June 2nd, 2016

Well prior to seeing Ilana this past week, it had been nearly 6 months since I last saw her.  The length of time that had passed gave me some perspective on whether she’d made significant progress, and it seems that she has.  It’s not linear- she often gets tired easily- but given the circumstances, it’s about as good as we could have hoped for, perhaps even a little bit better.  Her movements are shaky, her speech is very slow and choppy, and her ability to interact with the world remains compromised.  However, considering that we didn’t know if she’d ever walk or talk again when this nightmare unfolded- or even make it out of the HOSPITAL, for that matter- I’m sort of thankful she’s even gotten THIS far so far.  While I’ll never be complacent about any of this, I think we’ve seen more overall good than bad, since the initial illness subsided.
One positive from all this is that, incredibly, her spirits haven’t been dampened.  Part of it is that she has a ton of love and support, but a lot of it comes from who Ilana is at her core, even (especially?) after the cruel damage that’s been done to her.  In a recent school assignment, she had to give a list of things she wished for.  This is what she came up with-
I wish I could eat fruit snacks.
I wish I had a pink car.
I wish I could have a dog.
I wish I turned seven.
I wish I could be a doctor when I grow up.”

I think it says a lot about a girl whose first wish is to eat fruit snacks- especially a girl in HER generation!  It’s nice that she can find such joy and humor in the simplest things.  We went to an “Imagination Museum” in New Jersey last Saturday, and she enjoyed herself about as much as she could have at Disneyland- for about 5% the price, no less!  And speaking of price, while she will likely never be able to be a doctor, she certainly isn’t shy about playing one- when I banged my leg against the couch, she got her kit out and took a look at my bruise, then charged me $100 for the appointment.  (She laughed hysterically, thinking it was a ridiculous price to charge.  Wait until she sees what medical costs really are.)  Not to be outdone, my nephew asked for a checkup.  Ilana obliged, then charged him a mere $7, just to spite me.  As I’ve said since the beginning of this saga, the part of her brain designed to antagonize me has remained unaffected.

Anyway, all we can do is hope for her to keep pushing forward, and perhaps we’ll get lucky along the way, and find some kind of specialist that can help give us some insight on how we can make this happen.  But even independent of that, I already think she’s the most resilient, big-hearted person I’ve ever known.  MY biggest wish is that she’ll be able to grow up, and eventually even grow old, so that the rest of the world can reach the same conclusion.

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