Brady fractured his leg on Wednesday night at 6pm… The cast wasn’t put on until about 4pm on Thursday. The waiting game between those two time frames was brutal, especially since nurses continued to tell us that there was no guarantee they’d be able to squeeze him in that day. The realization that a cast might not be put on until Friday was almost too much to stand.
We were told that the procedure had to take place in an operating room, as Brady would have to be asleep for the cast to be done. So no food or drink for him until afterward.
As I suspected, Brady woke up that morning, looked around the hospital room in confusion, and then asked for a “Tumi.” (His word for “smoothie”). I nodded and said, “Okay! In a few minutes. We just need a doctor to fix your boo boo.”
An hour later, he was asking for “juice” and “gween popsicles”. The asking turned to begging.
“I sorry,” he said at one point. (Bah, I couldn’t handle it).
It stabbed me in the heart every time. His lips were dry. He’d just gotten over a fever and was obviously very thirsty. And here I was denying him the one thing that would make him a bit more comfortable. (I mean, on top of this, he was lying in the bed with a broken leg that had yet to be placed in a protective cast).
All they were giving him for pain meds was Tylenol every 6 hours. When I asked for a higher dose or something stronger, a doctor refused my request.
By noon, Brady was begging and crying every ten minutes (I’m not exaggerating at all) for a popsicle, milk or juice. The nurses decided to give him an IV, but they missed both times. So the end result was a frightened, dehydrated toddler who had been stuck with a needle twice. They tried again an hour later, and I had to hold him down while he begged, “Mama, all done! Mama, all done!”
A nurse matter-of-factly said, “Well, he’s not too dehydrated, because he can still cry tears.” I wanted to slap her.
They were successful that time in getting the IV into his little hand. But it was one of several times that day that I just broke down and cried. I couldn’t bear it. I couldn’t watch it anymore. But I couldn’t make it all better, like I was supposed to be able to do.
It was around that point that I had to leave the room, because I didn’t want my sobs to scare Brady. One of the nurses (an amazing woman who I absolutely loved) followed me and directed me to a play room not far away. “Take a few minutes off to just breathe,” she whispered to me, “and I’ll call the doctors again to see if there’s an update as to when they’ll take Brady.”
It was in the playroom that I met another mom. She was sitting on one of the couches while her little boy – a handsome red head – played with blocks. She made sure that I was okay, and we exchanged small-talk. It came out that her little boy had been diagnosed with leukemia the week before and was going to have to come back to the hospital twice a week for chemo.
I was floored. You see families on television talking about how cancer has shattered the normal lives of their children, but I’ve honestly never spoken to a mom facing it. Her strength and resolve and hope inspired me. But at the same time, my heart broke in two. For her and for her child.
It was one of several times that I came face-to-face with the ugliness that sometimes plagues the lives of families. I overheard a doctor talking with another physician, warning him that a 17 year old patient didn’t yet know he had cancer. I heard a father talking on the phone, describing the condition of his teenage son who had been nearly killed in a devastating car accident. I saw a teenage girl who was missing an eye and hooked up to a bag of chemo.
It didn’t make seeing Brady suffer any easier. Not at all. But it reminded me that I should count my blessings,because in six weeks Brady’s Spica cast will come off. And then he will be able to run and play again (after a bit of exercise and potentially physical therapy). His struggle will be a long one for him, because he doesn’t understand what’s happening. But he’s not fighting for his life.
We are blessed!
I cried when they finally wheeled Brady’s little body into the operating room, and I had to sit behind in the waiting room. I cried when I walked into recovery, and he looked up at me with pale face and lips. I cried when the nurse offered him a popsicle (the popsicle he had been waiting for all day), and he replied, “Okay, let’s do it!”
I cried when I saw the restrictive, Spica cast that he will be forced to wear for 6 long weeks.
I cried a LOT that day!
But staying in that hospital did put everything into perspective for me. And it has filled me with a renewed thankfulness for the blessings I have… and a greater determination to fiercely pray for those who are facing the unimaginable.
Six weeks is a long time for a little boy to not be able to walk or sit up. (And it’s a long time for a mama to deal with caring for a toddler in a Spica cast, although more on that lovely green monster in a blog post later on). 🙂 But I will help him take this a day at a time. And we’ll all get through this together!