Wednesday, September 21, 2011

I Want To Be A Super Hero But I Am Just A Mother.

This blog is a day late. No excuses, no griping, just plain, simply late. I was going to write about my family's experience at the local ER where, 20 months apart, my daughter and I had the misfortune to encounter the same attending physician. I was going to tell you the irony of my experience compared to hers. I went in via ambulance on a backboard after an injury, given morphine, valium, sat up once I was floating in the sky, no X-ray taken, told my muscles were taut, told to exercise to release muscles, and discharged within 1 hour. One week later, I was still walking like a chicken and swearing like a 'fish-wife'; I went to my local doctor only to discover that I had actually fractured my spine and herniated a disc.

My daughter, on the other hand, fell off her scooter last week. We took her to the ER and the same doctor (just our luck) took eight X-rays, casted her arm, and told us he could not diagnose properly if it was broken but he felt sure it was and that we should see an orthopedic specialist. Needless to say, we followed instructions and after a week of juggling bags, books, baths, and general pain-in-the-bottom awkwardness, we were told that there was no way this arm was broken and the cast was taken off. Apart from the obvious, that this man should be seriously thinking about a new career, I also spent a fortune in medical bills. However, what struck me yesterday was not the irony of these two experiences that the one doctor had given us, not the total lack of professionalism, competency, and oblivion, it was the fact that twice this man had made my life just that little bit harder on top of all that a mother has to cope with.

So where is this going you may ask? Is this going to be another mother dribbling on about how much she has to do? Well, yes and no, it is sort of, and you know what, I wallow occasionally. I, unlike that doctor, cannot leave my responsibilities at the sliding doors and start again fresh with the next patient. Every day I juggle old problems with new ones and, if I am lucky, I will get a beautiful reprieve in the middle of it with a smiling, happy child. Take yesterday for instance. At 6 a.m. I woke up after six hours of interrupted sleep due to my son feeling poorly in the night. I packed lunch for my daughter, who is going back to school after also being sick. I get breakfast, showered, I get her breakfast, usher her to get showered and dressed appropriately. We go over completed homework to check it, we find pieces of important paper that have miraculously traveled about the house on their own, and finally we leave for school. All the time the atmosphere is getting tenser by the minute.

As we approach the school, we start the process of negotiation. The negotiation that always ends in screaming tears. You see, as I wrote about last year, she has something called School Phobia. Yes, for those of you who are laughing right now, it is a serious problem. After 45 minutes of gut-wrenching wails, I have to leave her stranded in the car park in the arms of her teacher, sobbing. She calls after me, saying I don't understand, and the final heart-string-pulling words "please, don't leave me." She is twelve, and this has been going on for seven years; I am emotionally exhausted. I sat in the car crying myself. I call her counselor for a pep talk, for confirmation that I have done the right thing. Then I go about my so-called normal day, trying to ignore the fact I had walked away from my child.

Leaving behind a distressed child is against all motherly instincts; being cruel to be kind is not a saying I like. Wanting to run back and whisk her away from her demons always pulls me, but I know I cannot. I have to forge forward hoping that by homecoming time she has forgiven me. During the day, I tend to my other child, make lunches, do laundry, shopping, trip to the pharmacy, pay bills, and clear up the devastation in my house. Within a few hours, I am heading back to the school, only to be greeted by a sulky child who obviously cannot comprehend why I leave her at a place that scares her so. We go to see her counselor, emotionally exhausting to say the least, and finally at 6 p.m. we are heading home. At home, we are thrown into homework, preparing dinner, book reading to calm down before the bedtime stresses, and then finally I can fall into my bed at about 10 p.m. By the time I was able to write this blog last night, I was too exhausted. What is more, I do confess I usually have a glass of something calming beside me.

School phobia does not come and go at the school gates, it infiltrates into your home like an unwanted visitor, and it can show up at any time, even in school vacations when there is not a school day in sight. It is not time-related, it is not aware of your other demands; it just has to come first. So, this is my life and I can say with certainty that it will probably not change for the next six years. It seems like a prison sentence to me, but, honestly, it must seem like a death sentence to my wonderful daughter. I will be with her every step of the way, come hell or high water I will never give up or let go, but I have to expect that I will fail at times with my other duties or deadlines. I can only hope that others can see this and forgive me.

The Brit, whose blog was late.

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