Thursday, October 22, 2009

Wednesday October 21 - Play like a champion today

With the days getting fuller with your wakefulness I will have less time to write in the journal. It will be a challenge to write every day. Days like today, where I’m not in Halifax visiting you, the entry will be have to short.

Tara has her appointment with Dr. Bell. She wanted me to do all the talking. Odd for her, but talking to a doctor maybe a little intimidating at her age. I start to explain Tara’s problem, but – apparently I did a bad job – so Tara felt compelled to step into the conversation quite effectively. She describes her concerns. Dr. Bell checks her over.

Tara has been convinced by classmates that she has asthma. I sincerely doubt it – so does Dr. Bell. After the appointment, Tara describes to me how the hand sanitizers at school are very irritating to her upper respiratory tract. She didn’t feel comfortable to say this to Dr. Bell.

Now she is upset that no one believes her. Is this her way of seeking attention? I promise her that I will do some research and see if there is any information on the health effects of hand sanitizes on the respiratory tract. I wonder if there may be some sort of adverse reaction to the artificial scents in hand sanitizer.

Tara came to work with me in the morning to wait for her Dr’s appointment. She was bored and sulky initially, but Joye, the technician, took her under her wing and showed her some things in the lab. The next thing I knew, she was quizzing me about hemoglobin and serum. I’m not sure who was more impressed. Me, because she asked some intelligent questions about blood tests or her because I knew some of the answers.

I don’t know what Tara thinks I do at the animal hospital but she seems to enjoy testing me! I will continue to try to win her respect.

Yesterday, at one point, when I was reading to you, you said, “I want to die.” I don’t know if this was just an expression of frustration at the physical pain that you have or the darker emotional pain. Certainly, I can believe that the emotional pain is smothering you at this time. There is so much to take in and you are so ill equipped to process it now.

Technically, I suppose this would be called grief. This week and probably the weeks to come grief will flow over you like a tsunami wave. Just it did to us almost 2 months ago. I wonder aloud to the nurse, outside your room, “At what point does the medical community assume that the grief has grown into depression? Are there any studies that have looked at how to prevent this very real outcome?” She says that she will ask the floor doctor to talk to me about this concern.

I understand that depression is a very common result of brain injury. If depression sets in - at the intense rehab stage of recovery – I would think that it would result in a poor outcome that will only get worse. Maybe depression is part of recovery – a necessary component – like in the stages of grief. Like a skin blister after sunburn. Painful but part of the healing process.

Logically, to me I think that preventive medicine is the ticket for avoiding extensive grief. You may wear a bracelet that says, ‘Play Like a Champion Today’, The Notre Dame Fighting Irish chant, but that attitude can only carry you so far through depression.

When we get home, we have another go at the pumpkins and while we were outside I thought I could hear raccoons chortling at each other. I got concerned for the chickens – I know the outside pen is not raccoon proof. Until I can make it safe I thought I better bring the chickens into the garage for the night.

Quinn finished his small pumpkin tonight. It has four clown faces on it – one on each side. He is quite pound of it. Tara is a little frustrated carving hers. She made a very detailed drawing of a cartoon like vampire.

According to her our craving tools ‘suck’. I thought the old jig saw blades worked pretty well. She feels that they have butchered her pumpkin. Her perfectionist attitude will serve her well later in life, but we have to think of ways to get her to lighten up a bit about the small stuff – or else she will make herself unhappy..

She abandons the pumpkin and starts her math duotang costume. She spends the rest of the night happily drawing up plans for the costume and cutting cardboard. I think she has found her artistic medium.

She is your daughter – passionate, intense and going to do it right – she ‘Plays like a champion today’ too.

1 comment:

  1. Hell Gwen, Chris, Tara, Quinn and all the other furried family members,
    Had a great visit with Chris Wednesday. It was like old times where we bantered back and forth. Chris never let me have an inch.
    Since I was last there Chris has made tremendous progress and I am very optimistic for a very bright future. I think all the love, encouragement and tongue exercises are paying of.
    John K