July 01, 2015

I'm Broke

Summer is in full swing.  Or, at least, should be.

Let's face it, many mothers of children with special needs would rather chew glass than endure a long summer.  The sudden lack of structure that the school environment provided wrecks havoc on sensitive systems, thus creating countless and endless behavioral outbursts.  Hauling a heavy wheelchair, and its accompanying boy, in and out of the Virginia heat and humidity is a workout to rival any spin class.  The lazy days of summer don't exist in a home with a child with special needs, nor do most fun summer activities.  The pool is impossible, as is anything else that exposes heat or sunlight to Bridger.

Do I sound like I am griping?

I am.

I didn't start off this way.  I had grand ambitions for this summer.  This summer was going to be different.  I had carefully plotted and planned wonderful adaptive camps to allow windows of time to take the other kids to the pool and escapes for a short soft serve cone.  I got a taste of my wonderful planning for the first three days of summer.  It was delightful.  It was the summer of my dreams.

Only 5 days into our break, however, we broke.  He broke.

Fractured fibula.


I dared to take my eyes off Bridger for 30 seconds.  He was sitting in the family room with me working in the kitchen and scooted on his bum into the foyer where Eliza was playing and proceeded to scoot up to the third stair.  

{insert note: He hasn't tried to go up the stairs (because he can't) but I had been working on the skill with him as a safety measure.  Our house is proofed in every way that I can stand it.  We have automatic closing gates at the top of all our staircases.  We have ramps out of our doors.  We have covers on the sockets and cords out of reach.  We have reduced every transition piece inside and out to avoid wheelchair tipping hazards. We have furniture anchored to every wall.  What makes life safe also makes it exhaustively annoying as well.  Anyone can stand to live like that through a few toddler years, but it produces a much greater fatigue to know you will be barricaded and barred throughout your home for the rest of your life.  Now we will add gates to the bottom of all of our staircases as well.}

The doorbell rang and Eliza answered it as I walked in to the foyer to see Ty running down the stairs to see the guest at our door.  He knocked into Bridger who fell forward  onto the second stair with his legs folding awkwardly beneath him and we caught him before he fell forward onto his face.  The "we" that caught him would be myself, my guest at the door. . . and Ty.  Ty immediately knew what he had done and he pushed his body protectively at Bridger.  It was amazing to watch his instinct.  I have seen a lot of emotions from that dog, but this was the first time I had seen remorse.

Children with special needs often don't present with the same pain threshold as their typical peers.  Perhaps they live with such discomfort every day that a broken leg feels just as uncomfortable as any other day they endure.  I examined Bridger and didn't see or feel anything out of the ordinary, nor did he act hurt.  I sent him to camp the next morning but felt I should pick him up early to get a precautionary x-ray.

My gut instinct was correct.  Sure enough, the x-ray revealed a fractured fibula.  Tough boy.  He had a temporary cast put on and we went in the following day to the orthopedist for his hard cast.  They were sensitive about his altered mobility and cut it low so as to not irritate his thigh when he bum scooted and gave him an extra thick heel which he uses to pull himself when he maneuvers on the floor.  {note: that extra thick heel is currently ripping up my hardwood floors. Oh well.}

That is when the discomfort began.  Bridger can be poked and prodded and endure an hour of iv placement, but it isn't until they put on a bandaid that he freaks out.  The broken leg is no different.  The cast is worse than the injury.  To quote my older son, he is a "hot mess".

We had to cancel his adaptive summer camps for the next couple weeks and wait this out at home.  It is a long wait.  I am not sure how much the cast weighs, but it feels like a combined weight of a couple hundred pounds when I try to awkwardly lift him.  He has also learned how to use it as a weapon when he is upset and has nearly knocked my head off a few times.  When he lifts his legs when I change his diaper, he is unable to manage the extra weight on his leg and his foot falls hard and knocks him in his nose if I am not able to anticipate that and catch it first.

Rough times.

Ty continues to show his love and remorse by giving his leg extra loves.

He also follows him around the house.  It is quite hilarious to watch.  Wouldn't you agree?

This last video is our favorite command, which Ty is most obedient to.  It isn't one he came to us already knowing, it was one we taught him.  Bridger loves a big wet kiss.  As you can see, all is forgiven.

The wonderful 1/2 full glass that I have come to know and appreciate is that just when I thought life was hard, it can become harder.  Which then, when it returns again to the former, makes you realize how easy it was to begin with.

Counting down 3 more weeks until I have my "easy" back.