Saturday, September 19, 2015

Our Spica Cast Story

Our Summer was dramatically altered early that one Monday morning in July as we were starting our fun family day out in the backyard tent. Colton was exuding energy as he bounced precariously on the air mattress and stumbling all over the tent while he danced and sang, "Old 'MacFarmer' had a cow, E I E I O! With a farm farm here, and a farm, farm there!" He was making us laugh, I even have video of it.

As I pulled myself together and exited the tent to get going on our fun plans for the day, Jimmy and Colton clambered after me. One by one, they both tripped over the tent door and tumbled to the ground. I even had a chuckle of amusement forming at how virtually impossible it is for kids to simply exit a tent without stumbling. But then the cries that came out of my 2 year-old signaled immediately that something was wrong. Very wrong. He was in the most agony I have ever seen anybody experience. Literally dropping everything, we left immediately for the emergency room. The x ray revealed a spiral fractured femur, which sent us by ambulance to Rochester.
Our previously planned fun-day resulted in hours of tremendous pain and discomfort for him, and agonizing concern for his mama and daddy, and even big brother. They told us he would need to go under anesthesia so they could set his leg in a spica cast. He would most likely be in this cast for 6-8 weeks. Our lives were going to be majorly re-adjusted.

Thus commenced the spica cast story for our family. 

When he came out of anesthesia, I found my rambunctious little boy entirely restricted from his chest to his ankle (and knee on his non-injured leg). He couldn't even be in a position to lie down comfortably without some customized elevation. My poor baby couldn't even MOVE. And that's when a little panic started to seep in. How was he going to survive this??

I will never forget the sinking helplessness I felt the first time I tried to pick him up in his cast. I couldn't manage to hold his cumbersome body without causing him more pain and tears. I had to turn my head and try to blink back the tears rolling down my own cheeks because I couldn't let him see me cry. But then my strong husband picked him up, and when he put him in my arms, all was suddenly right in my little boy's world. Sweet Colton laid his head on my shoulder and tearfully thanked us. The mixed feelings of relief and terror was such an emotional experience in that moment. 

I was so fortunate to have a friend of a friend get me in touch with a couple friends of her own whom had experienced the whole spica cast journey themselves, and the first thing they helped me realize: This happens to other families too! And secondly: You do survive this! It seemed like such a surreal idea at the time, but it gave me hope. Knowing that other parents have experienced this trauma was so helpful in accepting grace for the coming hours, days, weeks... 

That is why I'm sharing our story, in hopes that some frantic mama out there, who like me, is searching google and pinterest during the midnight hours for any little piece of reassurance and tips on how to handle these arduous weeks. I want to pass on to her what I learned in all of this. 

And the first thing is, Mama, you will survive. And more importantly, your precious baby will survive. 

The first few days are the worst, the following week is still the hardest, but it will get easier. You must be patient and give it time. 

You will need to take a lot of deep breaths, because you won't be getting much sleep. Seriously, it is very much like having a newborn baby with the amount of care they require, especially initially. Accept help, and certainly don't feel bad to ask for it. Your house will be rearranged to suit the comfort and safety of your child the most. You won't have time to keep up on stuff. This will result in the steady feeling of disarray. That's okay. It's part of the story.

There will be more posts coming to share how we learned to cope, and even enjoy life through this experience, and I will be sure to link them here. In the mean time, if you are that desperate mama and just need a little been-there-done-that support and encouragement, I welcome you to email me. ( I would love to virtually "hold your hand" as you go on this journey.

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