After more than a month of struggling with my concussion recovery, I've finally figured out what I am.
I'm a one year old with burned hands.
Just over 6 years ago, while I still had my day care in UT, I received a phone call from one of my day care moms. "What do you do about burns?" she asked.
The conversation evolved. Her sweet little girl, who I tended from her first weeks of life, had put both hands on the hot barbecue grill while Dad was cooking outside. Both of her hands suffered second and in some places third degree burns. They took her to the local hospital where her hands were treated and then tightly bound.
The next time I saw her with her mummified hands, it was all I could do to keep from crying. I love that little girl so much. She stole a piece of my heart and has carried it around with her all this time. But back then, we had practical issues to figure out.
Remember I tended her every day. She was just over a year old, an early walker, and fiercely, FIERCELY independent. She wouldn't let me hold the bottle for her. She figured out how to do it herself. She wouldn't let me feed her. She had to do it herself, or she'd really get testy.
Mind you, there are certain things you just can't explain to a one year old. Like how she should relax and let people do things for her while she healed.
I wasn't long before her parents took her to the children's hospital where they were given proper care instructions for letting her hands heal. That involved changing the dressing at least three times a day. When I had her, I did it twice a day and her parents did the rest. We were in this together--doing everything we could to help her heal. (I want to add here that she did heal with almost zero scarring and full use of both hands)
It took weeks. She adapted to her new reality and dealt with it as best she could--but she was still a baby and did too much.
And now we're back to me and my "post concussion syndrome." I've struggled with my new reality, tried to keep doing regular things, and tried to adapt to my new limitations.
In doing so I've learned that one year old baby was not the only fiercely independent girl in the equation. My injuries aren't visible, and you can't see them, and I know that makes it harder for people to be patient about them.
Still, for all intents and purposes, I am a one year old child with burned hands.