Break a Leg: Take 2

I’m back in the hospital waiting room, while Xander goes under the knife.

Different hospital (we’re in Provo), different surgeon, same injury: 7.5 months later.

Xander’s broken leg and surgery was the last thing I wrote about on the blog before an almost seven month break. I wonder, if I could go back and talk to myself in that waiting room in May and prep myself for what was coming: two weddings, a divorce, four floods, two broken legs, so many doctor appointments, a job that used all my skills and talents but would ultimately dominate every waking hour, a car crash, a stolen purse, a couple moves, so many hours on med school applications…

Also, hundreds of moments where I was so proud of my children gathering to help each other, a miraculous trip to Paris, a church congregation where we felt loved and supported, incredible friends (old and new), Fritzie delighting us every moment, Sunday dinners filled with laughter, evening prayers filled with tears, so much kindness and forgiveness in our own family, long, slow walks with my injured kids (Xander and Mary), silly walks with Fritzie jumping out of the stroller to examine every leaf, stick and rock, Christmas pajamas, reveling in every new word from Fritzie…

I keep thinking about time travel for moms. The things we wish we could go back and tell ourselves, the truths we wish we’d known. Maybe I’ll write a novel about it. Yet, I think my novel would come the the same conclusion of every other time travel story– we do the best with the information we have right now. We’re not meant to know more; we’re meant to make mistakes. Still, I do think we should listen to those who come before us. Especially the advice to young moms that it all goes faster than you think. Because it all goes faster than you think.

Back to Xander. He broke his fibula in April (dislocated his ankle and tore most of his tendons and ligaments) and had surgery May 1. He spent most of the summer (including his wedding) in tremendous pain due to the surgery and chronic post-surgery pain syndrome. I’m talking months where he couldn’t sleep, dropped weight and could scarcely think due to the pain. We searched for pain doctors, medications and therapies and finally found help from Cheri Jackson– another mom whose son dealt with CPSP. She gave us all her hard-won knowledge from her son’s experience (the best sort of time travel).

Along with the pain, it became evident about 6 months out, his leg hadn’t healed correctly. There’s no one to blame. His first surgeon did his best with a horrific break, it’s just how life goes. So today, they cut open both his wide scars, cleaned out the debris, removed all the hardware, cut the bone (ouch!), and put in new, heavy-duty hardware. I don’t want to speak ill of the place he had his initial surgery, but I will say Utah Valley Hospital in Provo was a much better experience in so many ways (qnd they let Xander take home his old leg hardware).

Since Xander and Madi live in a teensy apartment, they are moving in with us for the first few weeks of his recovery. He needs room for a wheelchair and a big tub and well, a lot of care. Erik and I moved to the basement guest-room while Xander and Madi are moving into our room on the main floor– which I must say it the ultimate location for refrigerator, games at the kitchen table, television access, etc. It’s been fun for me to cheer up our master bedroom with Christmas decor and cozy bedding; and good for me to clean out my bathroom drawers and messy closet. I’m also enjoying moving into a different part of our house. Kids change rooms all the time, right? But parents just pick a room and stay. I’m looking forward to enjoying home life from a different perspective.

Xander’s in the recovery room now; we’ll be heading home soon. We’re looking forward to a quiet Christmas of good food, games, movies, a fabulous gingerbread house and (with luck!) all the right pain medications. It’s hard to go back to square one when you’ve just spent 7 months recovering but Xander’s in good sprits. How often in life do we say, “I can’t do that again” and yet, we do it again. We’re all stronger than we think. We have each other; we’ll do the best with what we have right now.

December 15, 2021
December 30, 2021


1 Comment

  1. Anne Marie

    December 24, 2021

    Oh my friend, WHAT A YEAR for your family! So many hardships and so many unexpected turns. I am so sorry for it all. And what I see and read amazes me. The LOVE is threaded through every one of your family’s stories, the love of God and the love of siblings and the love of amazing spouses and the love so many who are in your tribe and the mama love which you have wrapped your kids up since the day each of them arrived on this planet. Thank you for your wisdom and your perspective.

    Wishing you and yours a very merry Christmas. Hope the gingerbread house is so magical. And hope that you are all encircled in so much love this holiday season! Xoxo

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