Kids get sick. You take them to the doctor. They get 10 days of some foul-tasting antibiotic. The next day, really, usually within 24 hours, your kid perks up. She feels a little better. Even before the antibiotic is done, your kid seems good as new.
That’s the expectation because that’s the norm.
And then there’s POTS.
It wears you down. It takes those expectations and those norms and tramples them to dust. It teaches you that not everything is that simple. Not every illness has a map and a clear path to wellness. Not every illness has a cause or a cure. Some have that ugly lurking potential of lasting forever.
But still, you hope. Hope is always there. It’s there over those four long months of specialists and testing, doctors who assumed that if they didn’t know, it must be mental, strange medications that sometimes made things worse.
Hope grew with a diagnosis. But then it’s been months. A year, actually. We got the diagnosis 13 months and a longer list of meds ago.
But she never gave up hope. In fact, when her last appointment was cancelled, she cried. She’d hoped to find an answer before her AP exams so that she could walk in to her school without any help.
Then she hoped for Prom.
I had hope too. It’s always been there, but then, I wasn’t going to get too excited about a new drug. And this wasn’t really a drug – it’s just salt. The new miracle was going to be IV fluids and salt. No one carries salt tablets around here, so I ordered them. I even paid for rushed shipping so that she’d get them by Wednesday. It seemed a little crazy to me. After 13 months, what’s 2 more days? But she had that look and I knew I had to do it.
Prom is tomorrow. She had Hope.
Yesterday I asked her how she was feeling after just 36 hours. She wasn’t as tired.
This morning she said she felt “different,” but couldn’t describe it. It was a normal day.
I was sitting at my computer and I heard her cry. She yelled, “Mom! Come here!” I asked what was going on and she just repeated, “Mom, just come!”
It sounded scary. I expected to see a tick infestation or a frog or something creepy crawly that I’d have to deal with. Instead I saw my girl standing.
It seems simple, but it’s not. The last time I saw her stand like this was January 11, 2012. She cried. I cried. She looked up with her tear-stained face.
“I want to check the mail.”
So I walked slowly alongside her as she walked all the way down our driveway to the mailbox and back. She didn’t falter or waver. She just walked.
Her sisters came home as we’d gotten back to the garage and you know what my Potsie girl did? She challenged her little sister to a game of basketball.
Hope woke up. I cried. She ended up playing two games of basketball tonight. She walked across the yard and talked to a neighbor. She’s playing lacrosse with a sister now.
This is my kid who hasn’t walked without help for 16 months.
She’s reserved. She doesn’t want to be excited now. What if it’s a fluke? What if tomorrow is like last week or last year?
But I don’t think so. This is big. This is amazing. And prom is tomorrow.
“Mom! I just caught 13 balls! I got 6 throws and 7 bounces. I’m a natural!” She’s just come in smiling and happy.
I know POTS isn’t gone. She still can’t bend down. The dizziness isn’t completely gone…
We’re just learning to control the symptoms. There will be bad days. BUT… Hope is awake and stronger than ever. There’s no way it’s napping now.