Wednesday, December 31, 2008

An Epic Tale of Hipstoric Proportions

I know that I have been fairly cryptic and silent about how Jared is doing since his hip replacement surgery on November 7th. I haven't written about it for many reasons. When people ask "How is he doing?" I really don't know how to answer. And not having an answer makes it hard to talk about I suppose. So here are some pictures that will perhaps prod me to think of what to say. I CAN say a huge thank you to everyone who is thinking of us and praying for us. It means more than you will every know.

Let's start at the very beginning, a very good place to start.

Here is a picture from back in July, when he was still in the drug induced comma and we didn't yet know what was wrong. I can certainly be thankful that he doesn't look like this anymore and that they figured out how to get him well enough to leave the hospital. He was on a ventilator for 10 days, in the PICU for 18, and the hospital 25. He had 5 different surgeries while he was there. All this from a little staff infection that settled in his right hip and went septic. Not the best month of the year for him.

Here is a cute picture of Dr Magic. This man is actually disabled himself and has to wheel himself around on his chair. What a great example of cheering others even though you yourself are hurting. Jared really needed this cheering because it was not fun to wake up and find out you have lost the ability to do so many of the things you used to do.

Here we are the day we left the hospital. Silly, silly me thought the worst was behind us. And look how short his hair is. Man that child has grown some hair in six months. But I figure that when you have no control over so many things in your life, if you want to control your hair, go ahead. We'll see what happens come January. Also he is so thin in this picture, because he lost 20 pounds. I know most of us would like to loose weight, but this is not the way to do it.
Here is the biggest scar from the first surgery. When the doctor cut him open to do the hip, he used this scar but had to make it longer.

Here is Diana doing her best Vanna White impersonation to show off what my family room looked like after it was turned into Jared's new bedroom. See the brown blanket on his bed. Some very kind people in Kingwood Texas sent it to Jared. One of my sister's good friends had her Church tie it for him. It came with a beautiful note stating that each knot represented a prayer that was said in his behalf. It is very warm and cozy and immediately became his blanket of choice to sleep with. It is heartwarming to know that there are still good people in this world.

All of our bedrooms are upstairs and so he had to sleep in the family room. This was convenient for me since it was right next to the kitchen, I didn't have far to go to carry his meals. And his new room had the TV, video games, and DVD player, all things his real room lacks. Here is the couch I slept on for a month after his hip surgery.
Here is me, in my best "when will these doctor appointments ever end" face. I am not sure why Jared took this picture of me, but it pretty much sums up how I felt this fall. This picture was taken in celebration of our 200th visit. So much fun, orthodontist, infectious disease, orthopedic surgeons, physical therapist, pediatricians, and even the dentist. Good grief Charlie Brown.
This is Jared on his way into the hip replacement. He looks pretty calm. Calmer than me that is for sure. And he had just gotten used to wearing underwear again when they had to go and put him back in a hospital gown. (sorry Jared, TMI I am sure)

Here are our lovely hospital accommodations. You can see the chair I tried to sleep in the first night. Then you can see my contraband cot that I snuck in. Total lifesaver. And look how close I am to him, so I could be right there whenever he needed something. So handy.

Here is a picture of Jared getting an EKG. Because there is nothing upsetting about that when you need a test to check out your heart performance. They were worried because his heart rate was so high, but they decided that it must just be from the pain he was experiencing.
And because it was so fun the first time, they did it again the next day. Jared keeps telling me he has a six pack, and I keep telling him that it is just his ribs sticking out.
Here is a lovely closeup of the would, hope it doesn't make you throw up. It took 22 staples to put humpty together again. I think it rather looks like a shark bite.
Here is an x-ray of his new bionic hip. I had to do some censoring to keep this family friendly. Sorry I don't have the same editing skills as Funny Farmer.

And last but certainly not least, is a picture of Jared with his surgeon. Also if you look closely you can see a card on Jared's lap. This is so he can get through metal detectors like at the high school football games or the airport. Pretty cool, huh?

So the bottom line is that Jared is alive. But he has been to hell and is not yet back. And apparently they like you to have a parent escort when you go to hell, kind of like an R rated movie.

His hip pain is gone, but it is his darn foot that still hurts. Also the muscles in his leg have tightened up and it is really hard for him to straighten his leg all the way. These two things combine to make walking extremely difficult. The doctor had originally said that he would be off his crutches by now, but that is not the case.

Jared has told me that he can go back to school with his crutches, and I am hoping that is true. The next semester starts on Jan 18th and that is our goal for him to go back then. I am fairly skeptical, perhaps cautiously pessimistic about that. He still has trouble sitting up all day long. If he manages to go to school and complete this semester, then he will still be OK with a little summer school. If he ends up not completing this semester, he will have to repeat ninth grade. I am desperately trying to avoid this for him.

Two weeks ago we moved his bed back upstairs. Each night he hobbles up the stairs and in the morning he hobbles back down. This means that I am back to sleeping in my bed as well. Oh happy day.

Jared hate going to physical therapy and fights tooth and nail not to go. He drags his feet and does his best to make us late every time. I am so tired of trying to make him do things he is insistent he won't do. Even his exercises at home, are a pain.

The physical therapist says that we must make him straighten his leg. I asked her just how does she suggest I do this. She said that ultimately it is up to him. Somehow I must convince him to want to do this.

