Last weekend, I drove in town multiple times for the first time in three years. Some people are going to flip out when they read this because it “isn’t safe” or “too risky” and many other comments that all fall under the judgement umbrella. My parents wouldn’t let me do something that could possibly harm others, and even more so, possibly harm myself. If I was feeling good enough to voice that I wanted to drive, we were going to take that opportunity. I have to tell you, I can think of very few times I was more proud of myself than when I parked the car in the driveway after a smooth trip in town all day. And I know that I have never been as confident behind the wheel as I was this weekend. It was like I was finally gripping independence in my hands, even if just for a short while.
Later that evening my family and I were on the way to my grandparents house to soak up the perfect weather with pizza on the patio. In the car, my Dad said, “Hadley, today you win.” Confused, I asked him to elaborate. My Dad proceeded to squeeze my shoulder and say, “HM didn’t win today. Today, you can look that monster in the face and kick him while he’s down because HM lost the battle today.” By golly he was right. In that one day, I had found it somewhere in me to not only drive, but to also shop, run down the stairs, and enjoy being outside with the family fishing. It didn’t matter that I was exhausted or that the beginnings of a drooping face were clear, all that mattered to any of us was that I could count that day as a win. And for that, we celebrated.
Unfortunately but not surprisingly, I dropped hard to the floor that evening and had the most powerful, intense, and long seizure I have had in months. My body curled into the backwards “C” that we haven’t seen in so long and mid-seizure my jaw locked completely open. I can only imagine the intense “we just can’t win” feeling that took over the room as my family and grandparents watched my body violently attack itself, leaving them helpless. In those cases, I guess I’m glad to be unconscious.
After finally waking up and getting myself to comfort on the couch, Jax, my sweet four year old cousin, come over to chat with me. Just before, he had been egging on a playful conflict with my Dad as he cheered on Kentucky, since Uncle B was cheering on Mizzou. I was expecting a scream of silliness but instead, Jaxson hit me in the emotional department. He asked me why my mouth was stuck open, a question I attempted to answer but totally lost him in the process. The sweet boy climbed up on the couch with me, looked at my hurting face, touched my jaw for just a second and quickly pulled his hand away. I was going to tell him it was okay, he didn’t hurt me when he touched it. I wanted so badly to know what was going through his kiddo of a mind. And then he told me.
“Hadley, why do you get such bad headaches? I want to know why.” As if he knew there was no response possible to that, he curled up under my blanket and let me snuggle up tight with him. Jax has forever been my snuggle buddy, but since his quick change from “my baby” to a “big kid” he hasn’t sat still long enough for many snuggles. As the rest of the family was joining us in the living room to watch the end of the football game, Jax turned back over to me and said, “It’s because of skunks.” With that matter of fact statement I tried to motion for him to give me a kiss. That was a total miss and we settled for an accidental head bump instead. Jaxson Glen, we’ll pretend this is all because of skunks. 🙂
Although my mom and I’s night didn’t end until we got home from the ER at 2am, having to get my jaw fixed, I was still in better spirits than I am after most days that turn into let downs. Earlier in the night, when I had finally peeled my eyes open marking the end of that awful seizure, I was already crying. As I had slowly made my way back to consciousness I could feel the affect a bad seizure leaves me with, making it feel like it’s possible to have from your hair ends to the tips of your toes raging with hypersensitivity. I was immediately aware that my jaw was badly popped out and locked open. And I knew as soon as I tried to walk my HM side would be dragging and slow for days to follow. I felt each tear hit my cheek as my Dad helped pull my heavy head off the floor. I could feel the stressful mood of the room, while all the excited and positive remarks from earlier in the evening slammed my head. I felt terrible. My dad was helping to prop me up as I cried, more out of frustration than anything. The only words I mumbled to him were, “Do I still win, Dad?”.
“Yes, Had. You absolutely still win.”