So now it is Monday. Again we woke up to a parade of doctors and nurses checking on his progress. It is hard to get used to waking up to so many strangers looking down at you first thing in the morning, but you get used to it after a while. I was supposed to be home by 11am that day to get the kids so Jason could get some rest. He was trying to keep his work schedule as much as possible in case he had to go in, but it was hard. He was sleeping a couple hours at night and a few during the day. That persisted throughout the week. The doctors, nurses, and Child Life personnel streamed into our room until 1pm. At that point I finally got a shower. While showering, a young girl was in the room playing guitar and letting Derek play percussion instruments. He LOVED it! There are so many nice things they do for the kids while they are there. On my way home, I realized it was too late again to pick the food up from the church that
people left for us, so I decided to get Taco Bell for lunch. I got home about 2:30, so it was a late lunch, but we were just taking things as they came at that time. Poor Jason, the consummate planner,was literally going insane without a plan each day. After lunch, I took the puppies to the kennel. It was sad to just leave them there, but necessary. It was too much confusion with all our kids and the pups. I finally got the kids up to the hospital by 2ish. We went into the room and Derek was napping, but Ashley took care of that for us. She just climbed right up and smacked him in the face! Poor Derek. He loves his sister, but at that moment I thought he was going to toss her across the room! We did not need any more trauma, so I moved her closer to Jason and Troy. We watched part of the Bob The Builder movie, the one we already knew all the words to, and then we went down the hall to the play room. The kids loved that little room, but it was small, and Derek got frustrated easily. He couldn’t reach all the toys, and his brothers were having so much fun. It was then he started to realize his limitations. He cried a lot in that room that day. My heart broke for him. He is such a crazy, lively little guy, but now he was just stuck. We left the playroom, went downstairs to get dinner, and then I gave the other kids a bath or shower and took them home. When I got back, Derek was asleep, which was good because he had another surgery in the morning. Unfortunately, they had to wake him up to give him his two antibiotics through his IV, and his IV was getting sore. It woke him up, and then it took 30 minutes for them to find a good vein. The poor guy was really miserable. He hardly cried at all, but he whimpered and kept asking us to stop. You can’t imagine how badly I wanted to shield him from the nurses and kick them out of the room. If he didn’t need those antibiotics, my inner demon would have come out for sure. (They were very good nurses, and they were only doing their job…his veins are small and weak. They found them, but none of them were cooperating) They finally left, but he was now up and in pain everywhere. Although they had given him extra morphine before they left, it still hurt. He cried all night, writhing and kicking, asking me to make it stop. I just laid down by him and held him all night long. We finally fell asleep at about 4:30am. By 6:45, we were up and headed down to surgery. As I sat in the waiting room, I looked around and saw other people there, and they were awake. I decided that napping in the oomph loompa chair was not an option, so I just sat there with my phone, checking Facebook and responding to messages. I made some calls and tried to coordinate the day. I was pretty sure I was going to make it to the church to get the food that day so we could eat something of substance for once. The only problem was not knowing when surgery was going to be over, not knowing when to get the kids, and not knowing what to tell people when they asked what they could do. It was so crazy and so busy and so stressful, but there were so many variables, it was impossible to reduce any of it. Trauma is hard to prepare for.
The doc came in after the surgery and told me it went very well. (Breathe) Then he told
me that they had already started packing the foot with a substance called Integra. This substance is basically a fake skin that allows the blood vessels to grow and to provide a matrix for the skin graft to proliferate into once the skin graft has been placed. I know…sciency nerd stuff…my kind of thing! Anyway, I was excited because they were initially not going to put that into the wound until Thursday, so he was already doing better than expected. Good news. They brought my baby boy out to me again, and again he was in good spirits, but he was pretty sleepy. We got up to the room, tried to get him to eat a little, and then let him sleep. I left to go to the church, get the kids and to come back. While at home, I cleaned up a bit, did a load of laundry, and just paced around all over the place dying to get things in order.
Jason finally grabbed me. He said, “Stop. Just stop for a minute.”
Him: ”Stop. Come here and just stop. You need a break for a minute.” He held me close. I cried. Not a lot, but the most I had since it happened. It felt good. He just held me.
Thank God for good husbands. I needed that.
