(This blog tells my family's story. To see more, click "blog" at the top of this webpage.)
Managing the group home escalated my headache with less sleep and a full dance card. The base level of pain had gradually increased over a dozen years. How bad would it get? Over-the-counter medications didn’t make a dent. When I tried an opiate after surgery, I felt worse, not better. A prescription anti-inflammatory muted the headache—and increased my stroke risk. I read a study about how the brain gets wired to frequent pain signals, making it difficult to break the cycle. Obviously.
I made a concerted effort to stay positive and suppress my fears of higher pain. At home, I kept up with Beth and drove her to swim practices on my evenings off. She took on new roles, unafraid, including the top job of news editor of the school newspaper, The Tiffinian. A feature in the paper titled Senior Superlatives reported on a class election that voted her most likely to be President and most likely to be rich. “I didn't want both so I gave the rich title away,” Beth said, with a laugh. The votes of her classmates also put her on the Homecoming Court, surprising her.
“I was shy in high school,” Beth said. “I had more fun than most, but I wasn't a cool kid.”
The night of the Homecoming football game, the Court arrived at the stadium in convertibles before lining up on the track to be presented to the crowd. A problem we didn’t anticipate handed Beth a rare defeat.
“I wheeled myself everywhere, but my escort wanted to push my chair across the field,” she said, while also admitting the bumpy turf was difficult. It was a standoff on the 50-yard line, her escort equally as stubborn as Beth. She reluctantly gave in.
“But I kept my hands on the wheels and pushed myself at the same time!”
When the pageantry ended, Beth sat with her best friends on the platform in the student section to watch the game. Ellen and Lizzy gave her a bouquet of flowers and an adorable present. They made a Build-A-Bear and dressed it up with a fancy dress, homecoming crown, magic wand, and queen banner. They had been sure Beth would win. She didn’t, and hadn’t expected to. But...
The queen bear was a sweet reminder of friends always in your corner.
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