Back in the Saddle Again (Aerosmith)

It’s me…back after nearly two years. I’m getting back to writing!

I left off with Cole still literally hanging out, in traction, waiting for his spinal fusion surgery at CHLA. We ended up there for forty seven days. Yes, you read that correctly – 47 days! And then due to some complications from pain relievers that caused internal bleeding, we were back for another several days after being home for just a few. The surgery itself was hugely successful. Cole’s spine is straight and long, his organs no longer smushed up into one side of his body, and he gained almost seven inches in stature. The surgery also improved his head control so his access to his eye-gaze Tobii communication device is markedly better and he’s gained confidence from his face front, sitting tall presentation.

We found ourselves settling back at home and into our usual work/school/life routine for about six weeks before Covid19 struck. Dan and I both started working from home exclusively March 18, 2020 and Cole stopped school right after that. On one hand, we’d just spent a month and half together in a single hospital room so being quarantined to our house with a yard and neighborhood to wander felt fairly luxurious. We adapted our days to incorporate Cole’s on-line school needs as well as his entertainment and personal needs. Cole graduated from high school, completing the year on Zoom and having a drive-by ceremony. We created two offices spaces within the confines of our small home and settled into the new (covid) normal.

Oh, and we adopted two kitty brothers who arrived the night of March 17, 2020. They were about a year and half old and I had fallen madly in love with them on a foster site I found whilst we were in the hospital. I’d been keeping an eye on them since late December 2019, and happily they were still available to adopt in March! The foster would only allow them to be adopted together because they were completely devoted to one another (still are). The boys were part of a litter she called the “tea kitties” – each kitten in the litter was named after a tea. Our boys are Oolong and Earl Grey. We kept their names because they’d had them for a year and half already and it felt mean to rename them but had we done so they’d have been Nigel and Reg, respectively.

At this juncture late in September 2021, Cole’s been back to in-person school at a “CTC” – career transition campus – a post high school program sponsored by the LAUSD. The program provides some continued education, life skills, and for those who are able, work training programs in a variety of different fields such as data input, baking, retail, silk screening, car detailing, farming, and more. Cole spent his first year on zoom and is now happily back to riding the bus to and from school, with peers and pals, and enjoying the program. He’s back at iDance and just finishing up two sessions of his summer favorite, aquatic therapy. Dan and I are both still working from home, through in October I’ll start going in a couple of days a week as our offices slowly start to reopen.

It astonishes me how adaptable Cole has been through all of these challenges he’s faced these past couple of years. There have certainly been some low points because being stuck in hospital and then at home with just us would be hard on any kid, any teen, but he got through it all without serious issues. The one thing he implemented, as a measure of self-salvation I suspect, is that he no longer willingly will join us in the living room or dining room to eat or watch TV or hangout. His bedroom became, and continues to be, his sanctuary. He enjoyed going on walks, drives, and visits with us during the worst of the quarantine, and he swam with us and enjoyed having friends over when it started to feel safe to entertain outside in the backyard, but (if I’m honest) like many teenagers, he really didn’t want to hang with us anymore than necessary and for a guy who has little opportunity to exercise his independence, we respect his decision. It saddens me sometimes but I do recall wanting my alone time as a teen so I do understand.

A big impetus of starting to write again is that I find I live in my head and these past eighteen months have not helped that and in fact have made it worse. Writing has always been the best way for me to purge my overloaded brain from everything it’s striving to sort out and process and create. Writing helps to keep me nimble. So, I’m back. No one may be reading (yet) but the simple exercise of writing is enough for me. I actually have a couple of writing projects I’d like to attempt so resuming a daily or weekly practice of writing will be a useful practice in creating as well as the brain purge. I feel positive and excited about what lies ahead!

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