What Now?

My mother suffered a mild stroke just days before Shantel’s surgery. One of my brother’s stayed at her house with her while my dad, Bill, Bill’s daughter Katie, and I went to the hospital with Shantel. About forty-five minutes before Shantel was taken into surgery, my daughter, Katie, showed up. I hadn’t seen her in several months, and it was then that I found out she was pregnant, again. I didn’t have the stamina to even question her about her condition. I just told her she would have to be on her own with this child because I couldn’t raise all her children and Shantel needed my full, undivided, attention. Katie said she had to leave and told me to call her when the surgery was over. I didn’t!

When Shantel came out of surgery, she looked like a prize-fighter that lost the fight. Her little face was black and blue and swollen beyond recognition. I couldn’t believe I was looking at the same beautiful baby girl I kissed good-bye just hours ago.

As the days passed, Shantel regained her strength and she began to show me signs of how she would cope. Of course, many doctors, nurses and other staff members were constantly coming in and out of Shantel’s room. Every time someone would come in, they would always ask Shantel what her name was. After a few days of this, Shantel grew tired of repeating her name over and over. One day a nurse come in and asked Shantel her name and Shantel turned her head towards the nurse and very clearly said my name is Betty Boop! I knew right then that everything was going to be alright..

So, what now?

Shantel recovered from the surgery and we brought her home. The next few days were very challenging. She was terrified that I was going to leave her and she wouldn’t even go to Bill at all in the beginning.  She just wanted me to hold her constantly.

Bill and I knew we were going to have to make a decision about how we were going to provide the care Shantel would need and continue to work. I was on family medical leave from my job in Corporate America, but in order to keep my insurance up, I needed to return to work soon. My parents proposed we all sell our homes and buy a large house together. They would care for Shantel while Bill and I continued to work. This sounded easy, but Bill and I said we needed time to think about it and would get back to them about it later.

In the meantime, Bill and I visited a school for blind children located in Phoenix Arizona, across town from our home. We were encouraged to enroll Shantel as soon as she was fully recovered from the surgery. We took their advice and within a month, Shantel was participating in the toddler program. This was a day program that she attended four day’s a week. A bus would pick her up and bring her back home. Shantel took to the program very well. I attended with Shantel everyday for the first month, then I attended only the Friday on site family counseling sessions. I learned so much from attending the blind school with Shantel. I learned that blind people can do almost all the same things as sighted people, sometimes they just need some accommodations. I learned I shouldn’t expect any less from Shantel than I would from any other child. In fact, I learned that sometimes I would need to expect more.

As time moved on, Shantel progressed from the toddler program to preschool at the blind school. She began to learn Braille and had daily mobility lessons. One of the first things they taught Shantel, and parents, is that your child MUST learn and put into practice, keeping themselves safe. For a child that has not yet learned to use a cane, that comes later, the child is taught to hold their hands in front of them in a defensive manner, palms out in front of their face. This was not always easy for Shantel to remember. Nor was it easy for me to help her learn what happens when she forgets.  On many occasions, I had to sit and watch as she walked right into walls or a counter top. I would warn her twice, but the next time I had to let her experience the pain to help her remember to keep her hands out. She would hit her little head and cry. I would pick her up, love her, and ask her why that happened. She would always respond. “because I didn’t have my hands out”.  I would remind her again about how important it is to be safe in her environment. It wasn’t not long before she understood.

Up next: Mikey To The Rescue

4 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Gotham Girl
    Feb 14, 2012 @ 23:23:23

    These are some of the details that either I don’t remember or that I didn’t know. Regardless, I’m so following along…as good as a Kris Radish book! (Realizing her books are somewhat fiction, but you know what I mean!!!)


    • beyondcinderella
      Feb 15, 2012 @ 00:32:28

      Thank you so much for your response Frissy. And, to compare my writings to a Kris Radish book, my ALL TIME favorite Author, OMG, what better compliment could anyone get on their new blog? I just LOVE you so much. You have my heart…GH


  2. Trysette Loosemore
    Feb 15, 2012 @ 07:48:00

    This will become a book I’m sure. How heart wrenching reading about a little girl having to protect herself from bumping into things, but oh what a wonderful young woman she has become. Love your blog and can’t wait to read more. Your loving Aussie friend. Trysette.


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