she's endured both losses of her own losses that she and Granduncle Jim have shared. Meanwhile, both Granduncle Jim and Grandaunt Annie are in their 70s, and both of them are probably wondering what they're going to do in terms of what happens with Jamie when each of them dies—and what happens, if Denise, who's now in her 40s, and/or other relatives can't and/or won't take care of Jamie after they are gone?
Thus, I think that Granduncle Jim and Grandaunt Annie—and perhaps especially Granduncle Jim—can relate to that feeling of never being able to have an empty nest and especially never being able to watch each of their children live a normal life, let alone having children and grandchildren that'll someday live their own normal lives.
PS To Miriam Sokol, let me add to the following:
"I didn't know that, for example, my dad's 49-year-old cousin is a "difficult child". But what do I know? That overdose that he had on codeine when he was 1.5 years old must've been his fault. Never mind that the doctors at the hospital didn't wait to check with my granduncle and grandaunt before they tried to treat him due to his seizures."
What I want to add is this:
Jamie is not at all a "difficult child" (and neither is every other child or adult whom's afflicted with especially-severe physical and intellectual disabilities). In fact, Jamie is a very-sweet and -loving person (as I remember from when I and my side of my family would see other sides of the family every year that we could up to Pennsylvania to visit my great-grandmother, of blessed memory).