Parental emotional processing

Or, how to cope when your child is injured. I don’t claim to be an expert by any stretch of the imagination. Given that Tad’s cast will come off in 17 days (but who’s counting?), I’m fully aware that I’m not dealing with a long-term handicap. I’ve still learned many things about myself in this process, though.

First off, I can hold my bladder a VERY long time. You see, I was just about to use the bathroom when I heard the fateful thud and cry from Tad’s room. Of course, he took precedence to my other needs, and things just sort of spiraled out from there. Since it is near to impossible to use the toilet with a two-year-old tightly wrapped around you because their arm hurts and you are their only comfort in a harsh, cruel world, I just hung on. Couldn’t use the bathroom at home, had to get to the pediatrician. Couldn’t use the bathroom at the pediatrician’s office, had to drive to the ER. Couldn’t use the bathroom in the ER, had to wait until first morphine shot administered and the Webmaster showed up, and then we got whisked away to radiology for x-rays. I finally relieved myself after Tad was back in the ER while we were waiting for the x-rays. Easily, it was a three-hour wait to use the bathroom. Granted, if I had been at the point of exploding, I would have carried Tad in there and just worked around him, but I had so much adrenaline rushing through me that it was easy to ignore my own needs and keep going.

Second, after so much adrenaline going through your system, you really have to take a break and cry. I was really good until the Webmaster arrived. Then I fell apart. I figured he could be the rational adult for a bit while I expunged my tear ducts. I tried not to cry in front of Tad, but the morphine had already done its trick and he was quite comfortable, even if Mommy was falling apart. The ER triage nurse had warned me when she put us in a room, “You’re going to earn your mom stripes today. Hang in there.” I hung on with all my might – with help from the Webmaster, my mother, Friend and CW Dad and all our other friends and family who were praying for and thinking of us.

Third, I came to the realization and acceptance quite early that there was nothing I could have done to prevent this. Tad was supposed to be settling down for a nap. I can’t sit there and watch him fall asleep. He had never gotten out of his crib before. He had spent the whole morning playing and I knew he was tired. Even as I cried because he was hurt, I, thankfully, didn’t have any guilt to work through. He did this to himself. I wish that he hadn’t, and I would have taken that broken arm for him if I could have, but I can’t stop him from doing stupid things. I guess that’s a good lesson for me to learn now.

Finally, it is very, very strange to have nurses and doctors and God knows how many other people look at you and say, “So, how did your son break his arm?” and know that they are asking because they want to know if you did it. A child support counselor even came into Tad’s room before his surgery to get the story from us. While I value the fact that they are trying to be advocates for the child, and they are constantly on the lookout for abusive parents, it was extremely weird and awkward to be on the receiving end of the questions. I kind of wanted to say, “Hey, I’ve got a blog if you want to read about all the goofy stuff this boy has done! And how many witnesses do you want to attest to his monkey-like behavior? I can get ’em lined up quick and easy!” Of course, that’s not the right thing to say, so I walked through his story more times than I can count, and everyone accepted it – his nurses, who referred to him as “Superman” more than once, because he tried to “fly” out of his crib, were eager to regale us with stories of stupid stunts their own children had pulled.

And of course, overriding every emotion I have is a sheer, overpowering feeling of thankfulness. I am thankful for the doctors’ and nurses’ skill, our friends and family’s support, and that Tad’s injury was no worse than it was. Because it could have been so, so much worse. And I am profoundly thankful to God that it wasn’t.

2 Responses to “Parental emotional processing”

  1. Auntie
    August 21st, 2007 15:37

    That was touching but gross!
    Who wanted to hear about your bladder??
    I didn’t!
    Good for you,
    but too much information.

  2. Matthew
    August 21st, 2007 20:53

    After we read about Tad, Andrea and I are counting our blessings that TheMonk hasn’t learned how to climb out yet. What happened to Tad is our exact fear once TheMonk becomes more agile.

    Glad to hear everyone is adjusting well – including Mom!