When he was small, my youngest son had a habit of filling his pockets with treasures he encountered in his daily adventures. I didn't always understand the value he saw in his chosen objects -- really, how many rocks and sticks could one boy keep? In his eyes, though, each one was beautiful and important. Life is just like that on a larger scale, isn't it? We gather up the precious bits of our experiences and save them all to learn from and enjoy later. Perhaps you'll find a little something here that you'd like to keep in your own pockets. Thanks for visiting.
Friday, February 14, 2014
On Concussions and Valentine's Day
I'm not feeling very lighthearted today, though, after the serious turn that things took around here this week. On Wednesday, I got a call from the boys' school telling me that Will had been hit in the head by a ball during gym class and that he was sitting in the office with ice. When I heard Will say he had a headache and was dizzy, I went to pick him up and brought him home with me to rest for the remainder of the day. I started to get quite worried when he said his head felt like it was floating off his body and he mentioned that he felt like he was looking through a very fine net whenever he looked at something off in the distance, so yesterday morning we went to our doctor's office to get him assessed. We learned that he had likely suffered a mild concussion, and were told to monitor him over the next week and come back if his symptoms didn't improve. (In the midst of all of this seriousness and concern in the doctor's office, there was a brief moment of levity when Will described his vision disturbance in highly technical terms as if he was a scientist who specialized in ocular research, and the nurse practitioner looked at me with her jaw on the floor and asked, "How old is he?!?" It at least appears that the concussion hasn't affected that part of his brain!). Afterward she told us we should get in to see our optometrist that afternoon to rule out retinal detachment, because some of what Will was describing made her think that was a possibility. I'd be lying if I said I wasn't scared at that point, even though I put on a brave face for Will and tried to keep my mood light and cheerful.
Thankfully, Will's eyes checked out fine, and so now we're left to watch him carefully and prevent him from participating in any activity that puts him at risk of getting another head injury, until he's been symptom-free for at least a full week. (If you know Will and appreciate his high-energy nature, you will immediately recognize that this is not going to be an easy order for him.) It has been 48 hours full of worry and upset and disappointment for Will and for all of us, as in light of what has happened, we've had to make changes to some plans we'd been looking forward to. These kinds of lessons about the unpredictability of life and the need for flexibility come to everyone sometime, but knowing that doesn't really make them easier to learn, does it?
What I find myself feeling today, though, in addition to all of those stressful emotions, is the sense that we are surrounded by people with good hearts who know exactly how to show love when it's needed. I heard it in the phone call from my mom last night, who called to ask Will how he was feeling and who maybe sensed, too, that it might be a time when I needed to hear my own mom's voice. I read it in the kind and supportive messages online from relatives and friends who heard what had happened to poor Will and were really concerned about him. I saw it in the caring of Will's good friend at school, who sat with him in the office after the incident to keep him company while he waited for me to arrive, helped Will gather up all of his things to take home, and then offered to find Noah to tell him not to wait for Will at the end of the day. I sensed it in the email message from Will's teacher, who reassured me that she would take good care of him today at school, and would help him to feel better about having to sit out of gym class and recess by baking a special gluten-free Valentine treat with him in the staff room during those times. I felt it in the kind understanding of my sister-in-law Rebecca and her family, who told us that they still really wanted us to come and visit them in Ottawa this weekend, even if we couldn't go skating on the Rideau Canal and sliding down the ice slides at Winterlude as we'd been planning to for weeks. And I appreciated it in the form of a warm cup of my favourite tea from Starbucks, which Matt popped by our house mid-morning to deliver to me because he knew I probably needed it today (this after I cancelled our lunch date together because I felt completely overwhelmed with stuff to do after being so distracted the past two days).
Despite the difficult week we've had, I'm feeling somehow that we're fortunate this Valentine's Day. I hope each and every one of you also have the wonderful experience of knowing that you're surrounded by people who love you well. xo