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!