It is in this department that I feel like the biggest looser/failure. My super hopeless ways have rubbed off on him, or he started it. I am not sure. But he seems to not quite believe that all this will make him better. Most of his friends have gone one with their lives.
He has had the sweetest seminary teacher who has been wonderful to visit him and bring some of the class to visit as well.
So his progress is ever so slow and ever so slight. He still needs help to do most things that need doing each day. Maybe when he gets back to school it will make all the difference to his outlook and attitude.
I can't help but worrying that somehow I should have taught him all these great lessons about faith and hope and relying on the Lord to get through things. Somehow it is my fault that I can not make him get better faster.
So we will keep on keeping on. And someday we just might return to somewhat normalcy.


Kristina P. said...

Oh, Pat, I only hope he gets better and straightens that darn leg out! Maybe next year he'll be running in a marathon!

Nutty Hamster Chick said...

Oh Kristina I hope hope hope you are right.

The Crash Test Dummy said...

Okay, I'm going to have to come back to this one after I start my rolls because I have a feeling it's going to require my full attention.

Kris said...

Brandon says Hi Jared. Get better, or we won't be able to have a fun family reunion.

Brandon says he will wear his head gear if you do your exersizes.

Jared has his free agency. It is his job to get better. Don't beat yourself up over this. However I completely get why you would. Hang in there.

April said...

This is when we find that it is not always easy being a mom and sometimes bribery is an option.

We had short term bribes and long term bribes to keep my son going.
My son who is on his mission now, had to wear a Milwaukee brace because of kyphosis (he had a severe hunch back). He had to wear this brace 21 hours a day for 2 years in order to correct the curvature. He couldn't sit on the couch because it cut into his neck, he couldn't sleep on his bed because it cut into his neck and ears, he couldn't ride in compact cars because he couldn't bend at the waist to get in them. It was a horrible experience.

I would catch him ditching the brace in the shed in the backyard on his way to school or on the floor (on which he had to sleep) beside him instead of wearing it.

Bribery helped to ease the process and took the pressure off of us and put it back on him in a way. But it also helped to know what our son's currency was. Video games (picked up cheaper at pawn shops), we too let the hair slide but with the threat that if he didn't wear the brace then his hair would be cut. But, having 2 years to plan for the final day we planned a big trip for when he finished his prescribed time in the brace. We did have to extend his time in the brace due to times he didn't wear it, that was his choice.

What wasn't an option was that he did not wear it at all. He said that he did not have free agency. I disagreed. I told him that he did have free agency, he could choose the brace a day longer by not wearing it that day and then he would also lose his bribes from us.

At the age of 14 my son did not have the capacity to predict the long term effects of him not wearing the brace. We as parents had to decide that for him. You will have to do that for your son. You will have to explain to him why you are making these choices for him as well. It's not easy. It's not fun. It's exhausting! But know that it will be worth it to stay on him.

Communicate your desires to him and communicate why you are "picking this fight" with him. You love him. You want him to have a great life! Show him examples around him that aren't so lucky and how he could be like them if he doesn't do his therapy.

You are not a loser or a failure. You are a mom who hates to see their child in pain every day. I know, I've been there! But I promise, it is worth it in the long run. I had one doctor tell me that he would never be able to serve a mission because he wouldn't be able to walk for long distances.

My boy is on his THIRD pair of shoes!!! He has never had a car he has only walked or biked. When filling out the paperwork he wanted no mention made of his back problem.

Hang in there!! You can do this!

Sorry this has been so long. I hope it has helped.

April said...

Please don't think I equate what you went through with what I went through. They are similar yet very different. But I think some of those methods could work. You are stronger than you think. There is a reason I have found you! :)

Nutty Hamster Chick said...

April, I totally agree, you are an angel sent to help me. And I know they are not exactly the same, but I don't know anyone who has even been through anything remotely the same. I wonder if there are any support groups around here. It would be so good for both of us.

Jami said...

"Apparently they like you to have a parent escort when you go to hell, kind of like an R rated movie."

Wow. What an amazing experience! What a great mom you are!

My nephew went through a huge coma and had to re-learn to walk, talk, even to use the restroom. His physical therapy went on for a very long time. Let me know if you'd like me to hook you up with my SIL. She lives in UT.

Nutty Hamster Chick said...

Thanks for the offer Jami, I'll let you know.

Alyson (New England Living) said...

Wow! What a rollarcoaster for the whole family, but especially for him and his mommy. You're an awesome mom and I hope and pray that this journey of pain and uncertainity ends shortly.

The Crash Test Dummy said...


It's insane what you've had to go through this year.

And still you're so funny. I cracked up about the parent escort to hell. ha haha ha hahahahah

That is brilliant.

Oh my goodness oh my goodness. All those photos. I loved the one of you. So perfect.

And now your son is the bionic man. That means he's a 6 million dollar man. That means you're RICH! You are loade, girlfriend.

HANG IN THERE! This must have been a hard post to write.

SEBishop said...

Thanks for the update on Jared. I believe that the day will come (maybe when Jared is in his 20's) when he will understand all the sacrifices you have made for him. This will make your relationship so much stronger in the long run. No Mom I know has endured this amount of trials.
Hang in there!