Keeping Ahead of His Pain

We studied Friday’s cat scan of my son’s broken leg, clipped with a clothes pin to our floor lamp, all weekend.

The cat scan reveals that the fracture line in the tibia runs straight down and splits the ankle.When the orthopedist delivered the news Friday, on my birthday, I found myself grasping the examining table, as if I was the patient, and I could no longer stand on my own right leg. “This will be a 3-6 month injury,” was the first words out of his mouth. I’m already “over this,” but the first thought that came out of my mind was how perfect my son was when he was born, and now they’re going to put screws in him? For life? How unpure… and sad. But, like I said, I’m over that now.  “Isn’t it great they have this technology so he can run?”

The doctor sent his home, and we quickly made arrangements to meet with an orthopedist back home. My husband was at a dinner with curious orthopedic surgeons, so I sent him pictures of the scans on my cell phone. “Two screws,” was the general consensus. Surgery, was slowly becoming in inevitable part of this summer’s adventures.  The question really was, “how much surgery.”

My son is getting along fine on his crutches, and I’m getting used to the rhythm… he can pour his cereal and his milk, but he needs me to walk it over to the table for him. I’m remembering sooner, rather than later, not to ask him to get that box on the high shelf for me, and no, he can’t take the garbage out for you.Without his help, the daily chores are taking longer.

Yet, the injury is taking its toll on my active teenage son, physically and emotionally. He looks wiped out, and I know he needs some serious help… help that we can’t give him at the lake. Ibuprofen, my son’s favorite pain med, was ceased; thins the blood — not good before surgery.  Tylenol was too weak, so we went back to Vicodin. Reminding him to keep his leg propped “higher than your heart,” was my mantra. The immobility of this injury is taking its toll on his spirits.

All weekend, I was at the lake, but not “at the lake.” I packed up our clothes, books, cat scan and CD, along with memories from the lake house this summer… eagerly awaiting the prognosis from the doctor back home. Last night, when I stood in the knotty pine glow of the bathroom, I realized there was a part of me watching myself pack. A part of me never expected to come back home so quickly; and wonders if this is all real. The other part of me couldn’t get home soon enough.

This morning, we left the lake, and arrived home for our 3 p.m. appointment. The injury baffled the nurse — we’re back in a world where an explanation of a wakeboard is needed. The doctor delivered the prognosis:

  • Surgery tomorrow morning at 10:30 a.m.
  • Out-patient.. but he will be “under.”
  • He’ll receive a nerve block that will wear off in 12-24 hours. To stay ahead the pain, I’ll give him his first pain medicine at 10 p.m. tomorrow.
  • Bandage for 2 weeks. Bandage will be 3 times bigger than boot.
  • Cast for one month.
  • Boot for 3 months.
  • He’ll need to carry a pillow with him to school so he can keep his leg elevated in classes. (Son already whispered, “I will not carry a pillow to school.” I said, “I’ll make it easier for you… I’ll get you a Buzz Lightyear Pillow case.”
  • He will walk on his own again, just before Thanksgiving.

There are lots of nerves in the foot…. his pain will be intense.

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3 comments to “Keeping Ahead of His Pain”
  1. Prayers for all of you and that the surgery will go as planned!
    Thinking of your son(and you) and wishing him a quick recovery!

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