(Graphic Description and Kleenex Alert)
Ok, so it’s been quite a while since I have blogged. It’s not like I haven’t had anything to write about, because I have. And it’s true that I have been very busy with school and with the kids’ activities, but that’s not the reason for my absence in cyberspace. The truth is that I have had so many things going on that I could write about, but they are so personal and emotional that I haven’t had the guts to tackle them. As my mom so often points out-when I am upset, stressed, or worried, I tend to pull into my tortoiseshell and hibernate. I prefer to avoid human contact during these times. I’m not sure why really, except that I am too much of a coward to face my problems head on. And I feel like everyone else is so busy with their own lives/problems that no one really wants to listen to me whine about mine.
I have a feeling several people will be smacking me upside the head after they read this-my mom, my mom-in-law, my father, my aunts-so I should know better than to keep everything bottled up inside, but I really can’t help it. I guess I’m just not very good at dealing with stress. So, here I am, finally ready to share a little, but only under the emotionless cover of cyberspace.
The worst thing happened a couple of weeks ago. My 6-year-old, Abby, fell off of the monkey bars at school and broke her arm. Now, let me tell you-I have broken my foot, several toes (yes, I am a klutz), and a finger, but these breaks were so mild that I wasn’t even sure they merited a trip to the doctor. But when the school called and told me that Abby had broken her arm, and asked whether I wanted to drive her to the hospital or whether they should call an ambulance, I knew that I was dealing with something out of my league.
They knew her arm was broken just by looking at it? Not good. They wanted to call an ambulance? Definitely not good. And remember, this is my little girl we are talking about. I told the school I would pick her up because I was only five miles away, and I figured Abby would be terrified if she had to ride in an ambulance. Of course, they wound up calling the rescue squad anyway because her arm was so bad that she couldn’t be moved without a professional splint. So the rescue squad put Abby’s arm in an inflatable splint and I drove her to the nearest hospital (25 minutes away) while she cried the whole time. Her arm was in a splint and packed with ice, so although I knew she was in pain, I had yet to see the injury.
We just happened to hit the emergency room during a lull in activity and were taken straight back into a room, where the first order of business was to remove Abby’s splint. Then bones had jammed together, shortening her arm, so nothing had poked through her skin, but I could tell by looking that her arm was in bad shape. She broke completely through both of the bones just above her wrist, and her arm was bent at a bit of angle at a place where it should have been stick straight.
There are no words to describe the pain of watching your child suffer. It really is like getting your heart ripped out. I am thankful that her injury wasn’t more serious. Had she lost a limb or been caught in a fire I don’t think I would have been able to handle it. As it was, I had to sit for several hours in the ER, watching her suffer more pain than I have ever seen anyone endure. My greatest physical pain thus far has been giving birth, but I am certain that her pain exceeded that. And she was unable to have anything stronger than Tylenol 3 because the doctor worried that she may need surgery.
It was five hours after she broke her arm that Abby was finally taken to the OR, not to have surgery, thank God, but to be put under general anesthesia while her arm was set and casted. Normally family members are not allowed into the recovery room, but Abby was freaking out so much when she woke up from the anesthesia that they took me back there to be with her. Her throat was scratchy from the intubation tube they used while she was under and she was panicking, which caused her asthmatic airways to swell. Her arm felt infinitely better, just from having been reset to its natural position, but now she had to receive a breathing treatment and a dose of morphine to help calm her down.
Seven hours after Abby broke her arm she was finally admitted to the pediatric ward. It took us a while to convince her that she would have to stay in the hospital overnight, because she was getting really fed up with the whole situation. Several hours of extreme pain had left her feeling tired and grouchy, and she was terrified by all that had happened. She finally settled down with her morphine, cartoons, and the promise of an endless supply of juice, pudding, and ice cream. I drove home to take care of the other three kids while Matt stayed with Abby in the hospital.
While we were waiting in the ER to find out the extent of Abby’s injury I texted my family to ask for prayer that she wouldn’t need to have surgery. Later, when I talked to my mom, she told me she had been praying like crazy for something else that I hadn’t even thought of. I was so focused on Abby’s pain that I forgot about my MS. MS patients are extremely fragile and can be vaulted into a relapse by something as simple as a cold or flu, or by any level of stress. My mom is a nurse and she knew that the kind of stress I was going through that day was enough to put me in the hospital right next to Abby. Miraculously, I made it through the entire day with nary a symptom. Amazing. I did crash the next day and spent most of the morning in bed, which stunk because I had a research paper due in class the next day, but I still can’t believe I made it through the hospital ordeal.
I managed to write my research paper on the day it was due (thank God for evening classes), and I even got an A on it, thank you very much. I survived a hellish day of watching my little girl suffer and I lived to blog about it. This is just one piece, albeit the most (recent) jagged one, of my stressful life puzzle. All I can do is thank God that He is faithful, that He answers prayers, and that He strengthens me in times of trial.