Life at home with a 14 year old with post concussion syndrome has been challenging these past six weeks or so. For everyone. Four weeks ago, her legs stopped working properly and she's been a wibbly-wobbly person ever since. She had ten days in a wheelchair, then under doctor's orders, we removed it again. She has no control over her knees which flail about at unnerving angles, and it has been a bizarre and painful side effect of a tired and overloaded brain, and a head too full of teenage anxieties about life, the universe and everything.
She goes back to school tomorrow, for one class only. And we break her back into "normality" very gently. The prognosis is good, if slow. Normal function will return, we just don't know when. She is very worried about how she looks and what people will think.
And this is the kid that had signed up for twelve dance routines for competitions next spring. So we've just had to bow out gracefully (or not so gracefully if you could see her!) from all her classes - I have said until at least the new year - and that too has caused great anguish. Apart from that bothersome need to breath, this is probably the most important thing to her right now. And usually, even if you are a bit sick, you go and watch the dance class so you can keep up with the choreography. But even that is too noisy right now.
And she was going on pointe for the first time too.
However, I have placed a dangling carrot ahead of her for the New Year - she has chosen two classes/routines that, IF she is well enough, she can slot back into. Her dance teacher is good with that. The cruel reality is that dollar deposits for costumes are due next week, and I cannot afford to purchase 12 costumes which may languish in a lonely closet next Spring, and remind her of a crappy few months when her legs didn't cooperate. That might rub sparkly sequinned salt into the wound.
Adults have been good around her. Teachers, doctors, other medical professionals. Friends of ours. Understanding, no pressure, what can we do to help you?
Her peers however, all bar two, have been absent. Which doesn't help actually. In a life dictated by Facebook and Instagram, a couple of glib messages have been passed along but no face-to-face real life visits or calls or action. No reassurance from the people that really matter. And for that, I am so disappointed. Maybe I expect too much.
Tomorrow I will be the one fighting off the tears. Like taking my child for her first day of school. She is slow and wobbly and noticeable. She might get mowed down in the frenetic corridors. She will struggle and panic and get frustrated with trying to keep up with the class - all from pressure from within herself. And then she will be home again by 10.30am, and we will dissect her morning over a hot chocolate.
It's a good job my husband and I have very understanding bosses right now. Our timekeeping has been, er, erratic.