just a mom figuring it out one day at a time

Parenting- A Contact Sport

As I sat in the office, anxiously awaiting my results, I could hear the rustle of films being examined outside of the room I was in. I could barely make out the voices, and caught only snippets…”hmm, obviously visible” and then another rustle of the films and muffled conversation. I don’t know why I was trying to make out what was happening, after all he was going to come in and tell me any minute. I guess I was just trying to prepare myself. Then a small knocking on the door and the doctor enters.

“Can you tell me again how you did this?” said the doctor.

Although I had told the PA the story last week, and it was clearly written in my chart, for some reason he wanted to hear it again. Why? I don’t know, perhaps because as he said my injury was “unusual” for someone my age.

“Two months ago I was standing at the foot of our stairs at an angle, where my right side was facing the stairs. I had just placed something on the stairs, to go up later, and stood up to see a hurling mass of a three year old heading towards me. My 38 lb daughter, who is fearless, had jumped from our landing and was about to become one with the hardwood flooring. Without thinking I caught her with my right arm. I figured I had strained something, but it still hasn’t completely gotten better. I can do most things but have a hard time with certain motions.” I replied.

Satisfied with my explanation, my doctor placed my films up on lighted wall and began to point out to me what was wrong with them. Using his pen he showed me what looked really good about my shoulder and then he pointed out this white gap.

“You see this whiteness, right here.”

Deep breath, because obviously there is a problem with the gap. “Yes.”

“That is where your tendon should be connected to the bone. It is not a massive tear, but you do have a near complete tear from the bone.” He now points to the other side of the white space. “This is where it would and should have connected.”

Holy #$%&! I have really torn my rotator cuff to the point that the only way to fix it is through surgery because it was a traumatic injury and the type of tear it is. Unbelievable. So now he goes on to explain that I need surgery where anchors will be set into my bone, the tear sutured and pulled tight against the anchors, almost like tying a shoe. The really bad news, as if that wasn’t bad or unpleasant enough, is the recovery. Except for physical therapy, my arm should be largely immobile for 6 weeks. SIX WEEKS. And it may be 6 MONTHS to a YEAR before I have full range of motion and strength again. As I listen to him tell me about the rehab etc. my first¬†instinct is well… it has to get done, it will not be pleasant, but so be it. It is only later that the full impact of what this all means sets in.

Later that night I start to realize the impact. I won’t be able to drive easily, tie my kids shoes, make sandwiches, or put my hair up, etc. etc. etc. My exercising will be limited as will most of my day to day activities. My only consolation is that I can at least type with just my left hand!

As I digested all of this, I spoke with one of my family members about how it happened and what I would do next. Without thinking, I spoke of KC’s airborne incident, me catching her and now the aftermath. What I didn’t realize was that she had been listening. As I hung up the phone, she came over to me. I could see that she was troubled. She flung her two little arms around my neck and buried her face against me.

“I’m so sorry I hurt you Mommy.” she said in her little mini mouse voice.

“Oh baby, its OK, Mommy’s going to be just fine. I just have a boo boo, it was not your fault.” I replied as I stroked her hair and held her to me.

So what was complicated just got a little more so. Now when I have had to explain what has happened, I am more careful to speak in code and generalities because the last thing I want is for her to feel responsible for what was simply an accident.

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