I get it. I truly do. But these are people I now consider to be friends. They know my daughter so well, and they have learned exactly how to work with her and what she needs. What she needs is to make therapy fun. If a therapist can tune into my daughter’s idea of play, and incorporate that into a good hour of therapy, then they have won the battle.
Not only do I get attached, but my whole family does. Shea gets attached in a very significant way, and grows to know her routine and who she will see on a given day. But these wonderful people also know my other kids and what their days are like. They include them into therapy session, and make them a part of the process. Having to drag three kids to every therapy session, week after week, year after year, can be trying at best. But having a therapist who does not spit venom at your other kids when they loudly enter a room with basketballs or I pads, and include them, is like a gift from God.
Plus the added benefit of having someone who is trained in brain injury and knows what a CP kid needs to do, given that CP kids come in all shapes and sizes and varying degrees of spaciticty or tone.
Last week after therapy, Shea’s wonderful therapists walked me out after her two hour session, and told me fighting back tears, that they were both leaving. Neither had the guts to tell my daughter, who was due to be crushed. But I felt crushed. I drove home in a daze of “How?” “Who?” “What Now?”
We had already made our summer schedule plans, and I had worked Shea’s and my other kid’s camps around her schedule for therapy. I had a plan. All of it was in place and we were ready for school to end and our next step. And then I didn’t. And I felt adrift and completely off the rails for days.
Shea cannot go without constant therapy, I thought. She will be a tight mess by Fall and probably won’t be able to avoid lengthening surgery. She will regress with her walking, and her muscles, and the whole world will fall apart.
I am a girl who needs a plan. I don’t wing it with my daughter’s therapy. I don’t miss appointments. I feel this pressing need to make all of the right decisions for her and to follow every lead and idea I can.
But sometimes, I now realize, that is not the only way. I had a long talk with her past therapist, whom I also love, and she talked me off that edge I had put myself on. I had put my whole family on. Ten weeks of summer is not going to make or break anything. She will not miraculously walk by herself, she will not curl up into a spastic ball, she will be fine. Last summer at this time we were at the start of Intensive Therapy. For 6 weeks I drove all my kids back and forth to therapy 1/2 hour away for two and a half hour stretches. Four to five days a week. Trying to keep the other kids occupied and having fun, trying to keep Shea motivated, trying not to feed them crap from every drive thru in town because I was exhausted. My Mom had been diagnosed with stage four cancer, my head was whirling, and I was trying to be everywhere and everything I could.
I now have a new lease, a new perspective. Ten weeks of summer. We can do water therapy once a week, I can take Shea to do horseback ridging therapy for fun, we can go to the pool more, and ride bikes more, and not be in the car constantly. It gives me time to take a breath. To write and to think and to make a plan for the future.
It is truly a gift to even have these therapies available to our kids, and it is a gift to have the ability to take a breath.