Putting It All Together (Michelle's recovery realistically))

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Putting It All Together (Michelle's recovery realistically))

Post by dtf955 »

The family tries to help as Michelle gradually recovers from head trauma just after “Michelle Rides Again.” Missing scenes from my “The Way We Were” - which is on this site - as she learns to put pieces together and accomplish unfinished business. Also prequel to “Wind Beneath My Wings” (which will be) in parts that are TVU/NetU.

A/N: In “The Way We Were” I covered Michelle’s injury in a realistic way, a 2-3 day hospital stay, with memory slowly returning. This shows missing scenes to increase realism presuming the above. As she recovered something like this may have occurred.

(For those who think it should be just a slight concussion, see “We Are Family,” my friend’s Book Universe version; he changed pennames but you can still find that and other Sam Series fics on fanfiction.net. For the TVU, a sharp stone can cause a fluke injury, but it wouldn’t have been any worse than what I've shown.)

Someone at my church had a serious car accident (also broke his femur) & needed surgery to reduce brain swelling. He recalled his wife only after about 8-10 hours, but the whole next day thought it was 2006, the year they got married, showing he was putting pieces together slowly as he would over the next week or so, thanks to tons of prayers. He’s fully recovered now (though the concussion was severe enough he lost the time just before the accident through his hospital stay) but needed some speech, physical, and occupational therapy.

Head trauma couldn’t impact *only* her memory, so while it’s not certain she’d need a visit or 2 with Dr. Steiner (“Aftershocks”) to help, I thought it might be the easiest way to link to that “unfinished business” you’ll see.

So, this is a missing part of “The Way We Were,” allusions to start and end of “Fun-Filled Memories” plus allusions to my fics “Bugged” and another I’ll leave till the end so as not to spoil this. Also, episodes “Tough Love” and a couple others, along with books involving Michelle playing soccer (which, as noted, are TVU since she wouldn’t have time with all the things she does in books.) Also partly inspired by iloveromance’s “Hearts with Missing Pieces" on fanfiction.net


Putting It All Together

“I guess we were a bit optimistic with that party later today, huh?” Stephanie Tanner muttered to her older sister, D.J.. The thirteen and eighteen year olds were with their younger sister, Michelle, eight, who was tiredly leaning on D.J. as they walked.

D.J. nodded slowly. They could still do it – Stephanie could get overly concerned at times – but not for as long. “Do you feel tired, Michelle?”

“Not really; I’d just like to be with you guys.” She actually did feel a bit tired, but didn’t want to show it in front of other kids.

“I understand.” D.J. didn’t want to bring up Michelle’s horse-riding accident eight days earlier, but it was going to be stressful mentally for her at the party her friends planned that afternoon.

Once they stopped in the hallway, Stephanie asked, “So, what are we doing?”

D.J.’s dumb and weird best friend, Kimmy Gibbler, piped up, “Standing here talking right after our youth group let out.”

“She means are we staying for the main service,” D.J. explained.

“Even I knew that,” Gia Mahan cracked crabbily. Gia, Stephanie’s best friend, had some attitude problems from a divorce and serious family problems beforehand, but hanging around Stephanie, especially this last week, had helped her grow to understand how to care for others a lot more.

“Let’s stay, I don’t want you to miss it for me,” Michelle said in a slightly whining voice.

“Michelle, I’m glad you’re trying to be strong for us,” D.J. said “But, we don’t always come here, though it’d be nice to start being regular.” They were so helpful in praying for her, D.J. pondered. “We just come sometimes on the bus Steph’s friend Lisa’s mom drives.”

Lisa was a friend around the corner in Stephanie’s old Honeybee club, but not a school friend since Lisa was homeschooled. D.J. had actually driven them there today just in case they needed to return sooner.

D.J. continued. “It’s not like the whole family comes every week.” They came enough Stephanie knew to pray for the safe return of her favorite stuffed friend, Mr. Bear, a gift from their deceased mom, and little things like that. They were active enough for Kimmy to bake strudels in the shape of the Wise Men once for a bake sale once. Still, while the Tanner girls each had that personal relationship with Jesus because they’d each trusted Him to forgive them and save them from their sins by calling on him by faith - trusting He’d died to take the punishment for their sins and risen again - they hadn’t always been consistent.

“Yeah, we can leave now. They just thought you’d enjoy spending the morning with friends after Sunday School,” Gia said.

“But, Gia’ll still miss stuff ‘cause of me,” Michelle countered.

“Relax,” Gia assured her, “If I don’t catch Lisa’s mom’s van I can walk home. Goodness knows I had to do a lot on my own the last few years,” she added, rolling her eyes. She was astounded by the togetherness shown by the Tanners compared to her family.

“I’ll keep her company,” Kimmy offered.

“Kimmy, don’t give Gia reasons to want to leave,” Stephanie said.

