Shortly after we returned from the hospital in Norfolk, Mom went home, and life started to get back to normal.
Hopper finally started to walk at 19 months old, just weeks after we were back home. And while it was humorous to watch her walk, it was obvious she needed help. Walking down a 3ft wide hallway, she'd bounce from wall to wall. She looked like a little tiny drunken sailor. She was adorable and it was funny to watch.
Until she fell.
We lived in base housing, and for anyone not familiar with base housing, the floors are hard. They are cement covered with a commercial grade linoleum. So when something fell on it, the thing that fell was likely to break. Even if that thing was a child.
Hopper's little tongue stuck out pretty much all the time. It made for adorable pictures. She was absolutely precious. Talking a mile a minute, giggling nonstop, and she was constantly on the go. One of the happiest, funniest and fun little things you could imagine. A little bundle of dynamite.
During one of her treks around the house at top speed, she slipped, and fell right on her face. Right on her little tongue that stuck out between her teeth all the time. She bit all the way through it, and the amount of blood was unbelievable. We scooped her up and rushed her to the emergency room where they told us that there was nothing they could do. The tongue apparently heals so quickly that they don't require stitches.
Sure enough, within a couple of days, her tongue was much better, and she was eating normally again. Until she fell. Again. Twice. She bit through in the exact same spot. Twice. Then she fell again and bit through her tongue in a different spot. She bit through that spot 2 more times as well.
Being pregnant at the time, I tended to worry even more than normal as a mom. I'd have the most horrific and graphic dreams about her little tongue and not making it into the room in time to stop the dog from...Well, no sense in me giving anyone else nightmares over it.
We made an appointment to go back to Norfolk and see the ENT that had seen her and diagnosed the vocal cord paralysis to get set up to get her first set of ear tubes. While we were up there on that visit, we made yet another visit to have Bugster evaluated for ear tubes as well. We made a total of 6 trips to Norfolk for evaluations, surgeries and post-op visits for the girls' ears alone within just a couple of months.
Thankfully, the tubes did their jobs on both girls, the ear infections slowed considerably, and little Hopper could walk without running into walls. She still had so much energy, coupled with ADHD, that she bounced off the walls, but at least she didn't run into them anymore.
The fact Hopper was no longer running into walls and no longer suffering from ear infection after ear infection helped bring my stress level down drastically. It was such a relief in the 4 months that followed to not have to worry about Hopper tripping and biting her tongue off was huge.
I had much bigger worries in store, and I needed all the help I could get.
Compulsive hoarding is a mental disorder that is just beginning to be understood. As a hoarder, I have acquired things over the years with a specific purpose in mind at the time of the acquisition, used some of those items for their intended purposes, forgotten the goal for different objects, but now that I find that they have outlived their purpose in my life I am struggling to rid myself of those same things.
You can read the start of my journey here.