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Liam isn’t getting better.

In fact, his symptoms over the last week seem to be getting worse. It’s been almost six weeks since his injury and he’s still not in school full time and he’s still dealing with constant symptoms. Monday, he woke up so sick to his stomach that we kept him home. Tuesday we sent him to school only to have them call by 8:45 am. I went to pick him up and he was white as a sheet, dizzy, nauseated, unsteady on his feet – in short, a wreck.

We have another follow up with the concussion center next week. I have an appointment with Pediatric Rehab Medicine on November 3rd. Hopefully these two appointments can help us get the symptoms under control enough for the physical therapy to actually WORK.

In the meantime, we’re pulling Liam out of school for a couple of weeks and I will be temporarily homeschooling him. (eep!) Scot’s Dad, a retired elementary school teacher, has also agreed to help us.

The teachers are being incredibly helpful and meeting with me to go over curriculum and lesson plans and give me materials for him to work with. I’ve got to get the doctors to give me a long term absence excuse – which is proving a little more frustrating as the maze of voice menus at the doc offices makes getting an actual person on the phone problematic. If worst comes to worst, I will physically go into the office and track down a nurse.

This is the last thing I wanted to have to do but I don’t see any alternative. I can’t even seem to keep him in the building for half a day much less a whole one. He’s missing classroom time that is essential for certain subjects (for example – science is almost ALL in-class lab). I’m afraid if this goes on for too long he’s going to need to repeat fifth grade.

I had a blubbery, weepy, hand-flappy meltdown about this yesterday morning. I’m just so worried about him. I don’t know how my parents survived my multiple hospital stints as a child. But, now that I’ve started the ball rolling on this and the teachers have been SO fantastic about being willing to help me out, I feel a little less insane about it all.

I hope this is the thing that helps him really make progress.

 

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Fourteen

Dear Scot,

Fourteen years ago today we made it official. We stood up and told everyone that we loved each other and promised that we would be together from that moment forward. We promised each other to weather the bad times and enjoy the good times. We promised to hold each other up when needed and cheer each other on.

Fourteen years later we make those same promises to each other each and every day. We continue to choose each other – through good and bad – no matter what. Everyday I am happy that we do. I can’t imagine my life without you or the boys.

Fourteen years later I know that no matter what happens, I can turn to you. I know that you will always be there to help me, support me, love me, and yes, call me on my bullshit. I hope you know that I will always be that person for you.

Fourteen years later I know that I love you. I know that I want 50 more years with you. I know that the family we’ve built together is the most important thing in my life.

Happy Anniversary. I love you, always,

Cari

On Concussion

You know how sometimes you hear someone has been in a terrible accident or fell and hit their head and “only” got a concussion? Then everyone says “Well, thank god for that!” and acts like it’s not a big deal?

Yeah, it’s a big deal. Actually, it’s a huge deal. Don’t let anyone tell you any differently.

Liam was injured on Sept. 17th. He was hit in the neck just below his jawline with a rubber ball thrown with force. Since that day he’s had exactly 3 full days of school. Every other day he’s been on a half day schedule or needed to come home early or not made it to school at all.

We are struggling to keep up with his schoolwork. He’s had deadlines extended but not really had much in the way of work taken completely off his plate. I feel like I’m constantly managing homework. 20 min here. 30 min there. Try to do 10 min of trumpet practice. Oh, wait, he’s feeling cruddy, better stop now. Oh, but what about those PT exercises he’s supposed to do everyday? Gotta try those.

We’ve been to Children’s ER. We’ve seen the doctor at the concussion center. We’ve seen the physical therapist. He’s got PT every Monday afternoon for the whole month of October. We have a recheck with the concussion doc on Wednesday. She may refer us to yet ANOTHER doc.

His eyes and his brain aren’t talking to each other very well right now. His brain can’t really tell his eyes how to move correctly. They don’t move in concert the way that they are supposed to. So one may look one direction while the other struggles to catch up. It’s not a lazy eye issue because it’s not one eye that is consistently asynchronous. They both do it at random intervals. So his brain is constantly trying to compensate for this. No wonder the kid gets nausea and headaches.

We’re over 2 weeks out from injury and I feel like he’s no better than the was the day after it happened. He might be less dizzy and unsteady on his feet but that’s it. The rest of it is just as bad or worse than when he started.

He’s irritable. More so than I would expect. He has trouble getting to sleep. He has trouble staying asleep. This makes him more irritable, decreases the length of time before symptoms begin to show, and makes him generally all around miserable.

Let me remind you: My kid didn’t take a head on tackle. He didn’t take a hockey puck to the head or a hard check to the boards. He didn’t bounce the soccer ball off his head during a soccer game. He took an injury during a grade school gym class. And yet here I am juggling multiple doctor’s appointments, begging the school to let up on the work load, trying to figure out how we get him through fifth grade, wondering if he needs to drop band (please no!), and on and on and on.

Take it from me. It’s never “just” a concussion. I don’t know why medicine brushed it off as such a minor thing for so long. It’s not minor. It’s a brain injury. And it sucks.