D has been through an awful lot in the last few weeks. In fact it seems hard to believe it is only two weeks since his operation to insert plates into his knees. He has come a long way in such a short space of time. D has always been a get your head down and get on with it sort of person, and so while he shows great emotion when he is having meltdown, he finds it really difficult to express how he is actually feeling for the large majority of the time.
While he was in hospital, I realised I often forget he is just six years old. He has such a grown up manner about him that he often seems wise beyond his years. However last week watching my scared wee man holding so tightly to his teddy bear, it was obvious that he is still a baby and we need to probably remember that a little more often.
He went through the whole range of emotions while in his hospital bed. He was scared as anything before the op, but that soon gave way to the anger afterwards. He was angry because even though he had been told the op was a long-term solution to straightening his legs and easing the pain, he had convinced himself that he would come out of the theatre and his legs would work fine and he would be off running around. Of course, this just wasn’t the case. He was angry at me because he was in pain. He was angry at the pysios for making him move when it hurt. Most of all though he was angry at himself for not being able to jump up and go. D is such a perfectionist that he only has two levels of achievement in almost everything he does in life, and that is that he is brilliant or rubbish, and it doesn’t matter how much you tell him about the grey area between those extremes, where most of us are, he just doesn’t want to see it. He therefore became very dark while on the ward. I do however think this did spark his stubbornness into action and on day 5 spurred him to come to the decision if he wanted home, then he had to make the choice to walk. Once he had his head in the zone, his body soon got the idea, and he was up and about.
Getting home helped him realise life would return to normal. With his crutches he was getting around the house nicely, and he soon made the decision to try walking without them. While in the house that was great, as he had lots around him to grab hold of when his balance got the better of him. He wasn’t making progress as quickly as he wanted and while it was just a week from the op, he was very angry with himself for not getting about better. I was really impressed with his range of movement, but for him it just wasn’t quick enough. He started going off into his own little world, which is nothing new for him, but just staring into space was not something he has ever done before. When asked if he was alright, he would just shrug his shoulders. Then just after putting him to bed, the tears would start. He would cry and cry, totally uncontrollably. He said he didn’t know why, and that he just felt like crying! With all he had been through I wasn’t surprised he needed to just let it all out.
The physio was really happy with his progress, and while she said to continue using the crutches, she was happy for him to go without them as much as he felt comfortable. I think he thought she would take them away and say he didn’t need them anymore and so he was a little put out. When she said she wanted to refer him to the nutritionist, it was both him and me that were upset as he is very aware he is a big lad – the bullies have made sure of that, and we have seen these people before with their only advice being not to feed him until he’s grown a bit – and of course accusing us of lying when we say we do low-fat, low sugar as much as possible!
The week progressed and his mood didn’t lift, but he was trying really hard to get about as much as possible. Both boys started scraping with each other, so some form of normality was returning to the house. D though was still drifting in and out of his dark place.
Today he went back to school. He was not convinced he was ready, but I was! He hasn’t been to school in almost a month with the holidays before he went into hospital. I think getting back to his regular routine can only help his mental state. I drove to school this morning, something I don’t like doing as it’s just a 5 minute walk, but it’s all up hill, and for his first day back, I think his energy will be used through the day. He was worried about getting to his classroom, as it is upstairs, so I took him in on first bell, and his minder – his little girlfriend who has promised to keep an eye on him, came in too. He took his time, and got to his classroom. His teacher asked how he was getting on, and agreed if he didn’t want to do the playground at lunchtime then they would find him something to do inside. I said just take the lead from him, and I’m sure she will push him as far as possible without making him do more than he is capable of.
I think he will be exhausted tonight, but hopefully seeing his friends and of course getting the sympathy from his harem of girls will boost his mood and get him back on an even keel mentally.
As a parent it is so difficult to see your child hurting but when it is mental hurting then it is more difficult as they cant articulate what is going on in their heads. He has been through so much that I am not surprised he has crawled inside his head on more than one occasion in the last two weeks, but we have to pull him out of the darkness and back to the light for his own good. I think getting back to routine will help with that.