This is Biff.
Biff is the type of little girl that wants to swallow the world whole.
She loves to dance, to swim, and to beat her big brother in martial arts. She is always making Tik Tok videos or on Face Time chatting with her friends. She is super bright and can recall the atomic groups from the periodic table much better than her older brother Chip who should actually know it.
Just lately Biff’s ability to do all this is slipping. One by one she has had to give up the things she loves to do. Swimming… Martial arts… Brownies.
Now even though her days are paced within an inch of their life she is struggling at school. Not academically, as she’s as bright as a button, but physically. Biff has never been to school full time, ever, but even part time hours are exhausting her. She’s hurting, falling more, having to use her wheelchair just to try and get to school and is often falling asleep by 10:30am when Mum is getting calls from the lovely school nurse to collect her.
Mum is at the end of her tether.
Quite frankly Mum and dad are scared that history is repeating itself. Two years ago Chip was diagnosed with ME/ CFS. The similarities between Biff and Chip are frighteningly uncanny. Mum will do whatever she can to try and stop Biff crashing any worse than she is. She doesn’t actually know if her mental health or her liver will cope with going through it all over again.
Mum goes into pro-active mode to try to stop catastrophising and arranges an appointment with the Headteacher and SENCO of Biff’s School. She also books an appointment with the GP (when she falls asleep again), just in case there is something that they are missing. Mum hopes that if we can get some control over the dreaded boom bust cycle then she may just be able to stop Biff falling deeper into the hole.
The head, SENCO and class teacher meet with Mum before the half term holiday. Mum talks about her concerns and has a rough plan in her head that may help for now and runs it past the staff. While mum is very pleased the school are supportive she hopes that they will have a good long standing strategy. Simply going home to sleep is not really a long-term plan educationally, even if that’s what she needs right now.
Mum knows from experience that this is a marathon not a sprint.
Everyone agrees that she should be educated in school for just half days. Her attendance has roughly been 50% anyway with her gradually getting worse day on day. At least with the new timetable she would be there for the core subjects and won’t waste her valuable energy on PE and swimming in the afternoons. If she copes with mornings!
Mum is worried about the gaps in her education but has to focus on her health right now. She hopes a nice rest during half term might help her to feel a little better. Biff usually goes away with her aunt and cousins in half term but this time she is going to stay home to rest with Mum and Chip and let Kipper go on his own. Biff is a little bit grumpy about this but she is also wise beyond her years and soon realises that this is not a punishment but to help her to feel better.
When school starts back and Mum feels like she is doing the nursery run again all over again, but having Biff’s company every afternoon for cuddles and chats and as a distraction from her paperwork is a blessing. Mum laughs when she remembers that 5 years ago she was looking forward to the day when all her kids would be in school full time and realises that will actually never happen!
Four weeks into the new plan. So far Biff hasn’t actually managed 5 mornings 🙁
Her attendance has fallen somewhere between 4 and a half hours, (mum likes to count the half hours – they really do matter) and 12 hours a week. With some of those hours spent fast asleep.
Today, like last Monday Biff has slept the morning away in the welfare room at school. There have been glimpses of the old Biff in the last couple of weeks and mum takes that as a positive sign. To be honest Mum doesn’t have a plan C at this point so she hopes that all of her positive, wishful thinking will be enough, she can conjure that like a magician.
Mum thinks, wouldn’t it be nice if she had a real magic wand?
If you like this post you may like to read… Biff Chip and Kipper – The Dance Show