“Really, it’s okay,” Gia said. “Kimmy and I have a few things in common. We’re both amazed how much a Tanner kid cares about us.” She said it flippantly, but she still wasn’t comfortable sharing her innermost feelings a lot; in reality, she was overwhelmed by concern Stephanie had shown when she felt so down on herself because of her family’s bitterness.

Stephanie knew Gia’s flippancy didn’t help, but still, she said, “Michelle it’s hard for Gia to understand, but we love putting you first. I didn’t always right before the accident, but I know I’m really special to you, and family should always come first.”

“If you say so,” Michelle muttered, a little uncertain. She remembered everyone now, as her memory had slowly returned, but now the trick was making sense of everything she knew.

Rebecca Donaldson-Katsopolis, wife of the girls’ Uncle Jesse, opened the foor for them minutes later. She tried hard to sound as neutral as she could. She knew head injury victims sometiems had little modd swings as their brains tried to factor everything in. “You’re home early.”

“Did you want us to stay?” Michelle wanted to know.

“No, Michelle, you do what you want.” Becky smiled and told all the girls, “Your dad’s just now talking with Dr. Landress; he wanted to share how Michelle’s remembering so much now. The doctor said it might be hard at first for her to get a lot of subtleties, though.”

“Does that include things like still worrying she’s spoiling everyone’s fun when she isn’t?” Stephanie asked a bit anxiously.

“It could.” Becky wasn’t sure how to say it. “Were you worrying about that today?”

“A little.”

Danny Tanner, the girls’ dad, came in at that moment. “Hey, girls. I’m glad you came home after an hour or so. Dr. Landress said it might be pretty taxing for Michelle at the party her friends are having if she’s gone all morning, too.”

“I think I remember all of them, but let’s see if I can name some of them, just in case,” Michelle said.

“Honey, they understand if you don’t remember everything. It’s going to come back slowly. Just like it did remembering us.”

Michelle was undeterred by Danny’s remarks. “Okay, let’s see; there’s Teddy and Denise, they’re my best friends. Aaron’s kind of a bully – I think of the word ‘error’ – Derek’s a dictionary ‘cause both begin with ‘d,’ and there’s a class clown in one of the other classes… I think Jeff.”

“That’s great, Michelle, wow! You really are good at that,” Becky said happily.

“I think I’ll rest up for it,” Michelle said.

They grinned as she went upstairs. Once she was out of hearing range, Stephanie remembered something from a few days ago, before she’d totally recovered her memory. “Dad, remember when Dr. Landress said I was the one she’d probably turn to consistently for a while?”

Danny nodded as Becky’s husband Jesse walked in the back door with his and Becky’s three-year-old boys, Nicky and Alex. Danny’s best friend Joey, who had moved in along with Jesse to help when the girls’ mom died, came in with them.

“Is she still havin’ problems with that? I thought that was only ‘cause she remembered goin’ to Steph when she was in a new place with a bunch of strangers.” Jesse asked, a bit concerned.

“She did tell them after Sunday School instead of just hanging out with the kids she wanted to be with Steph and me,” D.J. told him.

“How was she otherwise?” inquired Joey.

“Good; she remembers people and events but probably not every little nuance of us. I think she just said she wanted to be with us because she was more tired.” D.J. said.

“Like she knew Kimmy was dumb but was shocked when we mentioned occupational therapy and Kimmy thought Michelle had a job,” Stephanie elaborated.

“But, don’t worry, Dad,” D.J. promised him, “Michelle realized fast when we told her that wasn’t something she was supposed to have remembered.”

“I’m glad. Although, that brings up a good point, that we’ll have to discuss with her, and see what she wants to do,” Danny said.

“You mean Dr. Steiner? I liked her,” Stephanie blurted. Occupational therapy had come up that morning as Stephanie had broached the fact that Dr. Steiner helped kids with that. The doctor had helped Stephanie deal with a major earthquake back in 1989 when she visited there once.

Danny lovingly placed a hand on Stephanie’s shoulder. “And, I’m sure, if Michelle would need to visit her a time or two, she would be very helpful. Dr. Landress did bring up the possibility. We’ll see how things go when we visit him tomorrow.”

“Your dad was thinking about school,” Joey revealed.

“Remember when you offered to go with her?” Danny said as he lovingly stroked her hair. “You were really worried about her then, and I think you were mostly thinking of how she might want to be with you all the time.”

“Like I was with you after the earthquake,” Stephanie added.

“Exactly. Now, she’s comfortable with all of us. It’s more of a case of it being a lot of stuff for her to handle all at once. She’ll get to see her friends this afternoon independent of that, so that’ll help some, but it would be good, if she’s going back into that environment right away, for someone to be with her and help her. We think she’ll be okay understanding instructions and cognitive skills right away, but there might still be a thing or two where someone could help.”

“Yeah, either that or she’d worry stuff was her fault or who knows what,” Jesse said.

