Today has been hard. And I’ve momentarily questioned our decision. And I’ve been shaking all day. Well, since Peanut’s therapy at least. His physical therapist (actually, she’s one of several) does not want us to leave on our year-long-big-adventure. She just doesn’t. She’s scared. And angry. I could see it in her eyes.
And then when she said, “It makes me angry that you would do this to him”, it sort of gave it away.
DO THIS TO HIM?
OK. So I ranted for three lines and then deleted them. This isn’t about defending my love for him, so I’ve decided to calm down. This is about the decision to travel for a year, and how that affects him. And how we’re building time for his therapy into our weekly schedule/curriculum, so that he continues to get the support and encouragement he needs.
I guess I should back up and tell you bit of his story. You can also read the Times article.
When my Peanut was almost 4 months old, the driver of an SUV — after drinking a few beverages over lunch, while talking on her cellphone, checking her messages from her new boss, and wearing an ankle cast that got stuck in the accelerator— plowed through the wall of his day care. And hit him. Peanut was moved 10ft and pulled out from under the front bumper of the SUV.
His immediate diagnosis was “a compressed spine with injuries to multiple vertebrae as well as misalignment of his cranial plates”. Shortly thereafter he was diagnosed as “Failure to Thrive” and put on a feeding tube (through his nose) that interrupted his natural hunger cues, and then fitted with restraints to keep him from pulling it out. (Dreamboat and I were taught how to hold him down and reinsert the tube each time he pulled it out).
It took time for the whammy of “Global Developmental Delay resulting from PTSD” diagnosis to appear in his chart. There may have been a concussion.
We spent almost a month in Children’s over four hospitalizations that autumn, mostly related to breathing issues (he wouldn’t. or couldn’t. or didn’t. not sure which). And then lots, and lots, and then some more, clinic visits, mostly related to eating issues. All while Peanut’s PTSD got worse, and he withdrew more, and the trauma to his new word continued.
There were times I thought it was over. The end of his life with us.
Many a night I sobbed quietly (and sometimes not so quietly) in the shower in his hospital room. Doing my best to face how I would deal. And who I would chose to be, when he died.
But he didn’t. And I’m doing a happy dance here.
And over time, and with lots of love and countless therapies. (Really – countless…I print a schedule each week, with his myriad of appointments color-coded, so we can try to keep on top of it all.) He is strengthening. He is growing (FINALLY). He is improving.
The driver of the SUV, 40, who was arriving to pick up her granddaughter, later plead guilty to reckless driving and reckless endangerment. She received a 12-month suspended sentence and 240 hours of community service.
There is no prediction for what Peanut’s future will look like. But there is lots of hope, while trying not to set expectations too high. Peanut started walking on Christmas day of this year. Just this month he fed himself a small meal.
Those are the facts.
The emotions are more complicated. There was relief that he was alive. Gratitude that his injuries weren’t worse. Grief. Anger. Denial. And lots and lots of fear…and the hours of crying in the shower. And tears at the most inopportune moments, like watching the parade on Christmas Eve with the older kids, and aching for Peanut, and Dreamboat who was with him in the hospital, to be with us. There was also time spent with a counselor for families of high-needs children. And lots of conversations with Peanut’s siblings, to help them process it all as well. And there was lots of love.
And we’re still on this journey.
And there’s boat-loads more to say and lessons learned. But I’m going to save them for another post. I’m not quite ready.
So, back to the Big Decision…
I may not schedule 11 different therapies a week for him, like I did at first, but I will make sure that Peanut gets the attention, encouragement, and support to continue developing.
There will be LOTS more celebrated milestones.
And one angry therapist won’t deter me from what I think will be a magical year of growth and learning for each one of the five of us. EACH and EVERY ONE.
Sometimes, you have to push through the fear to accomplish your dreams.