Sorry to have left you hanging all this time. Did you miss me? These last 2 months have been a whirlwind and I can’t even tell you how long it has taken to find time to write this. I’m glad that I have faithful blog readers who wait patiently for their humor in my wacky life. Today’s message is clear Do you have a what if plan? I promise it will not all be sad as we have been trying to stay positive and laugh through the last 2 months, counting our blessings. What would you do though if you or your spouse were suddenly injured beyond normal care? What if they had to spend extended hospital time with a long, exhausting recovery. There is the old saying of you just make it happen, but have you talked about your plan? In today’s day and age, both parents have to typically work to afford to raise a family. Do you feel confident that if one of you were injured either at home or at work that you could make it on less? Do you have your village, as my Grandma always called it, ready and set if something were to happen? Here is how we learned if our plan would work, let’s begin.
It was an early May morning, about 5 a.m. My husband woke for work, he was working a different shift this week so he could use his vacation time the week that we moved. WE WERE BUYING OUR FIRST HOUSE! YAY!!! Happy Times I know. I went back to sleep and was woken up to the most terrible sound. “MOM, THE TOOTH FAIRY NEVER CAME!!!!!” There I was, with a disgusting tooth right in my eye, half awake and a very upset 5 year old. My first thought was “shit, mom fail” I was so tired the night before, I completely forgot to switch his tooth for some money. Then the Shit, do I have any money? I said “Well honey, either there were a lot of kids with teeth gone last night and she couldn’t get to you or your room was too dirty for her to get to your bed!” Thank God even ridiculously tired, I can still think quick! As I ushered him into the bathroom to start his routine, I frantically ran to my purse to look for quarters. OF COURSE I have no cash or coins this morning. I wonder if a beer token for Lakefront Brewery will mean anything to him? When I realized I was coming up empty handed, I wrote a quick note. Luckily he doesn’t know my handwriting yet. I wrote to him that “I, pretending to be the tooth fairy, couldn’t get to his bed because there were too many toys on the floor. Please clean your room and I will try again tomorrow.” Phew, he bought it. So as you may remember, if you have read my previous blogs, Kameron was diagnosed with Autism. For you moms out there who attack that challenge every day, you know that means endless doctors appointments that you aren’t really sure if you are coming or going some days. This morning, we had an early Occupational Therapy appointment. We were now running late and so I quickly got Kam and Kenz dressed and sent them on the 10 minute search of “where did you take your shoes off last night?”. That is when the message came in. You know those messages or calls that make everything in your world stop time.
Nate’s co-worker, who I have actually been friends with and known since high school, messaged me on Facebook, “Hey sorry to bother you at work, but have you heard from Nate this morning?” Um, Nate left for work 2 1/2 hours ago, we lived basically across the street at that time and so why are you asking if I heard from him, you are at work with him? This is when my stomach drops. Yeah, about this time I usually have a text or something from him on his break. After I tell him no and that it wasn’t a problem because I wasn’t at work, why are you asking, my stomach drops again. ” I don’t think I’m the person who should be telling you this” and after some urging “He was taken to the hospital, they think he broke his leg” Enter panic. I don’t really remember what I did next but I remember it was pretty much panic mode. I called my mom and had her come get the kids. I think I shoved them in the car with her and had her take Kam to therapy. I drive the 4 blocks to the hospital, which seems like an hour away and I think I may have parked in a parking spot. I’m pretty sure I shut my car door, but lets just say the few people I remember passing as I ran for the first time in years, must have thought I was a lunatic.
I got to the front desk and the doctor was actually there too. Before he took me back, he explained that Nate had fallen off the roof at work and honestly after that, I couldn’t tell you what he said. The worst sunk in and all I am picturing is what I’m sure most of you are picturing. Your loved one falling from the roof of a factory and what they could possibly look like. My whole life running through my head, I walked into the room and there he was, my love, my husband. He was covered in blankets and his leg was in traction. He had a brace on his neck and his eyes were closed. Right there, I lost it for the 2nd time. He assured me that he was okay. The doctor took off his neck brace and said he was very lucky, it was just his leg. The doctor explained to me that how he landed, he was lucky that he didn’t break anything else and from the distance he fell, he is very lucky to be alive and not paralyzed. Enter 3rd breakdown.