“Right. Now, I could go with her, but I’d have to take more time off work. Uncle Jesse could, too, but he’s got to get everything lined up with that guy who’s taking over the day to day functions of the ‘Smash Club …”

Stephanie had been anxiously expecting him to say it since he began. “Dad, if it’ll help her, I’ll do it. I’d do anything for her.”

“Thanks. I actually talked to your school Friday just in case she didn’t recover her memory,” Danny remarked. “We talked about a variety of different plans, and this won’t be all day anyway because Michelle has her doctor appointment after lunch and, well, I guess I’m rambling too much, huh? I’m sure things will go well.”

That afternoon, Michelle excitedly got in the car as Danny and Stephanie took her over to Denise’s. “Dad, I wrote downa list of school friends and stuff I remember about them. Steph said ig ot it all right.”

“That’s great, honey. Soon you won’t even need a list,” Danny proclaimed.

Michelle was a little stunned, though, when a girl she barely recognized was among the first to come up to her at the party right away. “Hey, Michelle, I’m so glad to hear you got your memory back,” she said very enthusiastically.

“Me, too. I…” Michelle looked at her list. She wasn’t sure for a moment, but decided Stephanie and the others were right. They would understand. “I don’t think I remember you from school. Should I?”

Oops, the girl thought. She’d presumed that Michelle had recalled everything, including her. She did recall her, as it turned out, but not quite from where, as she was still focused on school friends. She wasn’t really sure how to put it.

Finally, Danny said, “Elizabeth and you rode horses together.”

Michelle’s eyes lit up. “I remember you now.” It made sense that this girl was there. Still, she was puzzled. “Why are you so excited? Did you see my fall?” The girl nodded. “I don’t remember anything after we went out on the trail. Except… were your mom and my dad arguing about something?”

“Yeah,” Elizabeth said, her heart sinking. She’d been told not to remind Michelle of it, and had hoped it wouldn’t come up. “They were just being poor sports, that’s all.”

“But, don’t blame yourself, honey,” Danny said. “It’s not your fault I put so much pressure on you.”

“Yes it is – if I hadn’t wanted to jump horses this never would have happened,” Michelle complained. “I used to be happy riding them till a few months ago. I’m never going to do it again.”

“But, I want you to,” Elizabeth insisted, almost begging.

Michelle looked oddly at her. “Why?”

“Because when you fell off it really bothered me,” she said with a small tear in her voice. “I was in another show yesterday. All I could think of to keep me focused was you were home and starting to remember a few things.” She’d called a few times, including that morning. “And, I just told myself someday you and I were going to be riding again and even jumping again.”

Michelle was really happy now, knowing Elizabeth cared so much. Maybe she would ride again, although she still had serious doubts – especially when Elizabeth revealed the next part.

“In fact, the accident helped my mom realize she had a problem.” Elizabeth chuckled. “She didn’t pressure me to win and try to tear down all the others yesterday anymore, and she says she won’t anymore. All she could talk about was how I saved your life.”

“She didn’t really, but, in a way…” Danny wasn’t sure what to say. He could tell the comment had stunned Michelle, as her eyes grew wide. So, Danny looked around to see if some of Michelle’s other friends would come up to her, but it seemed that Stephanie was instructing them all. Chip off the old block, he said to himself.

“I thought I just fell; how bad was it?” Michelle wondered, aghast.

Elizabeth could tell she’d scared Michelle a bit. That had sounded a lot worse. The nearly ten-year-old began. “Okay, first, I didn’t do CPR or anything.”

“Although if she hadn’t felt up to riding to the paramedic’s shed and you’d needed it, I’m sure she could have assisted me. Not that you needed it…” Danny let out a gust of air. “I’m making it worse, aren’t I?” he said as Michelle gave him a stunned look. “Help me here, Steph,” he requested as Stephanie and Michelle’s other friends were finally coming over to her.

“Was I on a horse or in an airplane crash?” Michelle wanted to know.

“Well, Michelle,” Stephanie said with a laugh, “that makes me feel a lot better. More of your personality’s coming out.” Danny agreed.

“When you fell, I got off my horse and checked for injuries, like I learned in Girl Scouts. You were always breathing but you didn’t move. I saw a sharp stone right where your head was – that probably made it a little worse. Anyway,” Elizabeth said, inhaling a bit more, “I knew I shouldn’t leave you. So, I was about to scream for help when I saw your dad and the others come. Then your uncle and I rode to the shed.” Even if they hadn’t been coming, the man at the entrance would have heard and been able to contact the shed, and Michelle began to stir ten or fifteen minutes later in the ambulance, though Danny’s mind was too occupied to notice, and she only regained total consciousness a few hours later.

“Right, it wasn’t life threatening, but they had to take precautions. They didn’t know what you’d hurt, and she was able to help before Uncle Jesse came back with the ambulance and she came and told us,” Stephanie explained, deciding it was best to forget seeing her strapped to a backboard in case her neck was hurt.