A little more revived, I took the kids back to the hospital and let him get a little rest. We got there about 5:30. We went into the playroom and had a better time. Then we went back to the room just in time for Jason to show up. We all went downstairs and got dinner and came back to eat with Derek. Then we gave everyone a bath or shower and Jason took them home. Derek decided he was in too good a mood to sleep until about 3am. Punk. I was exhausted. We got to sleep until 7:30 the next morning, though, so it was OK.
The parade was back again on Wednesday. It is crazy how they do that. I was prepared this time, but still not showered. I had set my alarm to try and shower before they got there, but in my sleepy haze, I turned the alarm off and went back to bed. Oh well. After all the medical stuff was over and the art lady came, we took Derek to the playroom to paint a wooden fish. He loved that. After he was done, the music lady came into our room and sang him a book and again let him make all kinds of noise with instruments. He had so much fun and I got to shower. Derek and I then had lunch. After he ate, he went to sleep, so I was able to leave and get the other kids. While I was home that day, I had a ton of things to do. I don’t remember what they were now, but they were very important. They got done…I think. All I know is we didn’t get back to Derek until 6 that night. Poor baby. Luckily he was tired and slept most of the time. We all just hung out in the room together that night. Derek always perked up when his siblings came. He was a different boy when they were there. He loves them so much, and they missed him terribly. It was really touching to see the concern they had for each other and how much they missed each other. After I bathed the kids, I took them home. Derek had surgery again the next morning.
Thursday was interesting. We were up until 3:30 the night before again. Derek’s foot was hurting him. My guess is because he was pulling all the stuffing out of his splint and exposing it. I tried to keep it covered. I did a pretty good job, because I really wanted to see what it looked like compared to what it looked like when it happened, but I couldn’t really see much. What I did see made me sick to my stomach. It looked like the edge of a hole…a jagged edge. It was obvious he was missing a large portion of his foot. No wonder it hurt. Anyway, when we got up Thursday morning, it was 10:30!!! I panicked at first…did we miss our surgery?? Nope. There were a lot of kids that came in the night before, and we got bumped. In a way I felt OK with that because, A) I got some real rest, even though I felt guilty about it. B) That meant that Derek was not a serious case. He COULD be bumped. I was actually able to shower and even watch some of Bob The Builder (again) with Derek. Poor Jason was again going nuts. What time was I coming to get the kids, what did I need him to do? Do I want him to bring the kids up? I didn’t know…I had no clue what time we were going into the OR until they came to get us. That chaos was so frustrating.
I went into the Ronald McDonald room that day and they served me lunch. I got to talk to some amazingly sweet ladies from a Jewish Women’s Group that were there volunteering. They made us parents lasagna, bread, salad, and cookies. It was great! I was used to this process by now, so I was not the sullen-faced parent in the room. I actually had a little fun. The doctor came in when he was done and told me that Derek was going to probably get the skin graft this Monday (today). I was so excited because earlier he said it would be several weeks. We moved this process up by weeks! Go Derek! I practically skipped over to receive my son. He was once again in a pretty good mood. Normally we would be going to go back up to our room, but this time we were told that, because so many kids were admitted, we had to move into another little boy’s room. After all this time being spoiled with our own room, this was not good news. Oh well. Again, this meant Derek was not as bad off as so many others, so we counted our blessings. We moved into the room and met a sweet 5-year-old boy who had broken his femur riding his bike. Poor kid was in a lot of pain. His parents were very kind and nice, and we hit it off pretty well. They also had four kids, so chaos was fine with them. They even did it in about five years like we did. Crazy, huh? We really understood each other, so that was a good thing, and made it more comfortable. I brought the other kids up to see Derek, and we got ice cream. I bathed them before we left, and took them home. When I got home, the kid’s mom had texted me, telling me Derek was asleep. That made me feel better. I got my own kids down, and then went downstairs to do some laundry. Jason had done two loads already, which was awesome. I just had to fold everything. (Hey…he tried!) I then left and stayed the night with Derek. We were up on and off, but we got a few hours anyway. The next morning we had a small parade, but we were surprised. by 11am we had our discharge papers and we could go home!! We decided to take the gift card they gave us to compensate for putting us in a room with someone else and get Derek a present. He picked out a truck…surprise, surprise. We then went upstairs, packed everything into a wagon, and headed to the car. We were free!
It was a hard and crazy week for everyone, but we made it. Thanks to everyone that helped us, and for all those that were willing, we did what we had to do. Now to try and put the pieces back together and resume normal life. Well, and to go back for the skin graft, right?? Tune in tomorrow to see how that went. That is a crazy story!