Attempting to make it as a writer

Posts tagged ‘surgeon’

Pin-less and Portable

Sitting looking around a now all too familiar coffee shop; waiting.    Not as you might imagine for a coffee to arrive, I already have that by my side.   I am waiting for No 1 Son to come out of theatre and back to the ward where I may visit him.

This we hope is the final chapter in a long running saga or at least it seems so to him.

It was just over two years ago reaching the end of a particularly successful rugby season for him having come back from injury once before; he had begun to regain confidence and fitness and was playing incredibly intuitive rugby.    He was warming up for a game when he felt a twinge in his hip but being a boy besotted by his sport he carried on; not telling anyone.

The hip continued giving him pain throughout the game and finally he admitted he was suffering later that afternoon.   Eyes rolling to the heavens; I diagnosed and treated his latest pulled muscle, thanking God it was nothing worse.

The following Sunday when the pain had not subsided I vetoed him joining the sevens competition and became the most hated evil mother in the world.  Did I not understand how important it was for him? All season he had worked up to this very day and I was ruining it.

I, of course already knew this, but having been a rugby mum for many years by then, also knew how long a pulled muscle or torn ligament could take to meander its slow journey back to fit.  After all had he not been on crutches for 10 weeks with plantafacialitis; ruining the whole of his previous summer holiday and delaying the start of this season for him.

I stood my ground and he did not play.   As the pain continued without appearing to get better so we booked into to see the doctor who agreed he had pulled a muscle and gave him a cocktail of medicines; Ibuprofen cream to dispel the inflammation together with an anti-sickness tablet to offset the effects of the cream.  He is allergic to brufen and all derivatives thereof.   Not a good allergy for a rugby player.

Three weeks later the pain was increasing rather than decreasing and another visit to the doctor raised concerns of a slipped femoral epiphysis.  Could we have an urgent x-ray done?  As it was a Friday night nothing could be done and we were put on the urgent list.   One week later saw me taking No 1 Son up to the X-Ray department to check out this irritating hip.    As we left I thanked the radiographer and she told me that the results would take a week to get back to the doctor and if I could make an appointment then for them to be discussed.

The natural instinct in a mother is to protect and nurture her child and to me this had already gone on too long.   The Doctors fears playing heavily on my mind I trawled the internet to find every possible entry for femoral epithisis that has ever been written, becoming more and more anxious as the moments and information flooded my mind.   I phoned the surgery and unable to speak directly to the doctor left a fairly curt message saying that following his request for an urgent x-ray they had done this finally and if he was happy to wait for the result I would accede to his knowledge and experience.

We heard nothing!

Friday evening arrived and a friend came over for a meal.  We’d opened a bottle of wine, served out the meal and called the children down to the table.  That was when the phone rings.   Often I will actually leave it with the knowledge that they will leave a message or if really important ring my mobile.  Something, niggling deep within that I am unable to explain made me answer it as the others tucked into their meal.

The doctor had got my message and was not in the least happy to wait, he like I, knew that the X-ray results are instantly on the system and he would meet me at the minor injuries unit in 20 minutes to see them.    Grateful that Sexy Sporty Dad had been delayed getting home from work so had not had an opportunity to have a drink yet, and that the poor friend invited to tea now was there to look after the other two, three of us drove up to meet the doctor.

Needless to say the doctors diagnoses was correct and No 1 Son was admitted that night and operated on the following morning to place a pin in his hip joint holding him together.   The next anguished event was to establish what this meant for his rugby career.   The internet had painted a very doomed pictured of him ever playing sport again let alone a contact sport like rugby.  How could I ever tell a 14 year old his playing days were done.

We began a long relationship that night with a very wonderful surgeon.  He sat down with us and explained that he understood the passion and need for No 1 Son to play but; the young man would be out for a whole year, all being well he could go back then.    I could have kissed the man.  My son on the other hand felt like his world had ended.    He hopefully will never understand how close he came to never, meaning never!

What followed was two years of tears, trials and trauma, as 6 weeks in a wheel chair led onto 6 weeks on crutches and then finally onto walking, slowly beginning to jog and a lot of physio.   Just as his confidence to run began ebbing back he began complaining that the other side hurt.  We spoke to the surgeon who had an X-ray done that day and they operated on his other hip that afternoon.  Back to square one.   Another few days for me in the paediatric ward rushing up and down to grab food from the coffee shop.

