A little over a week ago, Bella was doing some gymnastics during her PE time and hurt herself. She was doing a handstand and fell over as a result of her left hand slipping out from under her. We were not notified by school and Bella was in a fair amount of pain when I picked her up after school. She told me that her left hand slipped out from under her and she feel, injuring her neck. She said she told the gym teacher and was sent to the office for an ice pack. This mama bear was a little (ok a lot) heated that I didn't receive a phone call. I did a neuro assessment and checked did a solid head to toe assessment (thank goodness for 15 years of pediatric nursing experience)! I talked with her doctor and we agreed that bringing her in to the office in the morning was also a good idea.
On the way to the office that morning, I called her school. No one could tell me what happened just that she got an ice pack. Her PE teacher was in classes all day so that didn't help either. It's not that I didn't believe Bella, but I wanted to hear from someone that was with her what happened... specifically an adult. When the NP at the office asked what happened, Bella told them. When she asked me what I knew, I said just what Bella had told me because I hadn't heard from anyone at the school yet. Her eyes said it all... then her mouth "A neck injury and NO ONE called you? They should be glad she's not my kid"... in that moment, I bet the school was wishing she wasn't my kid either!
I emailed her gym teacher and waited for a response. We finally met yesterday. It did not go as planned. Initially the mama bear still had a fire under her butt (aka me!) and I was pretty sure that the gym teacher was going to go home and tell her husband about me using some choice words. Believe it or not, I kept my cool. Surprising, right?
We sat down in the lounge to talk. Turns out, Bella hadn't told the PE teacher what happened. The teacher had approached Bella because she seemed sad. Bella told her she fell but couldn't explain anything else. She sent her to the office to get an ice pack. We had a great chat about her concerns moving forward. She's never had a limb different student. The thing is, after talking to her, I know her wheels have been turning and she's been really thinking of ways to have Bella included and do everything she can while keeping her safe.
Am I saying I didn't or don't believe my child? No, not at all. I'm simply saying that there are two sides to every story. Yes I got fired up. Yes, I still think there should have been a phone call when she asked for an ice pack for her neck. It's a learning experience for EVERYONE involved. However, I went into the meeting hoping to be able to collaborate in order to benefit my child. Attacking anyone would not have been the answer and would not have allowed anyone to feel like they could come to me with an issue.
Bella made the decision to try the handstand and she didn't feel like stopping her. They have a list of activities they can try, including the crab walk, the bear crawl, the egg roll, the log roll... etc. Bella made the decision to try the handstand. Do I blame the gym teacher for not stopping her? No... why you wonder? I want Bella to do everything the other kids in her class do, I don't want to stop her or hold her back. If she wants to try, she should have that option. It's my job as her mother to keep her safe and lift her up, not break her down and discourage her.
The gym teacher had some excellent questions. Again, those wheels were turning! She wants to know how she can help Bella with jumping rope. She wants to have her be as independent as possible, which is always the goal for us too! She wants to know how much pressure is okay and how much pressure is too much on her left hand. I had suggestions for some things, which I'll share soon (so stay tuned) and other things I didn't. I commend her for really working to think of ways to help Bella. We both talked about how we don't know how to do things or how to help until the situation comes up. I'm not always forward thinking.
What did I do? I cam home and researched. I sent a text to our camp friend Keegan about joint pressure and asked her a boatload of questions. Can I tell you how mature Keegan is and what an incredible mentor she is for kids and parents alike? With Keegan's help, I have some ideas. I had some on my own as well. However reaching out to someone who lives with the difference is priceless, she has first hand knowledge about how I can help Bella.
Today, I'm planning to call Shriner's to reach out again. Our insurance is a pain and is not on the same page as I am with things. Shriner's is warm and welcoming and I'm sure they can help. They can also help us be an advocate to our insurance to find what fits Bella's needs best.
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