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!