The Water Giver: The Story of A Mother, A Son, and Their Second Chance
by Joan Ryan
Memoir of a mother whose 16-year-old son is severely injured in a skateboard accident.
I know, what was I thinking reading a book like this when I have a 16-year-old son myself. I'm so weird. It just caught my eye, and you know me and memoirs lately.
Joan Ryan and her husband adopted Ryan (she gave her son her maiden name) when he was days old. She loved him like she felt any natural mother would, but he was a difficult child and had behavioral issues and emotional outbursts beyond the norm, so she always felt there was something missing between them. Until Ryan's accident. He left the house on his skateboard one day, without his helmet. A friend of his raced to the house and told his mom that Ryan had been riding his skateboard down a hill and fell. Joan hurried to the accident site, where an ambulance had arrived, but because Ryan was coherent and talking, she didn't think his injuries were serious.
After waiting at the hospital for what seemed like forever, Joan and her husband were finally told that Ryan's vital signs had deteriorated on the way to the hospital and that he had a serious brain injury.
Joan Ryan does a wonderful job relating her journey through Ryan's accident. Her strength is amazing. The emotions she dealt with, sadness, anger, and frustration at the doctors, at Ryan and herself, were honest and heartfelt. She showed what it's like to be a mama bear protecting her cub, going with her gut when something didn't seem right and fighting for Ryan's life in a way only a mother could.
Because of the accident their relationship ends up being stronger than ever because of the loving devotion provided by a mother to her son.
I loved the medical aspect of this book and all the medical terminology it contained. Then again, my mom is a nurse and I've always been fascinated by medicine.
*Spoiler, if you can have a spoiler in a memoir*
Why the name The Water Giver? While in the hospital, Ryan wasn't allowed to have a drink of water because of a feeding tube, and even when it came out he had to slowly retrain his swallowing muscles. If he drank water it might go down the wrong "tube" and into his lungs, causing pneumonia. So when he was finally allowed to have it, Ryan referred to his mother as "the water giver."
Do I Recommend?
Yes, if you like memoirs. No if you don't like medicine or stories about kids getting hurt.