Emotional liability

Sorry, lately I’ve been either too lazy or depressed or tired or busy to do the blog every day.

Yesterday was a big day for Shade because he got measured for his new wheelchair. We figured he might as well get one that suits his needs better. Lighter, more sporty, easier to maneuver. Sam with National Seating and Mobility came into the rehab center and took Shade’s measurements. (Shade’s about 5 foot tall now!) He also asked a million questions to narrow down our needs. We figured out the best back support and decided to eliminate the leg supports in favor of a foot rest. (Shade never uses the leg supports anyway. They just get in the way.) Meanwhile, Shade got to pick the color. He chose forest green because he wants to make it camo. That’s smart because you never know when you might need to blend your wheelchair into the surroundings. Very special forces. Once we get it, I’m going to buy some camo stickers to trick it out. Sam said the entire process to get the chair could take up to six weeks depending on the insurance adjuster. Once again at the mercy of insurance.

Shade seemed happy enough after this visit. But then right afterward, OT Kristine had him doing some exercises with weights. As he was working out, Kristine and I were talking about therapies and neuropsychology and whatnot. In between exercises, Kristine would ask Shade what his next exercise should be. Shade was having trouble recalling it and then suddenly he got very sad, maybe, I thought, because he couldn’t remember. I came over and asked him if he was OK. Both Kristine and I tried pumping him up, telling him how well he was doing with his exercises and reminding him about his progress. But his demeanor grew darker and darker. Finally, he started crying and complained that we weren’t paying him any attention, that all we cared about was talking to each other, that I didn’t care about him. I tried to emphasize positive things to break his mood, but there was absolutely nothing I could do. I finally told him I thought it was best if I waited in the other room while he and Kristine finished up his therapy. I went out to the waiting room. Kristine came out about 10 minutes later saying she was letting Shade rest for a bit. She explained that Shade’s sudden switch is called emotional liability. He can go from laughing to tears in seconds. Call it what you like. I call it a punch in the emotional kidney. That episode drained me for the rest of the day. I walked around like a zombie until I went to bed.

The hardest part of Shade’s recovery is that it is simultaneous with his going through puberty. So he’s flooded with toxic adolescent hormones at the same time his brain is trying to overcome a serious deficit. (Even regular teens are emotional werewolves. I can kind of understand why rich people ship off their adolescents to boarding schools.) Shade’s combo of TBI and teen angst translates into mood swings that can rival those of a first-time pregnant woman (quite possibly the most  dangerous creature on the planet). And there’s absolutely nothing I can do about it. It’s a kind of torture, when you have spent much of the day with a person, helping to wash and dress and feed and maneuver him, for that same person to spit bile and anger toward you or make you feel like you’ve just drowned his cat. That’s a brutal lashing to the spirit.

Today is much better. Sleep heals much. But the experience still creates some scars.

4 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Kris Hey
    Feb 02, 2012 @ 21:17:43

    Big hugs and prayers for you all, Vincent.


  2. Daniel
    Feb 02, 2012 @ 21:48:09

    Hang in there Vince….hang in…..it WILL get better….we are reading and praying from way over here!! amy


  3. Neal R.
    Feb 03, 2012 @ 04:25:46

    Warrior wheelchair for warrior kid with warrior dad.


  4. scott fischer
    Feb 03, 2012 @ 06:02:49

    Keep up the hard work.It will pay off for Shade.Sometimes you have to ignore the bad responses that come from teenagers.Your love for your son and his love for you will overcome these minor bumps in the road.


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