The Femur Adjustment

Until there is a family emergency, small problems can seem huge and big problems can seem permanent.

On our way to the pumpkin patch last weekend, we received a phone call.  My mother had fallen and was in excruciating pain.  Her screams of agony haunt me.  The drive to the hospital seemed to go in slow motion.  We arrived at the hospital in time to witness the hospital staff putting my mother’s leg in traction.  This process can only be described as inhumane.  I was sure that she would go into shock…I was equally sure that I would faint.  Neither of these things happened and finally, the medicine kicked in.  At this point, my breathing began again.

There were different doctors and nurses telling us about the upcoming surgery.  They inventoried her personal items and we took jewelry home that she never takes off under normal circumstances.  There were consent forms. explanations, questions and more questions.  The somber expressions were almost too much when all we wanted was some reassurance.  The surgery was more complicated than anyone expected. After what seemed like a lifetime, my mother’s femur was “repaired” with pins, plates, cables and a titanium rod.  The surgeon was pleased with himself and explained that the really hard work would be hers.

Throughout this chaotic weekend, my son did amazing.  He wanted to see his granny, even after being warned that it could be upsetting.  He walked in holding hands with his cousins and held my mother’s hand.  He was flexible and accommodating when we returned to the hospital later that evening.  His schedule was disrupted, his food was not typical, and everyone’s emotions were frazzled.  For a child with sensory issues, the lighting, sounds and smells are distracting to say the least.

After the surgery was over, I sat down and burst into tears.  My son came and sat next to me.  He held my hand and patted my hair.  He told me that he was worried about Granny.  He told me that he was worried about me.  At this point, I snapped out of my temporary breakdown and realized that it was not my 7-year-old son’s job to console me.  I explained to him that I knew Granny would be okay, but I was worried about the long recovery.  This seemed to reassure him and shortly after. he asked if he could play a little Mine Craft.  Thankfully, this request was “normal” and I really was looking for a little normal at the time.

I sent my son to school on Monday.  Before he walked out the door, I emailed his school explaining the current situation.  He didn’t have time for his typical “weekend tantrum” this weekend and I was afraid that all of the emotions and feelings would erupt at school.  Unfortunately, I know my son well.  While at the hospital, my phone rang and the principal said that it had been a rough day.  I was disappointed, but honestly not surprised.

If only Monday was an isolated incident; however, there was a “repeat performance” yesterday.  I shouldn’t be surprised because my son looks to home as his sanctuary…his place to recover.  This is where everything is supposed to be consistent and structured.  This week has been anything but consistent!

The school staff met and discussed strategies and some of our suggestions to help my TBP.  We believe that he should resume eating lunch with the secretaries instead of trying to manage all that takes place in the lunchroom.  We feel that instruction around “cool down strategies” would help prepare him for those most challenging days.  Being able to earn Ipad time on a daily basis might be just the incentive to get him through the hardest times (lunch and recess).

While I am upset with my son’s week at school, I cannot obsess about his mistakes.  Instead, I split my attention between my work, my son and my mother’s health.  I won’t lie…I have had challenging moments, but  I am reminded that “this too shall pass.”

The bottom line is…the frustration that I have felt about some of my son’s choices, does not overshadow the importance of my mother’s recovery.  During the hardest time, my son showed patience, compassion, love & flexibility.  Yes…flexibilty!  I guess it took a broken femur to help put things in perspective!

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4 thoughts on “The Femur Adjustment

  1. I’m so sorry to hear about your mom, Kelly! I’ll be hoping for a steady road to recovery!
    When you wrote about your son’s compassion for you, it reminded me of my own little guy. My brother passed away this summer, and the morning of the funeral I was busy getting dressed and remembering the pictures and the “stuff” to do. When things slowed down for a minute was when I hit that shaky emotional ground. My three year old came over, wrapped his arms around me, and then looked at me and said, “Does your heart feel better now, Mama?” Just like as adults we sometimes find a well of compassion we didn’t know was there to draw from, kids find that too. I’m so glad your son could find that to bring you comfort.
    While it sometimes doesn’t feel like it at the time, the days of disruption and frustration will pass, and things will return to “normal.” Hang in there!

    • Beth-Thank you for your kind words! I am so sorry about the recent loss of your brother! Although it is challenging, she gets stronger each day and we are so lucky because it could have been so much worse!
      Blessings to you and yours!

  2. I hope you’re Mom is feeling bette, my Mom also broke her femur a few years ago and it’s one of the largest bones in your body so it’s not an easy bone to mend. She will get stronger and will complain about the metal detector going off at the airport because of her leg:-)

    Thanks for writing this to remind us to put things into perspective, kids are amazing and surprise us every day!

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