When you first met Bella, you cannot help but think “I don’t know how she does it”. She has major roles in her school plays and on mock trial. She is a leader in the science and math bowl competitions. She is in challenging classes, striving to be the best she can be. She has always been involved in everything she can be and it is hard to see where she finds the time.
One afternoon in January, while she was driving home from school, Bella was rear ended at 45 mph and hit her head on the seat. At first she seemed fine, but in the days after she had terrible headaches and found school extremely difficult.
When she came to SPARCC, her challenges were apparent immediately. She was taking almost a minute to read the vision cards and had double vision from far distances. Dr. Jon had a clear solution, to do less. Less school work, less extracurriculars, less stress. This seemed impossible to Bella. There were so many people that were depending on her, there was no way she could stop the activities of her daily life.
After a few weeks of no improvement in her symptoms, Dr. Jon and Bella made an agreement and prioritized what tasks could be sacrificed for a few weeks. She made some cuts to her schedule but maintained her role in the school play. During this time with no activities, phone, or tv, Bella read. She actually read four full novels in one week. Reading was something that Bella always loved but did not have time to do recently. This focus on reading helped with Bella’s vision. She was able to cut both her vision cards and convergence numbers in half in less than a week!
Bella’s concussion experience was a good lesson in that she learned how important it is to slow down sometimes. As much as she enjoyed being so involved in school and extracurriculars she wasn’t able to truly invest in them the way she wanted to until she recovered. It was extremely difficult for such a motivated and driven student to hit pause but Bella is so grateful that she did. She is now starting her senior year at Tanque Verde High School and we can’t wait to see all that she does!
By Libby Frino & Erin Peterson