Danny could tell Michelle was going to start blaming herself for it again. “Michelle, we want you to have fun. It’s over now and you’ve recovered.”

“That’s right,” Denise encouraged, “and if you need Steph with you to help in school a day or two, everyone’s going to be so happy for you just to be there.”

Teddy agreed. “We remember when she helped all the time in school.”

“I remember that, too. I called you a genius and started sending everyone to you, didn’t I?’ Michelle asked Stephanie.

“You sure did.”

The party went well, though Michelle only stayed a while – long enough to at least have some cupcakes and play a little with them. She was glad to have fun, and when tested she recalled all that had been done, showing her short-term memory was working well, something Dr. Landress had wanted to make sure would continue; she’d be quizzed on it during her appointment the enxt day, too. However, they decided it was best for Stephanie to accompany Michelle to school, anyway, at least for her first day back.

The next morning, Stephanie helped Michelle get her homework into her backpack. “This is going to be kind of fun. I just hope I remember I’m taking you to third grade,” she quipped.

“I hope I didn’t wake everyone up when I had my bad dream last night,” Michelle said.

“Michelle we all care about you,” Danny reminded her.

“Joey concurred. “Yeah, it’s just we all came into your room because, well, that’s what we always do,” he fibbed.

“Yeah, right.”

“I think we are a little more concerned right at first here. But, we do it because we care,” Danny reminded her.

“And you know you can climb in bed with me and cuddle anytime you need ujust like last night,” Stephanie said. She’d been told this stage might last a while, but it wouldn’t forever; she’d have her last bad dream about people not remembering several months later, and she didn’t have such scary dreams consistently even when she did.

“Mine, too,” D.J. said. “But, this is just one of those things Dad says Dr. Landress said about you clinging to one person a bit more for right now.”

Michelle and Stephanie shared a tender smile.

Jesse added, “And, don’t worry about which one of us you prefer munchkin. You know we all love you, and you love all of us. The doctor just said this is your mind’s way of organizing everything. If it hadn’t been for that first day of Kindergarten, who knows how it would have worked.” He shook his head. “I guess with your mom dyin’ when you were just a baby, you kind of bonded differently. I remember when Nicky and Alex were about 22 months, you weren’t totally sure who normally taught kids right from wrong, so you asked Becky and me.”

D.J. jumped on the point to help. “See, Michelle, Uncle Jesse’s right. If I’d done my job and been proactive from the start, you’d have known it was a dad and a mom, or at the least a dad and a big sister; instead I just reacted when you needed me to be like a mom.” She found herself adding a bit remorsefully, “Of course if I had been proactive, you would have come and told me Dad and Elizabeth’s mom were bothering you and I would have been right there with you so you wouldn’t have felt you had to go on the trail to escape.”

Kimmy was there too, and she spouted, “See, Michelle. Don’t ever blame yourself for it. Blame D.J. for not being enough like a mom.”

Michelle caught the look D.J. gave Kimmy. “You have enough problems without me blaming you,” she told D.J., knowing Kimmy was her best friend. D.J. let it go – what Kimmy had said had seemed harsh to her, but she knew that Kimmy was just trying to help Michelle cope. She and Kimmy could talk later about how to approach it.

“Well, D.J.’s right about one thing,” Jesse said, “she may not have taken charge right away when your dad struggled, but she would eventually when needed, and we’ve all pitched in to help, and we’ve made it through. There’s no need to blame yourself,” Jesse said. “Maybe we could have done a better job, but that just proves we’re not perfect. You don’t have to be, either.”

“That’s right; we’re not perfect, we’re forgiven. Come on, let’s go,” Stephanie said as she and Michelle prepared for Danny to take them to school.

“Okay.” Michelle shrugged. She wasn’t really sure how to express her concerns. There had been a lot of facts about some of her friends, but as with her personality, there were still pieces of how she interacted with each that were just now starting to come together. She knew, in the back of her mind, that it was okay if she didn’t get all of that straight right away. But, she wanted to be able to do it so badly. “Thanks for coming, Steph,” she said with deep gratitude. She couldn’t express just how glad she was to have Stephanie there to comfort her. She added, “You doo, Dad,” but Stephanie was the one she felt most comfortable with – perhaps partly because it at least made sense for Stephanie to be there.

The school building seemed huge. She squeezed Stephanie’s hand tightly as she entered. When asked in a whisper if she wanted to lead the way, she shook her head slightly. As Stephanie led her to her third grade classroom, she realized she would have probably known, but was glad for Stephanie being there to make sure the first time.

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Re: Putting It All Together (Michelle's recovery realistically))

Post by dtf955 »

“Hey, Michelle,” Teddy said like Bullwinkle, including holding his hands up like antlers.

