Our high school has a new gal in the attendance office. The first time I got her on the phone to call Rosie in sick I laughed and said, “We’re going to be good friends.” I am 110% certain she thought I was kidding. I’m sure she’d been warned that the job isn’t exactly the most popular one with parents or students but I was serious. She’ll probably talk to me every week and I’d prefer for her to know who I am and our story so I don’t have to repeat it or explain.
Today when I called, I asked her how she was (I think she was shocked) and then told her that my child had a migraine. She said, “Will she be out all day?” an obvious newbie question. After I told her yes, I decided to explain a little bit of chronic illness theory that I think is important for everyone to know. It goes like this….
I can have my child get out of bed, shower and take her to school later if she feels better but then we’d probably lose another couple of days later in the week. It’s called pushing through one day to be sick for the next. A few years ago, we were told by our neurologist that’s what we needed to do. Tell our child to suck it up and go to school no matter what. Unfortunately, we had a little bit of a misunderstanding. My teenager didn’t just have migraines so while that strategy might work for a child that suffers solely from migraines, we had bigger problems (of course she told us it was just pain. Little did she know).
If I push my child to go into an overstimulating environment post migraine with loud noise and lights that flicker, it’s almost a 100% guarantee that she’ll be sick for the next couple of days. If I allow her to rest in a dark room, hydrate and listen to what her body needs, we’ll probably get her to school the rest of the week. So, that’s what we do. We’re no longer pushing through one day to be sick for the next. It makes no sense.
If you suffer from a chronic illness, you’re more than familiar with the spoon theory. You only have a certain amount of spoons a day and if you use them all, you’re not only out, you may be so for a couple of days. It’s the same thing with the pushing through strategy. A migraine isn’t just a simple headache. It’s a neurological event that affects your entire body. On top of that, my daughter suffers from autonomic dysfunction and POTS, so that kicks in as well. Total recipe for disaster.
So, I’m letting her sleep. When she gets up, she’ll let me know what she feels up to doing and we’ll get some online school done if she can. If not, it will all still be there another day.