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What My Nurse Didn't Understand About Adults With Down Syndrome

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The other day I was at the doctor for a well-woman exam and the nurse was asking routine questions. Somehow the fact that my son has Down syndrome came up. I did my usual gushing about how awesome he is and how much he’s changed my life for the better. She left, then after the doctor came and went, she came back in the room. She was silent for a while and then like she couldn’t hold it in anymore, and like she had been thinking about it for the last 20 minutes, she blurted out, “Wow, that’s really awful. You are going to have a baby for the rest of your life.”

So many things flashed through my mind in that moment. I could have schooled her on all the incredible things that adults with Down syndrome are doing. I could have told her all about the college students that Ruby’s Rainbow has given scholarships to. I could have told her about all the business owners who have Down syndrome and run extremely successful businesses. I could have told her about all the people with Down syndrome who get married or who live with roommates. I could have told her about all the successful models or inspirational public speakers. I could have told her about athletes like Chris Nikic who is the first person with Down syndrome to complete an Ironman triathlon.

I really don’t know why, but I chose to simply say, “Even if that were true, I wouldn’t mind. He’s amazing.”

Originally published: February 21, 2021
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