“You all did that at my party yesterday,” Michelle said. “But, I thought Jeff was the clown.” She snapped her fingers. “Wait, I did that my first day of Kindergarten, didn’t I?”

“Yeah. You’re doing a great job remembering stuff,” Teddy said enthusiastically.

“I just got here,” Michelle reminded him.

Stephanie gave a mea culpa look. She’d always been very excitable, so she’d gone overboard. “I wanted to make sure nobody was negative. So, I probably overdid it when I told you all to be really excited over every little thing.”

“So, everything’s set,” Danny was saying to the teacher. “I’ll be by to get Michelle at lunch, and she has her doctor’s appointment in the afternoon.” Danny hugged Michelle and Stephanie and said “I love you.” “I can take you to your school then, when I get Michelle,” he told Stephanie.

“Thanks, Dad, I love you, too.”

As the teacher showed Michelle to her desk, with Stephanie having a seat next to her which could, if need be, be pulled over to the side of the room, Stephanie thought back to her own first day of Kindergarten. Michelle’s look really seemed to mirror her own back then even more than Michelle’s first day – she’d at least been to preschool, though in a small learning center, whereas Stephanie hadn’t had that. She’d learned so quickly Pam was able to help her read and other things at home.

Of course, Michelle remembered most things, but as Stephanie interacted with her during the first lesson, she sensed that Michelle’s difficulty was in applying what she remembered right away. There was a certain lack of confidence in herself – confident that was only slowly re-emerging - caused by the knowledge that a week of her life was gone and also by the fact that some things were still slowly coming back, though most of her life was back in place now. It was a mere matter of making sure those things were secure – like confusion at first over Teddy doing the Bullwinkle greeting when she knew Jeff, in one of the other classes, would be the one most likely to randomly do it – and that would be on the playground.

Stephanie hadn’t been to preschool, though, and had just lost her mom a few months earlier when she started Kindergarten. She’d really been glad Uncle Jesse, Joey, and her dad had been there. When Allie had shown up after dragging so much she didn’t get there till story time when the teacher put them in a circle alphabetically, Stephanie had been really grateful for someone to talk to. Being only five, she hadn’t realized how grateful Allie was, too, for someone to ramble on and on so she wouldn’t have to talk, since Allie was really shy at first.

Stephanie smiled. Allie and her family had moved after fifth grade, but she had their number. She’d have to pick a time when she knew she could ramble for a couple hours and let everything out. Gia was learning – and growing very well, Stephanie would add – but this past week and a half or so was one she wanted to tell Allie about, too. Allie would understand a bit better. Allie had related when Michelle hid under their desk their first day of fourth grade.

“I’m glad I came here this morning,” Michelle said as the other children filed out for their first recess. “They might have worried about me and not enjoyed the man bringing the moon rocks.”

Stephanie put an arm around Michelle as the scientist mentioned came in with several boxes. “Michelle, I know how you feel.”

“You do?”

“Sure. That time I had chicken pox and everyone but Dad and D.J. was sick, D.J. missed her first non-mother-daughter slumber party to take care of us so Dad could go to a game. And, I totally missed the ballerina who was coming.”

“Did you ever meet one?” Michelle wanted to know.

“Yeah.” Stephanie couldn’t recall but wanted Michelle to feel better. Besides, her dance teacher, Karen, had adopted a girl, Sam, who was likely to be one anyway, from what she’d heard. “But, the important thing is, this should be a time of great discovery, when you have so much fun learning. I got a sense of that when you started sending all those other kids to your ‘genius’ sister, and eventually you helped a lot of kids by encouraging me to help them.”

Michelle thought for a moment. “So… you’re saying I help a lot of people?” Stephanie agreed. “I just wish I didn’t have to have everyone so sad, like D.J. said at first she wanted to stay home from her prom. You couldn’t help getting chicken pox.”

“And, you couldn’t help that you hit that stone – otherwise it’d be a mild concussion where you might have had a month off recess like now but maybe not that much; who knows how limited you’d be. I could walk over and help them get set up and drop something heavy on my toe and break it, even if I’m being really careful,” Stephanie noted.

The teacher came over and asked, “How are you feeling, Michelle? Are you all ready for this?”

“Yeah,” she said excitedly.

“Good. Let me talk to Stephanie, and see if she can help a little when we have this part,” the teacher said. She and Stephanie went over to a far corner of the room. “How is she?”

Stephanie said she was fine. “I think things are coming together. More of her personality is back the last few days, but it does seem like bits are still missing.”

“From what your dad said, I think she remembers people but not all those little things that go into how they interrelate.”

“Like when Kimmy thought she had a job when I mentioned ‘occupational therapy.’”

The teacher nodded sharply – she’d heard a lot from Kimmy’s former teachers. “I can see someone thinking that’s what it means, of course. But, Kimmy thinking that’s what it means even when we’re talking about an eight-year-old is…” She wasn’t sure what to say.

“Uniquely Kimmy,” Stephanie helped her.

