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Beth’s decision to leave the rehab hospital early ramped up preparations for her return to home and school. At a July meeting with staff at the high school, she expressed no concerns about her first year in the sprawling building or her inability to do almost everything.
I obsessed over every detail, trivial or not.
I planned to meet Beth at school over her lunch break, so I requested a cot. A storage closet with an attached bathroom was converted into her private locker room. It included a small vinyl mat table. I also would be on call before and after lunch, so I signed our first contract for cell phones, ready with speed dials.
We dropped physical education and band (trumpet) from Beth’s schedule and added two study halls, including one at the end of the day that she could skip to leave early. Three afternoons a week, we would drive straight from school to physical therapy in Green Springs with Laraine.
Beth would not need to stay late at school for volleyball team practices and games, as we had planned before her injury.
Her last weeks in the rehab hospital, John and I converted our living room into a first-floor bedroom. He removed the carpet and put down linoleum so the floor would be easy to wheel on. I bought a hospital bed and a cumbersome shower chair with rails for our one small bathroom. There wasn't enough time to build a bigger one.
I tried to focus on anticipating what Beth would need, but my guilt over causing her disability would not be ignored. Averse to pity, I avoided everyone except my family. Even with my husband and children, the last thing I wanted was to cause them more worry. I made a heroic, but ultimately futile, attempt to bottle up my emotions.
Planning for school turned out to be easier than going to school.
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