(This blog tells my family's story. To see more, click "blog" at the top of this webpage.)
Beth had another sleepover on New Year’s Eve with her best friends and a fondue feast at our house. Soon after, Dr. Miller asked Beth if she would exchange emails with a new quad, and I talked to an overwhelmed mom on the phone. I listened but shared little, only how everything had changed in comparison to the initial month and how I hoped for more progress.
I was sure that I wasn't a good role model for other parents.
The New Year and the time beyond seemed impossibly uncertain. My concerns encompassed the global and the trivial.
I was an equal opportunity worrier.
Since 9/11, terrorism and nuclear weapons found their way into my nightmares. Any number of potential health problems threatened Beth—and everyone I loved. When she ventured out into the world as an adult, what kind of welcome would she find as a quad? As a toddler, she was Cinderella to Maria's Snow White. Would they find their happily ever afters?
At a meeting in Toledo, Beth registered for the wheelchair games in May with the Raptors. She thought that she wasn’t good enough to sign up for the pool events, but others convinced her to try. Some of her friends also shared their earlier trips to another sports event, the National Junior Disability Championships, held every summer for kids from across the country.
In February, Beth elected to have an eight-hour bladder surgery, paving the way for independence. As a result, I would no longer need to be with her every few hours.
A week after she left the hospital, against my advice, she agreed to help Laraine with a new class of physical therapy students. Beth wore loose clothes to cover the temporary tubes from the surgery that protruded from her abdomen along with a small rubber bulb.
Laraine teased about going easy on her during the mat exercises. When Beth sat with her hands in her lap, she wobbled less than she had at the last demonstration. Careful with the tubes, Laraine refrained from pushing hard to test her balance.
Beth also shared her ponytail progress with the students, but she still couldn't complete an additional loop of the elastic to keep it in place.
At the followup appointment with the urologist, he removed all the tubes and the bulb for good, leaving bare skin and a long surgery scar below her belly button. We celebrated with a shopping trip. She had fun picking out cute underwear and a bikini swimsuit.
Beth was disappointed with the doctor’s ban on swimming for six more weeks as she healed from the major surgery, not negotiable.
And her first swim meet ever was just ahead.
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