“Yes, that’s the best way to put it,” the teacher agreed. “So, that unique quality is something Michelle wouldn’t quite get yet, and thus she might think ‘Wait, I have a job?’ until someone explained.”

“I’ll have to tell our Uncle Jesse; she might have remembered him before but just been unsure about his pet names for her,” Stephanie considered aloud.

“She might have been slowly remembering everything. It’s hard to understand how memory works. You think she’ll do well here, though? It sounds like it.”

Stephanie agreed. Still, she was surprised when Michelle told her, upon her return, “You can sit over along the wall now if you want.”

“Are you sure, Michelle? You’re not just saying that to try to be brave, are you?”

“It’s fine. Besides, if I let you you’d probably be as protective as Dad,” Michelle quipped.

Stephanie hugged her, thinking of how scared she’d been, but also how glad she was Michelle was picking up another of those little things. “I probably would.” Her protectiveness wasn’t over worry like their dad’s, but over always wanting to know what was going on, but she could get like that a little if she wasn’t careful.

Michelle peaked over at Stephanie a few times, but enjoyed the lesson as long as she was engrossed in some activity. She didn’t want Stephanie to have to come tomorrow, too, if she didn’t have to; she was determined to get through this, even though it was a bit taxing. She was glad she wouldn’t be staying the whole day that first day.

Later that week after school, Michelle and Stephanie got out of the car and followed Danny into the office. “You saw Dr. Steiner after the earthquake, right?” Michelle asked.

Stephanie nodded. “Right. I don’t think it’ll take too long. We just want to make sure you’re recovering as well as you can.”

“Okay; but I hope it doesn’t mean I have to get a job,” Michelle countered.

“Good afternoon, Dr. Steiner,” Danny said, shaking her hand. “This is Michelle; I don’t know if you remember Stephanie.” Stephanie introduced herself.

“Michelle, your dad told me you had some amnesia after your fall,” the doctor said. After they talked for a moment, before she could suggest it, Michelle said Stephanie had told her she’d probably ask her to draw a picture of her family. “That would be nice, yes.” She asked Danny, “Did she take a lot of cues from her sisters before?”

“Oh, yes. D.J. helped a lot enforcing limits her first few years after Pam died. I handled everything else, and Jesse and Joey did a great job, but I guess all of us needed a little help.” He didn’t’ want to get into Jesse’s and Joeys’ fears about becoming their own fathers.

“It’s not unusual for the oldest sibling to instinctively fill in some gaps when there’s a loss.” She said that was sort of what they would help Michelle do – fill in gaps. “We’ll talk about how she can fill in gaps if there are any, and feel more comfortable until all those little things come back. And, if you feel more discussion is needed, we can schedule more afterward.”

She noticed Michelle had drawn their house, too. And asked Michelle to described a few things in it as well as the people.

When she got to her and Stephanie’s room, Michelle said, “That’s where Steph and I sleep. Her bed’s bigger ‘cause I need it if I have a nightmare; she lets me in with her,” Michelle elaborated.

“That’s good; it’s good to have your own bed, but it’s nice that Stephanie lets you do that when you’re scared, too,” Dr. Steiner said.

“That reminds me,” Stephanie interjected out of curiosity. “When she first came home, she climbed in my bed to rest right away. Was that something subconscious, too?”

The doctor chuckled slightly. “There are so many variables nobody could say for sure – how long you’ve shared a room, how often she did it before, if there was one time in particular that stands out, and then her personality. I think the feeling of comfort because of that first day in Kindergarten like your dad mentioned is much more certain. But, it’s possible,” she admitted. “Had she done it much before?”

“Rarely; she had a poster up when she waslittle that kept them away, but a few times before and after it came down. Then a couple times in the week she’s been home.”

“I’ll bet it’s scary knowing you don’t remember, Michelle?” The younger girl nodded, and Dr. Steiner inquired, “Michelle, what comes to your mind when you think of the accident?”

Michelle shrugged. “I guess it makes people sad.” She meant herself and others.

“She’s remembering bits of that week or so she lost, like D.J. wanting to miss her prom, or how she couldn’t remember people, and I think that bothers her, but she doesn’t always share her feelings like Steph would.” Danny said, choosing to ignore the fact he hadn’t paid attention to serious concerns the last few weeks. “Plus, she might blame herself for even having the fall.”

Dr. Steiner said, “Well, Stephanie was more verbal than even a lot of girls, if my memory serves. But, my memory’s not great, either,” she told Michelle.

“No, you remember right. Steph talks all the time,” Michelle blurted.

“We do see more of her personality like with that,” Danny hastened to add. “I think I heard some things like that are more pronounced for a while.”

