We had our first follow-up with an occupational therapist in Cincinnati this week. It’s exactly eight weeks post-surgery and three weeks since having the cast removed and starting the physical therapy. The appointment was to gauge his function and ensure progress is as expected.
I was especially dreading this trip because it was my first trip to Cincinnati by myself (with two boys). Daddy had surgery (the same day we left to Cincinnati) and he is on a very strict no-lifting order (not to mention the heavy pain meds incapacitating him.) I’ve taken both boys to Nashville by myself numerous times, but Cincinnati is farther away and we always stay the night in a hotel to break up the long drive.
The hotel stay is the source of my dread. Holden is notorious for disrupting what is supposed to be a night of rest and recuperation. I’ve mentioned before his preference to following a routine and his apparent high regard for his home environment because whenever we throw off his routine and change his sleeping location, he balks.
Holden has always been such a quiet boy which is evident in the fact that he is still not talking (I’ve heard that Albert Einstein didn’t talk until he was five so there’s still hope, I suppose.) During the day there is some babbling and jabber (the frequency is starting to increase though), but laying in the hotel bed with the lights and TV off, Holden just comes alive. Suddenly he just has so much to say, which I’m not totally complaining about because 1) it’s super cute and 2) I will take incessant chatter and playful raspberries over screaming his head off (like at camp) any day. He’s so emphatic with his jabber and I’d love to know what’s going on in his little mind. But, after a long drive, I was kind of wishing he’d make his point and drift off to sleep. He babbled on and on excitedly for probably 40 minutes before falling asleep mid-jabber.
Now, if this was the only inconvenience, I would be OK with that, but unfortunately, Holden still hasn’t disrupted my recuperation enough yet so at 2:30 am (so, really it’s 1:30 because our bodies are synched to Central time), I roll over to check on him on his blanket pallet on the floor and he’s sitting up. UUUuuuuuuuugh!!!! I get up and grab him and as annoyed as I am, it quickly fades as he wraps his arms around my shoulders and neck real tight and I lay him down into the bed with me and I prayed to every god I could think of that he go to sleep, which he did thankfully.
But, I don’t know if it’s just me or what, but I can no longer sleep well in hotels. I don’t know if it’s just the stress of the situation elevating my anxiety level that inhibits my rest or perhaps, like Holden, I have a strong and unwavering preference for my own bed, but I have found that I do not sleep well outside of my home. I can sleep, but it’s one of those “I feel every second pass by” types of sleep. I guess I’m asleep. I will wake up and internally, it’ll feel like it’s 4:30 am. I’ll look over at the clock and it’s 12:15 am. WTF?!? Which would be fine, I guess, if I was in one of those deep rejuvenating sleeps, but I never seem to be. I toss and turn and turn and toss and wake up and fall asleep and it feels like I can literally feel every second tick-tock-tick-tock.
I, Drew and now Holden are all asleep in this California King size bed, but, of course, I woke to find myself scootched all the way to the very side of the bed with Holden and Drew sleeping soundly sprawled out as wide as they can make themselves. I had so little room that I couldn’t even sleep with my pillow length-wise without practically smothering Holden whose face was compressed into my pillow. I had to rotate it 90 degrees so I was sleeping on the short side. I would wake up and hope that at least an hour had gone by. Nope. Only 15 minutes.
So, it was almost – ALMOST! – with great relief that Holden woke at 5:35 am (4:35 am, really) as perky and happy-go-lucky as can be because apparently he got an AWESOME night of sleep to prepare him for a day of being cute and basically an accessory on my hip as he would be carried around without a single responsibility in the world.
So, the night sucked. As I slapped my cheeks to try to startle myself into alertness and stared into my bloodshot droopy eyes, I had a flashback to a recent conversation that Nathan and I had regarding the drive down to Florida for Drew’s surgeries. I was in favor of making the trip in three days with three shorter drives in order to lessen the stress on the boys and ensure they’re cooperative and comfortable which in turn will ease our pain. Nathan was in favor of driving 8-10 hours each day and make the trip in only two days. I think I recall succumbing to his plan and saying, “Fine. When they’re losing their cool and fussing and coming apart at the seams, then YOU sit in the back and soothe them.” But, as I stared at my slack face, rubbed my sore muscles and contemplated drinking three Red Bulls, I thought, “Nathan’s right. No f&*king way we’re staying in a hotel twice on the way down.” Hell, if I could sleep in a car (never have been), I’d probably campaign for making it in one day with us driving in shifts.
Somehow I got both boys ready to go, we ate breakfast and made it to his appointment with several minutes to spare.
The appointment went great. The therapist actually said that Drew is far ahead of the game regarding his function. She said that he is exceeding expectations and is actually way ahead of other kids who have undergone this procedure. She gave us a few additional exercises and a few adaptive tools to help him grip objects like writing and eating utensils and toothbrush until he’s able to regain his grip strength. His scar is doing great and our scar massage therapy at home (three times a day) seems to be really helping. And, he only has to wear his hand brace at night now.
The drive home was m-i-s-e-r-a-b-l-e. First, there were storms: rain like it was the end of the world and hail. Then, when that was all over, I was so tired from a restless night of sleep and an early wake-up call, that I was really having a hard time driving. I had consumed an additional cup of coffee in preparation for this long drive, but it wasn’t enough. Honestly, it just wasn’t safe. I was starting to lose voluntary control of the focus of my eyes. I had to put an incredible amount of concentration into keeping my vision clear. Then, I was almost hallucinating. There was one time that I was following a white vehicle and, I don’t know, all of a sudden it just felt like his bumper was in my face so I reacted and sternly pressed on my brakes, but I was a safe distance from him and was startled for no reason. Another time, I observed a port-a-potty at a construction zone jump two or three feet into the air and I was pondering how a human inside would jump in such a way to make the port-a-potty jump before I realized that I probably hallucinated that. But, what was I supposed to do, check into some hotel and have yet another restless suicide-inducing night of “sleep”?!? As you can see, we made it home safely 🙂
I promptly told Nathan, “So, this next trip to Cincinnati (the week after next…for another follow-up) I was thinking that perhaps, if you are up to it and not in any pain and have no lifting restrictions, one of us could take Drew to his appointment while the other stays home with Holden?” followed by puppy dog eyes and pouty lip.
So, Thursday, I was looking at my calendar to get an idea of what other activities we have coming up in the next couple of weeks and my stomach hit the floor. My eyes zoomed in on my phone and I could not believe what I was seeing. Today was Thursday and three days from now, it’ll be Sunday and on that Sunday, we’ll be leaving to Florida for Drew’s surgery “next week”. The realization that we are a mere three days from saying “next week” blew my mind! How the hell did this happen?!? It feels like it’s still a month away! I was so totally shocked that it had crept up on us so abruptly that I didn’t even realize that we’re within that period of time to fear Drew
turning ill and hindering the whole process. Like, this is that high-anxiety time in which I must feed him immunity-boosting vitamins like they’re candy and get super vigilant about hand salinization because if he were to develop any kind of cough or fever or virus, the surgery would be postponed and I already have paid the non-refundable deposit on the condo for a specific period of time and we’d be paying for time in the condo for which it wasn’t needed AND extending the weeks now that Drew’s surgery is hypothetically postponed costing another grand. OH MY GAAAAAAAAWD…it’s just to much to think about!!!!
So, that’s been my week. *exhausted sigh*