Tuesday, September 30, 2014

On her feet

At Auntie K's urging, she gamely tried her walker out.  She was so proud when we came home.  Finally mobility!

Saturday, September 27, 2014


The wheelchair-bound s and g take in some really good ice cream.

Thursday, September 25, 2014

The new realities

We came home today with a lot of new realities to content with, details of every day life that now has to be worked out in painstaking minutiae.

We were given a walker and a wheelchair after the physical therapist determined that crutches were too much to deal with.

We arrived at home and s immediately perked up, happier to be amidst her toys and bed.

Now how does one manage a wheelchair in a home not suited for one?  Do we have an at-home wheelchair (ie clean) vs an outdoor wheelchair?  Where will she shower or bathe?  The surgery site still wrapped in gauze and multiple layers of bandages.  Where will she sleep?  Where will she hang out during the day?

Her pain management was tylenol with codeine for the last 24 hours.  Even s knew that codeine is not the "good stuff" as she repeatedly asks for the medicine that goes directly into her tube.  She refused to take the codeine, claiming that it tastes awful.  Secretly I feel that if she is enough pain that it would require medication, there would be less of an argument about taste.

How will she sleep?  G removed the blackboard hanging on the side of her bed (our diy babygate to prevent her from falling out of bed).  She fells asleep in her own bed tonight, snuggling with her stuff toys.  She has many and her bed is full of them.

There are many points in today's riotous commotion when I felt that I could no longer deal with one more decision.  Overwhelmed, both G and I drag ourselves to sleep to the hum of the sound machine and the intercom that we've reinstated in their room so that we can hear her calling for us.  It was the end of the day but the beginning of a different life.

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Surgery Day

G woke up early.  Our cellphone alarms rang one after the other (so much for satellite time).  We had set the alarm early because s's last meal before surgery needed to be done by 7:00 am and we also needed to move the car as I only parked on the street.  So G went out to get food and moved the car while I fed s.

Then the day was a long slog until 3:00 pm.  s dozed on and off as she watched TV on and off.  She had morphine injected into her IV every 3 hours.  G and I sat, talked, planned as we watched the clock.  I sought momentary refuge in work from the endless wait.  I tapped away on my laptop.

1:30 pm.  The nurse came it to say that they were going to start prepping.  s needed to be moved.  Even with the morphine, any attempt to move her leg resulted in screams so they decided to just move the entire bed rather than putting her onto a smaller transport gurney.  We navigated the hospital bed through hallways.  She looked small in this large bed through wide hallways in a hospital.

Another Xray.  Last night's realigning has put the bones in approximately the right location.  That's a good sign.

We are brought to PACU as the anesthesiologist came to greet us.  More doctors are introduced.  Even more forms needed to be signed.  Over the day and the night before, we've met many doctors of varying shapes who are associated/worked with our surgeon.  We didn't meet him until a few minutes before surgery.

The surgeon was confident, quietly so.  He reassured us that the breaks happened under the growth plates so recovery looks good.  He delivered the blow that there needs to be another surgery to remove the screws that he was about to put in.  So as s starts to recover from her injury and move on her own, she will need to come back for another surgery.

Then it was time to say goodbye.  s was pretty brave.  "You'll be ok.  Mommy will be waiting for you when you get out."  I said.

She nodded.  I am not sure if it was agreement or the anesthesia started to work.

Her last statement as she began to doze off was whether or not she could have a sleepover with her best friends.  I had to laugh because she would be thinking that.

We went home to clean up, to nap and to pick up g from school.  We were on our way to the school when the doctor called and said that surgery went well (full minutes earlier than expected). 5 small incisions rather than 1 large one on her left thigh.  We picked g up and went to the hospital.

When we arrived, she wasn't ready yet and has not been completely set up at the PACU.  When we are finally able to see her, she looked angry.  Her sleeping face had a grimace.  I noticed blood on her clothes.  They said that she had awakened too early and pulled out one of the lines.  Nothing to worry about, they reassured.

She was sleeping but was coming around.  We took turns sitting by her side while the other would be with g, doing homework.

I stayed with her that night as throughout the night, nurses, techs and doctors came to see her in what seems to be visits timed around the time when she finally has fallen asleep.  She didn't mind most of the visits except the phlebotomist.  By then, she was over being poked.  She begged them to take blood from her IV line.  Thankfully, the girl had talent and the torture lasted less than a minute.  After that, she was all tuckered out.

I sat there, watching her.  Sleepy but unable to sleep as the interruptions continued throughout the night and dawn.  She is going to be ok.  I didn't quite realize what laid ahead.

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

In a split second

Life can change in a split second.

Tuesday, September 23, 2014, G picked up the girls from after school.  As usual, they stopped by the park for a little free play before coming home to make dinner.  The girls played as G chatted with a friend at the park.  They played tag when s finally asked to take a breather.  She started roaming quietly around and under the slide.  The game of tag continued in earnest.  One boy climbed the slide ladder to try to get away from his chasers, not knowing that from the other side of slide the other contingent of chasers were soon cornering him.  He reached the top of the ladder, realizes that he is trapped.  In that second, he chose to jump.  In that same second, s stepped into what would be his landing spot.  She broke his fall.

I sat in my office, waiting for colleagues as we were preparing to go to a client dinner.  I got a call from G.  He said casually, "hey, what are you doing?  Are you at dinner?"  

"Not yet.  Leaving soon.  What's up?" I said.

"There's been an accident.  S got hurt at the playground.  She may have dislocated her leg.  She seems better now.  We'll bring her to the ER since we are with K (her aunt).  We'll meet you at home." he said calmly.  

"ok.  Let me know what happens."

We left to meet the client at the bar.  Ended up needing to go to Edwards.  I kept checking my phone when my colleagues (both dads) insisted that I should just go. 

So I dropped them off at Edwards and started walking casually to the hospital.  I decided to pick up dinner since the kids haven't eaten and strolled over.  I didn't think much of it.  g dislocated her arm before and it was no big deal.  It happens.

I realized at the ER that gravity of the situation.  I learned there that she broke her leg.  Her bone pieces are perpendicular to each other.

I entered the ER to see my little girl being a subdued version of herself.  She had been given morphine to manage her pain and her leg bent in a weird angle.  She was watching TV.

Surgery.  Cat scans.  Xrays.  She will need to be admitted.

Then there's g.  She cried as she told me that s was in pain and that she couldn't stand it.  g told me what happened in the playground as she was amongst the kids playing tag.  She needed to go home, to shower, to sleep, to prepare for school.  I was torn between staying with s and taking care of g.  I needed to make sure she was safe and happy.  I texted a friend, a lifesaver, g's bff's mom, "can g stay over tonight?"  She called within minutes and the plan was hatched.

The hour after was a blur.  I could not figure out how to get out the parking lot, couldn't find the parking ticket, couldn't find cash.  Somehow I managed to get home.  I prepped g's dinner (gone cold), packed her bags, packed myself and G a bag for the hospital, drove g to our friend's and made it to hospital just as s got her hospital room.

S was comfortable as long as no one moved her leg.  The doctor likened it to being stabbed from the inside as the shards of bones poked at her muscles.  She ate a little of the cold chicken and went to sleep.  G ate his cold dinner.  He fell into bed, exhausted.

I could not sleep so I tapped away on my laptop until my eyes grew bleary and dry.  I settle into my side of our single hospital bed for the evening.  The hospital bed was about 3 ft wide.  It was cozy as we slept on our side, side by side.

Tomorrow, there's surgery.