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Have you ever just wanted to be a kid again? I have. In fact, I really wanted it the other day. The hospital called to let me know I could come and pick Phebe up. I’m sure that most parents would be thrilled to pick their child up from the hospital, but I wasn’t. While I was walking down the corridors of U of M all I could do was imagine myself lying face down and slamming my fists and feet into the floor while screaming at the top of my lungs. I knew I wasn’t ready for the work ahead and I was very sure that Phebe wasn’t ready either. The problem was the hospital didn’t want to care for her any more.

The hospital had promised that they wouldn’t send her home until she was sleeping at least 6 hours a night, and they had her migraines and medications under control. None of those promises were kept. She was still only sleeping 2 hours tops, the migraines happened repeatedly throughout the day, and none of the medications seemed to be helping. They kept focusing on what a wonderful girl Phebe was and what a great attitude she had. No kidding people! I’m quite aware of how great my daughter is. What’s not so great are the problems she deals with. I felt like a little kid every time one of the staff talked to me. They made me feel incompetent and foolish. I knew I was neither of those things.

I stayed on my feet the whole time in the corridors and everywhere else. They sent us home with 6 new prescriptions and a pat on the back. They had done NOTHING to help my daughter. They set Phebe up in a program at our local hospital. She was to go daily from 9-3. She would do crafts, group activities, and therapy. I knew these 6 hours would be my saving grace. Caring for Phebe is a lot of work.
So on Phebe’s second day home we went to the hospital to enroll her in these classes. Within 2 minutes I knew they weren’t going to keep her. They said they were very sorry but they couldn’t help. She needed an intensive level of care that they couldn’t provide. The lady left the room and was gone for over 20 minutes. She came back and said she had consulted with the staff to figure out what to do for Phebe. They came up with NOTHING. She apologized, patted us on the back, and sent us on our way. U of M had failed us yet agian...they never bothered to explain to this hospital how much care Phebe would need. They just wanted to empty her bed.

Phebe is relearning everything. The other day I was praying for our food and she asked who God was. I explained God, prayer, heaven, Jesus, the plan of salvation, and sin. Her eyes puddled up and she couldn’t understand how Jesus could be treated so badly when He was perfect. The next day she asked me, “Mom, what phone do I use to talk to God?” Her innocence amazes me! When we were in the car yesterday she said the ceiling looked cool. I was confused but then realized she was talking about the sky. I have explained sky vs. ceiling, flower vs. flour, ant vs. aunt, along with pregnancy, boiling water, fingers, lightning bugs, bath, bubbles, dry, prayer, washer, dryer, dog, dog ugly, husband, sister, thoughts, pillow, hanger, and that is just the tip of the iceberg. The hardest part is keeping the noise in the house to a minimum. Abner is LOUD and Asher isn’t quiet. I also babysit. We have a lot of work to do to get this house quieter. I also have to sleep with her because she is so scared. It literally takes hours for her to fall asleep and there is no sleep for me until she does. She loves art and I have nothing for her to do. I need to get to the store and find something, but she goes frantic when I leave the room, let alone the house, and taking her with me isn’t an option. The sounds and lights of town are way too much for her.

It’s only been two full days since she returned home and I’m beat. How am I supposed to mother my other children, be a wife to my husband, get my housework done, have friendships, and supply all of Phebe’s needs????? I think it’s going to take me a looooooong time to answer those questions. Maybe when I do I’ll no longer want to be a kid again, but I doubt it. Being a kid a FABULOUS! :o)
Growing up I HATED roller coasters. My sister Flossie, who is two years younger than me, couldn’t get enough of them. Because we were so close in age I was her designated roller-coaster-riding-buddy. Let’s just say this did not thrill me.

My life the last three months has been quite a roller coaster ride. I have to admit that I have not enjoyed it any more than an actual roller coaster. I remember on the real roller coaster the one thing I dreaded the most was that slow crawl up that first hill. To me it was torture. To Flossie it was exhilarating. I remember watching her out of the corner of my eye as I gripped the handrail. She would be squealing with excitement. I would be stifling a scream of fear. Before my daughter’s first outward symptom started 3 months ago I recall thinking about how great my family’s life was. My marriage was fantastic, my kids were all doing great, our finances were looking good, we loved our new house and new church family, and to top it all off I was losing weight. :-) I didn’t realize I was crawling up that first hill of life's roller coaster. I told myself life was too good to stay like this, but I never would have guessed what was coming. Then the dreaded fall…down the stairway. I fell and broke my ankle on Sunday; the following Friday Phebe started to stutter. Nothing major, but I knew something wasn’t right. We had started her on a new medication 3 days earlier to help her sleep. The year before we had discovered that she had only been sleeping for 2-3 hours a night for many years. She had actually taken this medication then and it had worked wonders. My husband and I knew we had to help her get more rest or there would be problems. Boy, were we right! At first we thought that restarting this medication had caused her stuttering.