“Yes, that’ll come in time, too – part of recovering from a head trauma is getting straight who you are and how you normally do interact with others,” Dr. Steiner said. “Michelle, tell me some things you enjoyed before the accident.” When Michelle listed them, the doctor inquired, “When you’re all better and able to do athletic events again, would you like to play soccer?” Michelle nodded, making Dr. Steiner glad – that meant she was looking forward to getting back to normal, and knew she could. “What about horseback riding?”

“No, but…” She wasn’t sure.

“When did you learn to ride before?”

“The summer D.J. was in Spain,” Michelle said.

Danny explained, “She only wanted to try jumping a few months ago.”

“Tell her what Elizabeth told you, Michelle,” Stephanie encouraged her.

“She hoped we’d be riding and even jumping together,” Michelle said lowly, “but I don’t like what happened last time.” Stephanie instinctively put an arm around her.

“You mean with the accident?”

“And what happened before,” Michelle said as she leaned against Stephanie.

Danny explained about his arguing with Elizabeth’s mom about who was better. “I put too much pressure on her. I hope you don’t think it’s normal to blame yourself because I blame myself a lot with this, Michelle.”

“If I thought you were normal with everything, Dad, I’d clean like crazy,” Michelle quipped.

“And, you’ve never done that, huh?” Dr. Steiner asked.

“Well…” She decided after a moment of thought to admit it. “One time I was bein’ pretty bad, and wouldn’t obey rules, ‘cause Dad let me.” She’d taken advantage of the fact Danny had promised fewer rules even after she’d knocked over a dinosaur skeleton. “D.J. made me do spring cleaning with him after Disneyworld.”

Danny was as embarrassed as Michelle. “Like I said, I let some things go sometimes. But, D.J. knew just when to step in, didn’t she?” Michelle nodded.

Stephanie decided this was a good time to boost Michelle’s confidence. “But you’re really good now. You’d never take advantage of Dad being sad over losing Mom now.”

Dr. Steiner gratefully used Stephanie’s explanation as a springboard. “One thing children need to learn early is that other people matter. But, it’s hard before a certain age to comprehend others’ feelings, and that people do things for reasons independent of that child. When you wouldn’t obey your dad’s rules, it sounds like D.J. came up with an appropriate way to help you learn. Did you talk with your dad about it while you were doing all that cleaning?”

“Yep. Dad said it’s just what Mom would have done,” Michelle said affectionately as she sat up and gazed lovingly at Danny, who put his arm around her..

“Michelle, it sounds like you understand now that your dad was only choosing not to enforce the rules because he was too sad, and not because of you, right?” Michelle agreed. “So,” Dr. Steiner said, “others might be sad about the accident or scared or something and it doesn’t mean you should totally blame yourself, right?”

“That makes sense. I just feel bad I can’t remember. I want to so badly,” Michelle explained. She went on, as they talked, to express general self-doubt about what she could accomplish.

“That happens sometimes with a concussion like yours - your mind is taking some time putting all the pieces together. It’s probably one more reason you felt more comfortable with Stephanie. You know she can help if you have trouble,” Dr. Steiner remarked. Stephanie beamed.

Michelle concurred. “She’s even helping Gia be nice. She said that’s one really good thing that’s come out of this.”

“Gia had a messy divorce in her home, and a lot of issues,” Danny explained.

“So, good things can come out of the bad, right? What we need to do, Michelle, is help you to find ways to make good things come out of the bad yourself,” the doctor remarked. “For instance, you said you liked horses. If you knew there wouldn’t be any other problems, what would be one goal you would have with that?”

“I want to win next year’s jumping contest,” Michelle blurted.

Danny was taken aback – this was definitely the Jesse-influence Michelle he knew and loved. Indeed, that determination would be there even if D.J. had been proactive from the start, though the accident wouldn’t have happened. Still, Danny said, “Are you sure? Don’t feel you have to win just because I was pushing you before.” Dr. Steiner remarked that winning was hard and that just competing was a good goal

“I know, But, if I don’t, not remembering will be the only memory I have of it,” Michelle declared.

“You’ll do great,” Stephanie said positively. “Just don’t get like Dad was,” she reminded her.

“Oh, I won’t. I’m going to do it because it’s fun,” Michele said.

“That’s what we like to hear,” Danny said as he, Stephanie, and Michelle hugged.

Almost a year later at the stables, Michelle looked at a small pocket calendar. “Between our traveling all-star soccer team and practicing with horses,” she told Denise, “we haven’t had much time. I think I can squeeze in a playdate… next Monday.”

“You are really determined,” Denise said. She recalled how Michelle had revealed last year that Jesse and even her dad not telling her Jesse would move out when they knew for half a year before his wedding hd bothered her. “You’ve figured out how to make the best of things.”

“You know what they say about life giving you lemons.” When Denise said to make lemonade, Michelle shook her head. “Some people say that. I throw them back and demand chocolate.” They laughed together before Denise and her family went to their seats.

Michelle saw Elizabeth come up beside her. “Good luck,” Michelle said.