Is that not enough for any young teenager to go through without mention of his poor parents who have had enough.  Two years on and we were back six weeks ago after they had tried to remove the pins.  One stubborn one would not be moved and they had to send over to America for the specialist equipment to get this tiny tenacious tack out.

This time it has all changed though; he is 16 and classed as an adult which I clearly dispute.  Having been here at the allotted time of 7.15am, he was finally called for and I was dispatched in the opposite direction, none of this motherly holding of hands as they put him to sleep now.

I left him in the hands of two capable nurses who worked in theatre and assured me they would take care of him.  I will not be called as in the past to bring him out of recovery back to the ward, I have been given a ward name, to go and see him on later.   A little stroll via the hospital chapel, a quiet place I also know well having spent a few hours there each time one of my children goes down to theatre before settling with a cappuccino to wait.

Hopefully this will be the end of a chapter and he will be fit and ready for this season’s even more brutal rugby as he moves from youth to colt.  At least in rugby he is not quite regarded as adult.

Several cappuccinos later and I know he is out of theatre and they are talking about discharging him today but I am not allowed access yet to him.   I don’t care when he turns into an adult he will always need his mother particularly in times of stress and operations.  I am going to find him now and probably embarrass him by creating a scene about him needing me.  Underneath the embarrassment I hope he will be happy to see me.


Check out my cooking blog at Teatime Treats with Tiggy

PS  I found him eventually having been sent on a wild goose chase around the hospital.  He eventually called me and told me he was still in recovery and as no-one could find me, he could not go home.  Almost jogging with excitement; I arrived to see him sitting up, dressed, signs of recently eaten toast at his side and eager to get going.   They had been calling me on one phone at home, despite me leaving my mobile number with them.  I had been calling on the other line, never the two spoke to each other!

The pin came out in minutes and although still rather tired he had come straight out of the anaesthetic without his usual sickness and long drawn out recovery.

Chapter closed.   Hopefully!


Growing Pains

Sometimes you do wonder how much bad luck you are able to take?   How can some people and families sail through life with no real life changing scares, upsets or worries and other families get the worst of all scenarios.

I remember a close friend of mine, we both worked together and ended up job sharing as we both went part time together.  We both had three boys all within days of each other.  Her three were all planned, she thrived in pregnancy and they were born quickly and easily without problem.  Mine may have been planned but came along bringing with them, miscarriages, emergency C-sections and a spell in special care baby unit.

Commenting on my struggles she told me that I was the strong one and that was why things happen to me.  She said she could not have coped with the trauma and that is why all the bad stuff all seemed to happen to me.   


Arrow marks the spot!

No 1 Son had to have an operation yesterday, it was a simple operation would only take a few minutes and he would walk out later in the day.    At the crack of dawn we arrived at the quiet empty hospital at the appointed time to be booked in.   We still endured a two hour wait before the moment arrived.  

There was a marked change in this operation to his previous ones.  At 16 he was deemed an adult, the staff consulted with him; asked if he had questions, told him what they were planning to do and he had to sign the permission form.  To be fair they did include me as I was there with my list of ifs and buts.    As the nurses came to get us, we started to walk down to the prep room; I was gently directed in the opposite direction.   It is not my favourite past-time watching my children be put to sleep but I do feel it is my right as a parent and at 16 he is still my little boy.  I waved him off, guilt ridden at leaving him to be escorted by two albeit friendly motherly nurses promising to take care of him.

There would be no call from recovery for me to help him come round but he would be up on the ward in about an hour and I could see him there; he had his mobile and would call when he got there.

After nearly two hours of waiting, wondering and worrying I moved to debating, deliberating and deciding to get another coffee, knowing the minute I did they would call.  I got up and picked up my phone and bag.  Ping, ping, ping went the phone as I moved a fraction; to where I got a fleeting signal.   Two messages from Sexy Sporty Dad and one missed call from a blocked number.   I tore up the stairs, no time to wait for the lift to arrive then dawdle its slow passage upwards.   Finding the ward I looked around for staff or someone to tell me where my son was.   A nurse began checking, no they had not called and definitely no-one had come back from theatre to the ward yet.   But had they not rung me?  No!

Perplexed and anxious I turned to go, maybe I would get my coffee after all.   Another nurse rushed up and asked if I was No 1 Son’s mother?   Yes, at least someone seemed to know he was coming to this ward.   Then the punch;   the surgeon needed to speak to me could I go to theatre.  

