We went home to wait it out, scarcely comprehending the prognosis of perfect good health because we were so hung up on the terms: days, weeks, months. What does this mean? Do I leave work? Does he leave school? Do I push him to try harder? Does trying harder exhaust him and slow his healing? Is he going to forget how to ride a bike? Will his friends still be there when he gets back? It was impossible to wrap my head around the facts of omission, all the things he could not do, everything he was missing.
I floated in this haze for a few days. We kept up with his schoolwork, we ambled around. Every time he lurched, it was a slap in the face. What the fuck? I mean really, what the fucking fuck? Is this for real?
One evening I left for my respite, the gym, after my husband got home from work. I cried as I drove, just wallowing in the shittiness of this shit. I was just so tired. Constant worry is exhausting! At one point I took a conscious deep breath, and let it out in a half growl, half sigh, half sob (note to self: stop trying to teach him math). And then I snapped out of it.
The scans were clean! Holy crap, those doctors totally thought they were going to find a tumor or MS or stroke. He’s going to be fine! He. Is. Going. To. Be. Okay.
What’s a few months? A few months is a veritable fart in the breeze, that’s what. We can totally handle this.
And with that simple twist of perspective, we started handling it. We began some alternative treatments, and we arranged for the key to his independence and our right to adventure.
We are learning so much from this. He was self conscious and nervous to go on our first outing where there would be people he knows (other than Beth), when we went on a field trip with a group from school. He was unsure about how to answer questions and worried that people would make fun of him, despite my continued assurances that I would squarely kick the ass of anyone who dared try. The kids, of course, were great. There was a resounding chorus of “coooooooooool” and there might have been questions if my boy would have stopped yakking for 2 seconds to let someone else squeeze in a word.
He told me later that it didn’t bother him at all if kids stared at him, but he hated the way that grown ups were looking at him. That hit such a chord – I’m sure I make that same sad smile-face that he imitated whenever I catch the glance of a kid in a wheelchair! What a gift we have to be privy to this understanding, to roll a mile in another boy’s wheels, and know that in just a few months, he is going to be okay.
We've just got to keep looking on the bright side of life.