Here’s what I can tell you, due to OSHA investigations and that plain fact that he doesn’t really remember a whole lot. He had been asked to help clean gutters on the roof. He was up there with 2 other guys and the roof was flat. He remembers that they had to get some tools from the night before that were on another part of the roof. He remembers turning around and starting to slide. The next thing he remembers, everyone is standing around him yelling call 911. From what I have been told by witnesses, he fell about 15′ down, went through a picnic table and landed on the asphalt. From what I understand, the picnic table was very close to a trailer and it had to be moved to get to him. Thank God, he didn’t go through that. The final tally of injury, scrapped elbow, bruised hand, bruised arm, fractured in to several pieces hip, broken femur in 2 places, with several fractures down the pieces of his femur. Seriously, someone up above was with him that day. We learn that the local hospital we were taken to does not have the team or the resources to help him and we need to be transferred to a larger hospital with the capacity to handle this large of a surgery. We had a few options but went with the Froedtert Hospital about an hour and a half away. Nate’s brother had a terrible accident just over 6 years ago breaking basically every bone on his left side. Froedtert is who took care of him and they were amazing. That is where we wanted to be. They are also a medical college and so we knew we would have great care with a lot of advanced technology available to the staff.
I promise, I did not drive. My dad took off work and drove me there, where I met my mother in law Kim. We went straight to the ER where we would learn the full extent of the breaks and fractures and what we may be looking at. We met our surgeon and his resident and discussed our options. For real, if you ever have to be in this situation in Wisconsin, Dr. Beck at Froedtert is AMAZING!!! The accident happened about 6:30 in the morning and now it was close to 2 p.m. Due to a more life threatening incident, his surgery was pushed back again and they finally took him back around 5:30 p.m. Around 9 p.m., we finally received word that Nate was out of surgery. Longest 4 hours of my life. Thankfully I had my dad and Kim because they kept way more calm than I was and kept trying to keep me distracted. Finally around 10:30, I was able to see my husband. It was a long day. The doctor explained those final injuries I told you of earlier which is why it took so much longer than expected. He had to plate his hip and his entire femur. He has pins down the back of his femur and they had to reconnect his hip to this femur and his knee. I’ll spare you the pictures. The nurses finally convinced me around midnight that he was in good hands and my dad took me home to be with my kiddos. **side note, my mom is amazing too and she stayed with my kids all day and spent the night so that I could go back to be with Nate. This is part 1 of what’s your plan, who’s in your village?
The next morning I woke up very early and got to the grocery store, to ensure the kids had food while we were at the hospital as we didn’t know yet how long we would be there. I packed a bag, terribly I might add, and headed back down to the hospital. Word was spreading like wild fire in the small town and so I was charging my phone several times a day. We still get a kick out of all the versions of his accident. Our favorite is that he fell through a ping pong table and tried to walk away making the break worse. No lie, these are the things we have heard. This helped keep it light for sure. As soon as I got into the room, we were bombarded by nurses and doctors. We learned that he would be what is called, toe touch weight bearing. Basically he can tap his toe or rest his foot. He was going to be on a walker and need full care until further notice. I had to learn how to help him to the toilet, give him a sponge bath, monitor his incisions and all the new medicine he was going to take. I had to learn when they were given, how much, and how to take them with what so when we got home he would be on a good schedule. I had to learn how to give him shots in his belly to try and help avoid blood clots, and unfortunately, he lost a lot of blood during surgery that he ended up needing a blood transfusion. Enter new things to watch for too including fever and weakness or dizziness. Due to a small fever, that extended our stay and then due to his incision draining too much, it extended it even further. After 9 very long days in the hospital, we were finally discharged and boy did I run with my boy.
Here is my question to you after reading this so far, do you have a plan? Do you know where you would take your kids, pets, responsibilities if you and your spouse were in the hospital for any length of time unexpectedly? I like to think of myself as a pretty planned and organized person but no joke, being vulnerable to flow with it, sucks. We are very blessed, we have large families and our parents stepped up to take the kids and get them to and from school, sleep at the house with them and make sure that they were taken well care of in our absence. My mom made sure Kameron made it to all of his doctors appointments and Face-time’d me so I could keep up with his progress. We would Facetime at night so the kids could see us and see that Daddy was okay. They brought them down to see him, although Kenz was scared of daddy at the hospital and Kameron wasn’t really sure how to hug him. It made me thankful to have such great family to help us. It really made me think though how tough it may be for those who’s village is not like ours. Lord willing, you never have to go through this but as you keep reading, I hope it sparks to you start thinking about your plan for Defcon 4 🙂
Before the accident, Nate had taken a new position in the office as a promotion. We were very lucky to find out that they would let him transition into that position as soon as the doctor released him back to work. That was the good news. The bad news, minimum of 6 months before he could drive and if they hadn’t let him go back to work in his new position or had he not had it, 6 months minimum before he could go back to work. 6 months, let that sink in. This happened in early May, 6 months would be like Thanksgiving. That is a lot of prime family time that we would be giving up this year. But again, he is here, we focus on that every day. We also have to shout out to our Realtor, who is also known as Aunt Chrissy, and our Mortgage company who still made it possible to get us our home. It took a lot of hard work on the back end and a lot of time but we closed as expected. Thanks to our large families and amazing friends, I had more than enough help to pack up the apartment, move into the new house, clean the old place and get a huge jump on unpacking.
