One night at the end of October I discovered that Alex had an incarcerated hernia (his bowels were stuck out of a little hole in his abdomen). He was really miserable and I noticed the swelling and knew something was wrong. After talking to the doctor we decided I needed to take him to the ER.
We had just moved here a few months earlier. I knew people, but no one that I really felt comfortable calling at 8pm on a school night to come over to my (always) messy house and stay with my 3 big kids so I could rush off to the ER.
Johnny was working on a project in New York City at the time. It was at least an hour and a half commute, but when he heard what was wrong, he literally ran to the next train. Alex had fallen asleep in my arms so I decided to wait for Johnny. Alex slept fitfully in my arms as we waited.
When Johnny got home I went to show him the lump and it had gone away. We called the doctor and she told us that we didn’t need to go to the ER but we needed to get in with a pediatric surgeon soon.
They scheduled him for surgery about a week later at Yale New Haven Children’s hospital.
The doctor told us they would give him some baby Valium so that he wouldn’t have a hard time separating from us. They said it would make him ok to go with anyone. When it really came down to it though, he only wanted his daddy. I tried not to get my feelings hurt!
He handled the whole thing like a champ. He was a tiny bit miserable, as you could expect, but by the time they released him an hour or so later he was pretty happy. Johnny and I even took him and his new dinosaur (a prize from the hospital) to lunch on the way home.
Everything was going great, until about 3 weeks later when I noticed a second hernia on the other side. When doing hernia surgery they used to just check both sides when they were doing the surgery but our doctor said that the latest research recommended that they only do one side. He said that he does over a hundred hernia surgeries a year and only about four or five end up coming back with double hernia. Just our luck…
So they scheduled a second surgery exactly four weeks after the first.
He handled things great and just like before, he wanted his daddy… which was lucky this time because Mommy could barely hobble through the hospital on my newly acquired crutches…
Her Knee… Uhhhhh…
A few days before the second surgery and the day before Thanksgiving, Johnny picked up his parents from the airport. We were excited that they were coming to visit. I was putting some things in the freezer in the garage and missed the last step. My knee twisted and I fell.
I had one of those moments where you wish you had one of those medical alert things. “Help, I’ve fallen and I can’t get up.”
Luckily I had my phone in my pocket and called Johnny to come rescue me. When Abby saw me laying on the garage floor, she went in to report to Johnny’s dad that he better come quick because “THIS IS SERIOUS!!”
Turns out it was. Johnny took me to the ER and they drained about a cup of blood out of my kneecap (I will spare you the pictures!). The blood indicated that I had definitely torn something.
Johnny’s mom ended up making her own Thanksgiving dinner and they spent the weekend doing laundry, taking care of kids, and taking care of me!
An MRI showed that I had dislocated my knee cap and torn some of the surrounding tissue. I stayed in bed for days and used my “crotches” (Lila’s term for my crutches) to get around. It was weeks before I could walk unassisted.
My mom flew out and helped take care of the kids and Johnny was able to use some vacation to stay home and take care of all of us.
It’s been about 3 months now and I am feeling much better. I have an awesome brace that I wear (NOT that ghetto one pictured above) but I still struggle with a lot of things like stairs. I am hoping physical therapy will cure me, but the therapist said that the swelling could take up to a year to go away.
I’ve decided that “disasters” are great for helping us keep things in perspective. I don’t take walking for granted like I used to and I feel lucky every day when the kids pray “for mommy’s knee to get better”. Though it is incredibly frustrating to have limited mobility, I realize there are so many people who are worse off. I also got to know so many people through this experience as new “friends” stepped up to help.
I am also so grateful for modern medicine. It truly is a miracle and I can’t imagine what might have happened to my sweet baby boy without it.