My son Jesse was 16 years old when he came down with a very bad flu virus. He ended up in the hospital, in and out of consciousness. They kept him overnight, and the next day we gingerly brought him home. Put him to bed, made him keep his door open, so we could look in on him every five minutes, and make sure he was still breathing.
Over the next few weeks he slowly recovered, and then ... he stopped. He wasn't getting better. And, he began exhibiting some of the same symptoms I had. We knew when each other was dizzy, and exhausted and tingling, we knew when each other couldn't think, and when we each needed to go to bed.
I didn't like this one bit. And I didn't like it that this went on for a long time. I didn't want him to have what I had. I didn't want to sound like some kind of weirdo, who wants to wear matching illnesses with her son. But over time, I became convinced that he had adolescent CFS.
We got him to the doctor, had tests of all kinds done. Jesse looked just fine. His test results all came back normal. That was good news in some ways of course. But it also meant, we were on our own, trying to get him back to health.
I guess there are maybe some advantages to having a mother who has CFS. I took his condition very seriously. I didn't think he was being lazy or malingering. I knew how deep the fatigue went -- so deep that it no longer resembles normal fatigue. So deep that the messages from the central nervous system feel like ... like nothing you've ever felt before.
It is beyond the worst flu, the worst insomnia that a "normal" person has ever felt. I had to do everything but put the spoon into his mouth to get him to eat, he was so depleted of energy. This went on for months. It was terrifying.
This began almost three years ago. He is healthier now than he was. His appetite is better, he fixes some of his food for himself. He rode the lawn tractor yesterday and didn't have an energy crash today because of it.
He went for a walk around the neighbourhood today. Sat on the roof helping his dad with the blasted TV arial this afternoon. His eyes look alive and his complexion doesn't look like dried clay. He remembers things ... sort of.
He has alot of healing ahead of him yet. I won't make the mistake again of thinking in terms of weeks or months. This thing takes as long as it takes and it can't be hurried.
But the healing is happening.