OT · slice of life · speech

When the end isn’t in sight.

Getting a few minutes of “peace” with a heating pad on my shoulder.

We are approaching the four-year anniversary of clinical speech therapy. I say we because I’ve been the one driving, observing, and following-through with Isabelle’s at-home practice. And while I used to think the end was in sight for speech therapy, we’ve recently learned it isn’t as close as we originally anticipated.

Tuesday afternoons have been the day we typically devote to OT, PT, and speech for Isabelle. This afternoon, when I picked her up early from school, she seemed more indignant about leaving than usual. And quite frankly, I couldn’t blame her. I’m exhausted from all of this therapy too. I wish I could just be fun-mommy rather than mommy-speech, mommy-ot, and mommy-pt. But that’s not in the cards for us… at least not yet.

This afternoon, I had physical therapy on my shoulder (Yes, my shoulder… again!) while Isabelle had speech. I was closing out my session with pendulum exercises in the main gym when Isabelle and her speech therapist came looking for me.

“How’d she do today?” I asked her speech therapist.

“Well, she was a little sassy at first, but she pulled herself together and did great.”

I looked at Isabelle and said, “Remember, if you want to earn a week off, you have to do your work and listen to your therapists.”

“I know,” she said begrudgingly.

After I got the debrief of the session, I hustled Isabelle to the bathroom. Then we returned to the gym where my physical therapist wrapped my shoulder with an ice pack while I listened to Isabelle read aloud from her just-right books. Within a minute of her finishing, her physical therapist found us. It was time for her second of three appointments today.

“She’s not in the n-i-c-e-s-t mood today,” I warned her physical therapist.

Her physical therapist nodded knowingly. I’m sorry, I mouthed.

I don’t want to be here any more than Isabelle wants to be here. Unfortunately, this is the hand we were dealt.

I was about to go into full pity-party mode when I glanced around the gym. There were people who could barely walk who were trying to regain their ability to put one foot in front of the other again. There was a man being assisted by two women to stand up from a wheelchair. I took a deep breath and remembered to have some perspective. We won’t be here every Tuesday for the rest of our lives. Eventually, this will pass.


19 thoughts on “When the end isn’t in sight.

  1. Wow Stacey… I forget how much you have going on. You do an incredible job balancing. But I also see how much progress Isabelle has made and all of your dedication and hard work with and for her is paying off.

  2. Every once in a while I feel the same way about Spencer’s Speech/OT/PT route. It was all quick and straightforward for Claire! And it looks like Spencer in it for the long haul. But then I think of children I know who have not had the services they desperately need. They are 7/8/9 years old and have so many fine motor, gross motor and speech issues. That renews my resolve to stick with it! We are lucky to get pull-out services at school and I think that helps greatly with his commitment to the process. Good luck Isabelle! It will end some day!

  3. Perspective, it’s powerful. I’ve never walked down your path, but I’m glad that you found the positive and were able to adjust. Here’s to happy healing.

  4. Being a mother can be so exhausting when things are going well. When extra burdens are added (my daughter has had 5 open-heart surgeries), it can seem like you’re never going to get out of the hole you’re in. You are definitely earning your “mommy stripes” and a little pity party now and then is not undeserved! Hang in there, Mom!

  5. It is wise of you to see that there are other perspectives, and hopefully that will help some. But it is also a good thing to acknowledge feelings, Stacey. Everyone gets to gripe or moan once in a while. On a positive note, be glad that you have the therapists available, and good ones. Isabelle has grown so much. She will be grateful later for sure. Hugs for a tough day!

  6. When my son was younger, asthma was our nemesis. It seemed to only show at night, with incessant coughing about three weeks out of a month. We. Never. Slept.

    He has finally mostly gotten past that, with the help of the right medication.

    Being in the thick of it felt like a marathon with an undetermined finish line, and I was so, so unspeakably tired.

    Keep the faith. You’ll reach the other side of it someday.

  7. You have come so far! It does sound like an exhausting schedule for both of you, but I am glad you can see a day in the future when all the additional support will no longer be necessary. Then mother-and-daughter love and family love will sustain you for whatever obstacles you need to climb to continue your journey. When you describe moments in your life, I feel like I am right there, too. You are very good at balancing all the aspects of your life – a busy, productive, loving life!

  8. As a mom, we often want to make everything better for our kiddos. Your daughter is blessed that she has you – even when you’re not in full party-mom-mode.

  9. Sometimes it is hard to go on. All we want is a break, a change in routine. Stopping to assess things and put them in perspective can and does change our attitude. Yes, we have to hang on and know that things are only temporary.

  10. Oh Stacey, I’m sorry to hear about the stress of all of those therapies added onto a new babe, and a busy career added to family life. My 94 year old aunt who is currently in rehab for a broken femur describes the process as endless. As soon as you do what they want, they ask for MORE! I wish you all patience and a happy ending to this chapter. It is just a chapter of your story.

  11. I love the full blown pity-party mode. Whenever I do that and I’m talking to my mother it’s around the time she tells me that I should just get over it because I’m going to have to do whatever it is anyway.

    It’s like someone telling you to calm down when you’re angry. The worst!

    I hope your juggling gets easier!

  12. Stacey, as Lisa said, you are balancing a lot. Your dedication to your wonderful family and the important work you do is so admirable. It sounds like there is a light at the end of the tunnel, and your post shows you know how to hold onto meaningful perspective. It also reminds me of the PT I went through with frozen shoulder a few years ago– so painful, and I thought I’d never get through it. But I did. And you will, too. Thinking of you! -Lanny

    1. Thanks so much for your kind words, Lanny.
      This shoulder issue is actually part of my ongoing problems from a MVA I was in back in 1998. So if anyone knows how frustrated Isabelle is with ongoing therapy, it is me! I’ve been in and out of PT more times than I can count!

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