Our new norm consisted in large part to me doing basically everything. I now have 3 kids. 1 over sized and 2 mini monsters. Shout out to single parents everywhere. God Bless you and all you do! I wake up in the middle of the night to give meds and help to the bathroom, we get up extra early to give sponge baths, until he transitioned to showers with a shower chair, get him dressed, 2 kids dressed, lunches made, drop offs at school and ensure we had a sitter here for Kenzie and Nate all before 8 a.m. We had weekly follow ups in Milwaukee for the first few weeks and now we are down to monthly. Thank God I only work 4 days a week, 10 hour days. But we run from Milwaukee, home, pick up Kameron, run him to his town where his appointments are, back home, make dinner, clean house, bath kids and try to get everyone to bed to wake up and do it all over again. Once Nate was able to use crutches, it helped a bit more because he can do more, but he can’t carry his own food or drink so although he can make his own meals, I have to help serve them.
As of today, we are still on crutches. He still can’t put weight on that leg. He is back to work in his new position full time. I wake up at 5 a.m., shower him and help him get dressed, carry both kids to the car, drive him to work by 6 a.m., get home, get the kids and myself ready, put them back in the car to get our summer sitter, get Kam to summer school, work my 10 hour day plus lunch and drive time so I’m gone about 12 1/2, get everyone home bathed, fed dinner if they didn’t eat yet and bed. I start to work on house work and finally in bed by about 11 every night. I’m known to grocery shop around 10 p.m., less lines and everyone is in bed so it’s mom time. I get up in the middle of the night when the kids are scared or can’t sleep. I am tired, VERY tired. I’m blessed because I have my husband still and he is amazing. He arranged for me to have a coffee morning that I try to have a couple times a month with my best friend because he could tell I was maxing out. I’m telling you, make a plan. We are blessed in so many ways. It could be easy to be all of pity me, poor me, and please don’t think of this post as that by any means. I know that I am very lucky to have my husband alive, some day able to help me again and that we are in our new home that we are still able to keep. Please don’t think this is a pity post. My intent is awareness, a sounding board to get all my thoughts out and just relax for a short period of time in my crazy new life.
We plan so much in our life for things you can expect, which now looking back seems like the odd things to prepare for. We save for retirement, we take out life insurance if we die, we plan our funerals and wills. But what happens if you are able to live your life still but not to the extent you used to. How will your household survive? Have this conversation. Ensure you know your policies for insurance. We were lucky of course that this was workmans comp, however, it made us start talking more about what if it wasn’t? What would we have done. What kind of short term plan do we have in place? What is covered, what is not? Who would help with the family? Who will take care of the injured while you still go to work and while in the hospital? Do you have enough in savings to help in that kind of situation? Do you know where you or your spouse would prefer to go in case of a situation of needing a higher level of care? Seriously, doesn’t matter how old you are, do you have a do not resuscitate? Are you an organ donor? Do you know your spouses family history? Let’s face it, we probably do not go to the doctor as much as we should and in my husbands case, he wasn’t as close to his biological dad’s side until recently so I had a lot of phone calls to find out what the doctor needed to know. You are an important part of your world. What will you do to ensure you are not scrambling when an emergency happens. Stay calm, count your blessings every day and roll out plan A, B, C, M and Z. It will all work out as it is supposed to. Some day you will look back and take a big sigh of relief it is over and you made it through. We aren’t there yet, but I am very much looking forward to the promised 2 day solo nap I am going to take once the hubs is well enough to completely take care of the kiddos on his own. I may start a chain countdown 🙂
But for now, alas I must get back to my chores. Never a dull day. Stay strong and mommy on!
Till next time kids……