So while it was all ok few weeks ago it wasn’t on Monday when I brought Nicholas to see Dr. Standard to check on his leg and arm. As soon as his cast came off Nicholas and I both knew it didn’t look right. And of course the films revealed it wasn’t. I am usually super calm but but I had to go find Dr. Standard. I told him Nicks arm looked wrong and that I was panicking a little. He came in and said he hadn’t seen the films but it could be swollen…
On the leg front there was a bit more of a surprise. I wish I knew how to post a photo from my iPad cause the image was a little freaky. Kind of like rod going one way and bone going another. Stacy the tech who was working with him had trouble finding his knee cap. I could tell it felt funny to her. Maybe Nicks knee is funny but his kneecap was usually not hard to find.
It’s also funny cause Steven said he thought Nicks legs didn’t look even anymore and Nick was walking in a really kicked out way. I thought he was still walking to accommodate the ex fix or phantom ex fix but when we arrived Dr. Standard saw Nick walking and he knew.
All this knowing going around and then the whammy. Surgery would need to be the next day (yesterday) on both his arm and leg. The arm just needed a little push back into place. Not a big deal and not at all uncommon. I asked Dr. Standard what would make it stay in place this time and he said the bone would now be sticky. We are thankful for that stickiness which made it an easy fix.
Nick’s leg was a little trickier. The way Dr.S explained it to us was that he would use a fixator to put the bone back in place and the put a plate on it to keep it there. No fixator after surgery though. Just in surgery. Nick heard pins and for a moment he looked stricken but was relieved that he wouldn’t see anything sticking out of his leg after surgery.
Sudden surgery was a pretty new experience for us. Part of me was really expecting an awesome report, a short waterproof cast, maybe an Rx for physical therapy to help his walking! But I have been feeling uneasy and worried and just that general something’s going to happen feeling. So I am not totally surprised.
Helping Nicholas not be depressed by this was my first priority. He was already feeling quite unlucky to have broken his arm so soon after leg surgery. I asked him “what are we?” he said “strong” and I said “brave”. Then I asked “what do we do when we’re scared?” and he said “what’s right” and I said “we do it anyway and we make the most of it”. And that’s what we did.
Making the most of it meant enjoying our Mommy/Nick time together. We went shopping, to dinner and stayed at the Raddison. We brought dessert back to our room and watched movies. We got snacks from the vending machine at 10pm. We made silly videos and danced and laughed!
We know how to make the most of it and we know how to be brave. Going into surgery Nick was nervous. He was shaking which is not like him so I had to distract him fast. I suggested his surgery dream be a lego star wars one and asked him what his ship would be. That worked like a charm and before I knew it Nick was asleep and I was on my way back to waiting area.
On the way a man approached me (clearly thinking I worked at Sinai) asked me where the cardiac waiting area was. I told him I didn’t know. It was a funny little moment that broke some of the tension I had building. Going back to the waiting room knowing Steven wasn’t there was hard. Still I did my usual stuff, got coffee and a magazine and waited. Nurse Harriet came out to talk to me twice. The first time to tell me things were going well but taking longer than planned and the second time to say they were about done and Dr. Standard would be out to talk to me soon.
When Dr. S cam out he said everything went great. Arm went right into place and his leg was back on track. Maybe straighter than before. Back on track and great are really all I heard. I was just so relieved. I suppose when things go wrong it makes me wonder if things will keep going wrong. You really can’t take anything for granted so I was preparing myself to hear that he lost length or had some complications but there weren’t any.
Nick is currently as comfortable as a kid who had surgery yesterday and still has lots of wires attached to him can be. Steven came late last night which was just a relief. Even when things are going fine it still helps and I was able to sleep more than if Nick and I were alone.
Last week there was a crazy thread on one of the Fibular Hemimelia facebook groups and some things were upsetting to me. One person who chose amputation for thier child wrote that one thing that influenced their choice was that a doctor said “Kids who have lengthening are patients and kids who have amputations are athletes”. I wrote a long and thoughtful response to that one. I would love to get that doctors name and post it all over so families who want an unbiased and actual fact based assessment can avoid him/her.
Anyway one of the things I wrote was that “the easy ship sailed when Nicholas was born with Fibular Hemimelia”. Maybe the easy ship sailed for me when I became a Mom. If anyone is looking or an easy solution or to make life easier for their child they need to get a clue. FH or no FH life is life and so very much of it is out of our control. Maybe that idiotic doctor should ask the family whose child has had 13 surgeries despite the fact that they chose amputation how he would assess their child. What category would he be placed in? Or check out the kids who have had lengthening and ARE athletes!
Today Nick is a patient. I am hoping he will not be for a few years but I can accept that that is out of our control. I have faith that if something happens to Nick’s leg or any other bone Dr.Standard will be able to fix it. I know that being a patient from time to time is not destroying my boy. He’s a happy, healthy, compassionate and brave kid! I think that trumps athlete any day!