Elizabeth thanked her. “Good luck to you, too,” she said, feeling a little uncertain – Michelle’s accident was still on her mind a little.

“Thanks. I knew you could make it back,” Elizabeth told her.

It being a year since the accident, there was a little local press coverage with Michelle having made it back. However, she didn’t notice Elizabeth’s slight insecurity about the contest.

A local TV sports reporter was taping a small segment. “We’re here with one of the top young equestrian riders in our state.” She mentioned how Elizabeth had won that competition 3 straight years before last year – starting at age 6 – and had won quite a few around the state since that accident a year ago. “How do you feel about your chances of regaining the title this year?”

“I’m glad so much is being made of Michelle’s comeback,” Elizabeth said, exaggerating the amount of coverage that part received. She hid her insecurity behind a number of clichés. “You have to admire her for coming back like this…. Yes, it was scary, but I knew she’d be back and determined to overcome.” This was the “home” stables for both of them, so she couldn’t use any clichés about home field advantage, but she did add, “Never count out someone in her spot.”

She couldn’t help but chuckle a little as she saw her mom nad Danny talking. She couldn’t believe how many clichés she’d just used.

Danny and Morgan noticed it, too, as they spoke. Elizabeth’s mom had heard about the girls’ cousin Steve, a former Stanford pitcher now in the big leagues. She turned to Danny after each hugged their girls and wished them luck. “It sounds like your nephew Steve would be proud.”

“I’m sure Elizabeth’s a little nervous. I’m glad she’s been winning elsewhere,” Danny said.

“Me, too. I think it’s just being here again at a contest for the first time makes her think. . Well, good luck.” Danny told Morgan good luck, too.

Michelle had been jumping for a while now. She also had a much better horse, it seemed. Still, she felt a little tentative will that first jump. When she cleared it with ease, the butterflies left, and her muscle memory took over. She felt like she was truly one with the horse as she towered over each hurdle with precision.

Making the All-Star soccer team, albeit as the last player chosen, had been a thrill. Travelling around the area had been so much fun. But, nothing could beat the thrill of hearing “First place, Michelle Tanner!’ he leaped for joy and celebrated with her family and friends.

Elizabeth gave her a big hug, too. She knew most people regarded it as a cliché and that in reality, many athletes would say there was no such thing. But, if there ever was a time someone “wanted it more” it was Michelle today.

Indeed, as she told the local reporter afterward, “After that fall last year, this was like her destiny.. She really deserved to win.” And that last, she considered afterward, really wasn’t a cliché. Maybe her comment about Michelle “wanting it more” had been – some would say that was impossible in athletics anyway – but she was glad Michelle had won.

“Your time will come here again, I’m sure,” Danny told her.

“Either way, I’m glad we can jump together as friends,” Michelle said. Elizabeth heartily agreed.

Back home that evening, Michelle looked at her first place ribbon as they all relaxed in the living room. “Wow, I really did it.”

“You sure did. We’re so proud of you,” Danny said. “Of coure, we’d have been proud either way, but it’s fun to know you won.”

“I know. It still seems weird not to remember anything about that accident. But at least I know I was around people who love me,” Michelle continued.

D.J. concurred. Things have really worked out well.”

Steve wondered, “Do you think you’ll try next year, too?”

“Yeah, I mean if you’d want to do more like Elizabeth…” joey trailed off.

Michelle thought for a moment. “No. With soccer and everything else, I’m pretty busy. But, I really glad I went back there. And, I’ll probably do it other years, too.”

“Well, I know Elizabeth’s really glad. But, you did it for yourself, too, right?” Becky asked.

“I did it for a lot of people. I like helping others,” Michelle revealed. The others were glad to hear it.

“That’s great; I guess we’re doin’ something right, huh?” Jesse considered aloud.

“I’m glad Elizabeth is winning other contests, too.” Michelle looked at Danny. “I guess it’s okay if she still struggled a bit here, isn’t it?”

Danny smiled and sat beside her,putting an arm around her. “Of course it is. And, look how it not only helped her concentrate, but helped her mom learn not to push like she did.”

Michelle chuckled. “I guess it worked out then. I wonder where that stuff went I forgot.”

“It’s hard to say; Dad’s told us stories about football players he’d talk to as a sportscaster who don’t remember plays, halves, even whole games,” D.J. reminded her.

“Someday they might learn more memory because of what they go through,” Stephanie predicted.

“Sure; the important part is you’ve got us to help with everything, and you don’t have any other symptoms from that accident,” Joey said.

“Yeah, munchkin, and even if you did, we’d all be there to help youunderstand what you need to remember,” jesse began.

“Go a bit crazy protecting you,” Stephanie interjected, only half-joking. Michelle and she shared a knowing, loving smile.

“And always be by your side encouraging you to be the wonderful young person you’ve become,” Danny said.

“Thanks; you guys are the greatest,” Michelle said as they all hugged.

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