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Feb 23, 2012

2 steps forward, 1 step back...follow up of a TBI

He looks perfectly fine, right?

 That's one of the problems for people that have suffered a traumatic brain injury. People don't get it...if you look perfectly fine, people think you're fine and they expect you to function  at a normal level. Thank God the high school gets it. They have been incredible...everyone. Every single person says what a wonderful kid TJ is and how he is handling this at such a mature level

After missing almost 20 weeks of school TJ went back 1/2 days for 3 weeks or so.  He seemed to then turn a corner...the switch was flipped as the brain specialist said would happen. I saw my old happy, funny, quick kid again. TJ wanted to go back full time because attending morning classes 1 day and pm the next was impossible to keep up with.

The 1st 2 full days went great...no headaches...nothing
Day 3 and 4 ,TJ had developed a headache mid-day that required him to seek Advil from the school nurse. He also had to seek refuge in "the dark room" a room in the nurses office that houses 8 cots and no lights. Each time TJ recovered in less than an hour.

Yesterday morning at 6:50 am Tj and I had a meeting with the counselor, nurse, psychologist and all of TJ's teachers. It was to see if TJ qualified for the 504 plan.
About 45 min into it TJ's eyes started to get bloodshot and I could see him struggling to stay focused. Of course my tears started flowing...it's just been endless and completely unfair to the kid. After the meeting I gave TJ Advil and he went to classes with a giant headache. He came home after school dying, just in incredible pain. I gave him a Fioricet  which is reserved for only the worst headaches 7 or higher on the 1-10 pain chart. Over use will cause repeat headaches in the future. TJ than slept for a good 2-3 hrs. He woke with a headache and went to bed with a headache a few hrs later.
 This morning I woke TJ for school and he was a bear, just miserable. It is a horrible sign if you wake up with headaches because your brain was in the ideal rest state for 8 hrs.
 He was sent to school with Advil (in his system not pocket) at 7am. At 8:30 TJ called from the nurses office....dying. I didn't want to bring him home because this crap my go on for months and he may have to learn to stick it out. I went to the school armed with fioricet, an ice pack and a diet coke, the coke was for me, but a few sips for TJ as the caffeine helps with headaches. I gave him all his stuff and told him to lay down for 20 min. I waited in the nurses office with the nurse.
she commented to me that TJ was a little confused this morning about his new school schedule that was put in place as a result of our meeting the day before. 
She suggested I take TJ home, that it is had been a long overwhelming week.
I brought him home and he went to bed, I woke him up when I got home from work...still with a headache  Aarrgh! He took another nap around 5 and now he feels better.

TJ had to drop his investing class because he already full filled that credit requirement last year. It would be better suited as another study hall to make up last semesters credits.
TJ was taken out of ICA (college Algebra) and dropped down to intermediate Algebra that works at a slower pace.. He has 3 classes in the morning then, study hall, lunch and PE  which is used as a study hall with credit...the kid played football and baseball on the HS team he deserves a free damn PE credit!

That 3 period,  almost 3 hr chunk of time also serves well to nap in the dark room if necessary. He does 2 afternoon classes than the final period is another study hall to make up 1st semester work. The school has resource centers that have teachers available to help him with 1 on 1 tutoring . Most of the teachers scaled back last semester work...forget the homework assignments just pass the tests...except the English teacher...she would not budge in that meeting. She had an entire page of missing assignments, 3 novel to read etc. The kid just started reading again (words and paragraphs would move...TJ had convergence issues with his eyes) I am not implying that anyone should pass my kid without a proper education, but 3 fucking novels? plus this semester English work...she could have at very least knocked off 1 book... will that really stop him from being successful in life? She was asked by more than 1 administrative personal to scale it back and she didn't budge

It is going to be a challenge even with all the help the school is providing for TJ to make up last semester...he can do only what he can do

So I struggle on how much to push him, when to pull back...it's hard to find the middle ground. Sometimes I get wrapped up in "making up all the work so he can graduate on time) Then I have to check myself...THE KID HAS A TRAUMATIC BRAIN INJURY...HIS BRAIN!!!!
Does it really matter if he goes an extra semester...in the big picture of life who the HELL cares if he graduates at 17 or 18? He'll only be more mature, he only have a little extra time before hegoes to college and then is thrusted into the work force...if he starts his career at 24 instead of 23 will he be destined to live under a bridge?

At the meeting we all sat at an oval table and had to go around and introduce our selves. when it was TJ's turn he goes 

"I'm TJ and I got hit in the head"

It was really cute and everyone laughed

1 comment:

Mel said...

And just think about the college application essay he'll be able to write about this experience...though I am sure his English teacher will take credit for it :o/