We officially survived week one in Brody's spica cast. It was a really, really tough week. As much as I'd like to forget it, I know that finding my way onto other blogs from families who have "been there, done that" was incredibly encouraging and resourceful. Perhaps I'll help someone else, but more importantly I'm here to catalog memories for Brody and our scrapbook one day.
Early on, we decided that it'd be best if Brody slept in bed with me so that I could be with him all night. Adam took one for the team and slept on the couch for the entire first week. The first night was really tough. Everytime Brody would wind down and close his eyes, he would jerk awake and start crying in pain. Even though I'd given him all of his pain medicine, it kept happening. I felt incredibly helpless. Holding him seemed to help, but he's not only so awkward to hold but I knew I couldn't sleep sitting up the entire night. I don't remember sleeping for more than a few minutes at a time. Poor Brody didn't get any sleep either, cycling through this constant routine of dozing off and waking in tears.
|We tried a lot of different variations on the floor. The more comfortable he became in the cast, the more willing he was to try new things.|
The next night, it was even worse. Crying and jolting awake turned into screaming bloody murder, like I was sawing off his legs with a rusty spoon. Or some other painful visual; use your imagination! Through other families I learned that it's not uncommon for the muscles in the leg to spasm in the cast, and that seemed to be what was happening. I remember crying in bed holding him, so frustrated that there wasn't anything I could do to help. Note: Initially I didn't think meals brought in from friends were necessary - it was just a broken leg, right? We'll be fine! It was during one of these nights when I was sobbing in bed, trying to hold Brody and calm him when a friend asked again if she could bring me a meal the next day even though I'd initially refused. This time, I very willingly accepted. I've been so grateful for my friends and their compassion, sometimes knowing what I needed more than I knew myself.
|One of the very first nights he slept well. My sweet, sweet boy.|
Each night I tried new things, and things got better, but it never went well enough that I felt we could continue on for another 6 weeks like that. I reached out to the doctor to see if there was anything we could do. She said she could prescribe Valium, but I just wasn't sure about putting him on something so strong. I took the advice of some wise friends and bought some Benedryl. Since giving Brody the Benedryl, he's been sleeping much better. I remember the first night he fell asleep and didn't startle himself awake. I raised my arms up in bed in a silent victory. I thought I'd finally be able to turn on the TV and have some "me time", but instead I turned off the light and did my best to catch up on sleep as well. If you know me, you know I am a night owl. This first week has been a real clear indicator just how exhausted I was becoming.
|Nothing grows bones faster than a calcium rich milkshake!|
The morning that Adam went back to work, I woke up incredibly sick. I thought, "Seriously world?!" I've been sick with some sort of flu almost weekly (sometimes twice) for almost a month now. It's as if we've been taking turns between all of us and I've taken more than my fair share. Add on my lack of sleep and rest from taking care of Brody, my body was admitting defeat. I was so blessed that my parents took Autumn to school and kept her that night to give me a break.
As the week went on, sleeping got better. He's not jerking awake anymore and began sleeping mostly through the night, maybe needing to be readjusted once or twice. As I solved one problem, I gained another.
See, before we left the hospital, I was warned that lifting him would really hurt my back. As little as I was even moving him, I was in a lot of pain. I was just exhausted - I still am. I already struggle with anxiety and fibromyalgia, so my whole body ached from all that I was taking on. I just couldn't win!
I'm also a person of routine. At night, I like to put the kids to bed, I might watch TV or get some work done. I like to go up to bed, maybe take a hot shower or a bath, watch my TMZ and Modern Family episodes, etc. All of that was out the door with Brody sharing my bed and needing to be so hands on with him. My routine eases my anxiety, and so I was really struggling towards the end of the week, longing for my "normal". Because I was dying physically, emotionally I was starting to crack.
|My friend Kelly in NYC sent us a surprise package with goodies for Brody, perfect for lap fun!! Our friends have been so amazing throughout this experience.|
As far as the days, those really haven't been that tough. He's still my sweet little boy! It's became a fun challenge to adapt Brody to the things he used to love to do. I try my hardest to get him off the couch a few times a day. Playdough has been a lifesaver, and a great idea from a 5 year old. Sticker books from friends: a lifesaver. Any activity he can do on his lap has been great. The remote controlled track I'd bought at the thrift store weeks earlier? An inspired choice!
|Remote control trains have been amazing! On the day we busted out for some air, Brody found his stabilizing bar was the perfect beverage rest!|
|The boys came over one night to check out Brody's cast and give us their John Hancocks|
|Even Grandpa signed it. Brody loved seeing what goodies everyone would leave for him.|
One of my big worries would be how Autumn would handle the next six weeks. Brody needs so much attention that it would only be normal for her to act out or become jealous, needing and wanting attention. Autumn has actually been amazing. She can struggle with her temper and behavior even when Brody was 100%, so to have her be a willing helper and adapting as well as she has, has definitely been a blessing. My parents? Also a blessing. They took her overnight twice the first week and got her to school each and every day. As hard as the first week was, so many people helped and pitched in to help lighten our load.
|Using Autumn's table and the bean bag was a great way for Brody to have things at eye level and be able to spread out his toys.|