In 2 months’ time we went from stuttering to regressing all the way back to a 9-12 month old. During that time we had been to numerous doctors, emergency rooms, and specialists running every test imaginable. We were finally pointed to one hospital in Ann Arbor. After spending 33 hours at the University of Michigan’s emergency room we finally got her admitted. What a trying time that was. At about the 29th hour I finally had my fill and I told my husband, "They better find her a bed soon or they are going to have two people in need of a bed." I was at my whit’s end. I went and asked one of the staff what would happen if we just left her since she had turned 18 the week before. The social worker came out and begged me to give her 3o minutes. I wanted to say, "I've given you 29 hours lady… what are you going to do in 30 minutes?" Instead I smiled and said, "Of course." Twenty-nine minutes later she returned to the room. She came in and said, "It’s in the works. She’s getting a bed tonight. It’s going to take some time, but she will have a bed sometime tonight." Four hours later my husband and I were tucking her into her bed. When I left that night I was so torn. I knew I needed rest. I had only gotten 10 hours of broken sleep during the 7 days prior. However, I was leaving my little girl behind. She had the mind of a baby. She couldn’t walk, talk, chew, or realize any type of danger. She had fallen down stairs, out of bed, and off the couch. How could I leave her? I had been with her nearly every second for over a week, and now I was leaving her to strangers??? My arms ached for her just as much as they ached when I left the hospital without my baby boy Uriah.

She has been at the University of Michigan for three weeks now. A week and a half ago she came out of the regression. What an amazing day that was. My mom had come to stay the night with Phebe and me. Mom gave me a break so I could go get something to eat. What a novel idea. At one point I had been in Phebe’s room for 4 days straight with no relief. On the fourth day a nurse finally let me go get something to eat. With Mom there now, I went to the cafeteria and started to eat my sandwich. I had intended to stay there for at least a half hour, but something kept nudging me to return to the room. So ten minutes later I walked back into the room. Mom stepped out to make a phone call. Phebe was sleeping and started to have a nightmare. The nightmares are the whole reason Phebe refuses to sleep. She is terrified of the recollection of things that have happened to her in the past. She had not had one nightmare the entire time she had regressed. Earlier that day I had noticed a couple other things that made me wonder if she was “coming back”. I woke her from the nightmare and she sat up in bed and said, “MOM???” I said, “Phebe???” She looked around the room in total confusion. I hit the call light and grabbed one of the many family pictures I had plastered around her room. I asked her who one of the people was. She laughed and said, “Mom, that’s my brother…Abner.” I just hugged her and cried and cried.

The doctors keep telling me that they have never seen anything like this. They’ve seen regression, but not anyone who has gone back so far. Phebe came to the states to be my daughter when she was 9 months old. They believe that is when she felt the safest, and that’s why she went back that far in her mind.

She is improving in little ways each day. She no longer has to have someone sit with her 24 hours a day. In fact, that ended this afternoon. She has forgotten so much. Yesterday I took Abner to the hospital for the first time. When we left Phebe said, “Abner, it was nice to meet you.” When things like that happen it reminds me how long of a ride this roller coaster is going to be. I had such a rude awakening last night. I had been telling people that Phebe didn’t really remember me being her mom, but now that she knows I’m her mom she’s very happy about it. She was so excited a few days back to realize she gets to come home to live with me and my family. She is re-learning her letters as she is not able to read or write. She said she got up to the letter “H” yesterday. I explained what “H” says and that my name starts with “H”…Hannah. She frowned and said, “Hannah…I thought your name was mom?” It was then that I realized she didn’t know I was her mom…she just thought that was my name. :-(

I’ve asked myself many times what it is I’m supposed to be learning through all of this. Sometimes I’ve even wondered if someone else is supposed to be learning something. If that is the case I do wish they would hurry it up. :-) Maybe it’s not something to be learned, but instead it’s to bring honor and glory to the Lord. I hope and pray that as I’ve ridden this ride I’ve let Jesus shine in my life. I had a lady come to me in church Sunday thanking me for showing her God’s grace in difficult times. Wow, what an encouragement. I sure haven’t felt very gracious at times. I don’t know the reason for all of this and more than likely never will, but that’s OK. There is light at the exit door that says, “God is in control”. Plus I know I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me.

As a kid at the end of the real roller coaster ride I was always so proud of myself for not getting sick and actually making it out the gate. I’m pretty sure I’ll be feeling the same way when this ride is over. On our ride home last night Abner asked if we would still be taking a vacation this summer. I told him I sure hope so. I told him we would also like to go to Lake Michigan, and let’s not forget Michigan’s Adventure. Although I think I’ll leave the roller coasters for someone else!

Philippians 4:4-13

4Rejoice in the Lord always: and again I say, Rejoice.
5Let your moderation be known unto all men. The Lord is at hand.
6Be careful for nothing; but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God.
7And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.
8Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.
9Those things, which ye have both learned, and received, and heard, and seen in me, do: and the God of peace shall be with you.
10But I rejoiced in the Lord greatly, that now at the last your care of me hath flourished again; wherein ye were also careful, but ye lacked opportunity.
11Not that I speak in respect of want: for I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content.
12I know both how to be abased, and I know how to abound: everywhere and in all things I am instructed both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need.
13I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me.