Woooo!  Winded!  Why would the surgeon need to speak to me.   Half running, slowing to stop that sick feeling flooding my stomach, I fled through the corridors of the hospital back to the theatre waiting room.  “Are you….?” “Yes yes,” I panted “I know he wants to talk to me where is he?”  Probably, I realise now “he” is not the correct way to refer to this God like character you have entrusted your child to; but etiquette was not uppermost in my mind.

“Take a seat” was the answer.    

The lovely nurse who had looked after him earlier came and found me.  I jumped and turned to her.   She told me he was fine but the surgeon wanted to explain what had happened.    At least he was fine whatever fine was; but that niggling pain in my chest knew things had not gone as we hoped.

The surgeon did appear himself, to explain that only one side had been done and that they could not remove the pin from his other hip.   They were sending away to the US for equipment to remove the second one and could we come in next week.   No we were about to leave for France.  He was happy to do it the following week just before he himself left for a month’s holiday.

I know he was out of the operation because I had been speaking to the surgeon; but not allowed to go and see him in recovery, I returned to the ward to await his arrival.  Nothing in a hospital is quick and I endured yet another wait of an hour and a half, before my son was finally brought up to the ward.  I was going to have to give him the news it hadn’t gone as planned. He was going to be upset and angry and guess who would bear the brunt of this. Choosing my words carefully and re-writing them in my head before I told him, I tentatively asked how he was. 

“Do you know?”  He asked, yes I already knew but how did he know.  He had heard the nurses in recovery talking as he drifted in and out of sleep. 

Unlike his brother Middle Son who comes out of anaesthetic hungry and running, No 1 Son is very sick which he continued to be till late into the night, meaning he was unable to reach the targets to allow him to come home with me.

Children’s wards are great, tea and coffee on tap for stressy parents.  A bed in the cupboard pulls down to allow those same stressy parents somewhere to sleep.    Extra food is snuck onto the child’s plates to feed an additional mouth.  The care of your child is very much your responsibility.   No 1 Son at 16 is an adult on an adult male surgical ward.  There are no facilities for visitors.  In fact visiting is a short timed affair to which I did not adhere in the slightest.    The patient is responsible for his own welfare and asking for his needs.  A suddenly shy suffering sick teenager did not know what he wanted or needed except to be better.

I could not leave my little boy on his own in this alien environment still being sick from the anaesthetic.   I outstayed all the other visitors, and ran around finding things to make him feel better and in control.   He had the nurse call button just in reach, the bed control unit to raise or lower his head.  I placed his bag within reach knowing he had his book and phone in it, and an extra £5 note; just in case!  His table had drinks on which when he felt better he might enjoy and I also managed to pay for him to have 24 hour access to the TV/Radio/Telephone unit which together we managed to get not only the internet but his facebook page.  Reluctantly I did have to take my leave so with heavy heart and dull ache in my stomach, not only from not having eaten all day I wandered alone through the now spookily deserted hospital. 

Sexy Sporty Dad had come in to visit earlier in the afternoon but had been delayed by the car breaking down and having to call out the AA.  The starter motor had gone.    This is the car we are driving to France in today, the same car that had been in for a service all week checking it adheres to all the French regulations.     My tiny little car will not fit three growing boys in the back with any luggage for more than a few miles; we have 5 hours of continent driving.  Sexy Sporty Dad did manage with a bit of co-ercing to persuade the garage to squeeze in the extra job this morning; I have no doubt it will cost us.

I have managed to delay the ferry for a day to allow No 1 Son a little longer to recover, and we will be able to attend a family party en route to the ferry port.   What I could not do was change the booking with Travelodge to stay at the ferry port tonight. 

“I am sorry we can only change like for like and the price is different the night you wish to return.”

“I am willing to pay the extra just to change it”

“No the price is £30 cheaper per night per room.  Sorry we cannot change it for you!”   Where oh where is the logic in that!   So providing No 1 Son is feeling ok we are going and we will use the room.

Are we not entitled to now just enjoy a little good luck to take with us, maybe Harry Potter could spare me a small bottle of Felix Felicis, if I promise not to use it to win all the gold medals at the Olympics!

And in a couple of weeks we will revisit hospital and do it all again………


Check out my cooking blog at Teatime Treats with Tiggy



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