It’s 3:08am. I’m wide awake… why?
His drip had an air bubble and alarms went off every which way, lights flashing, Nurse Fiona came in quietly creeping but she needed light and a syringe to remove the offending bubble and so all lights went on and though she was fast and efficient and it was all dealt with so quickly, my mind has switched on and l am wide awake.
He sleeps blissfully it’s been a rough few weeks, two weeks ago exactly we were here, he had a knee reconstruction, playing football it’s been his dream since he was 3 yrs old and got his first football and declared “I’m going to play for the Tigers!”
He started Auskick at 5 yrs old and joined his first team at 8 or 9. I had previously believed l had skipped the “Sports Mum” title but l thought too soon. Then it was all about football training in the cold winter evenings and Sunday’s we worship at the Church of Football, all day Sunday is about Football and he’s breezed through it all.. well almost… until this year.
First game of season 2019, twenty minutes into the first quarter, l sat there dutifully doing the good Mother thing, I am NOT that cheering Mother, l’m not allowed to cheer, he hates hearing me cheer from the side lines, l am NOT that Mother that yells at the umpire for a crappy decision, because that’s the Umpires job and they train hard to do that, l am also NOT that Mother who coaches from the side lines because that’s what his coach is for, and besides, l don’t even like Football, l don’t understand it l don’t know who plays on what position, l know very few of the players, l honestly don’t care but HE does and so, therefore, l go each week, to see my Star Son, l cheer when he’s not looking l sing his theme song under my breath and l love that he is so committed and happy to play.
So back to round one, it’s Autumn in Australia, the days are getting shorter and the weather is temperamental but that day was lovely and sunny, l was not feeling very well, so l took my book and read and cat napped in the car for the hour and a half before his game, while they do their strategies and warm ups or whatever it is they do.
My husband is team manager this year so he’s off doing his pre game official stuff, it’s a good way to get an hours reading or letters written uninteruppted time.
Then the previous game finished and Star Son and his team took to the field. So l set up the picnic blanket on the ground in front of our car and took my book and watched the game… not knowing then it would be his last for the year!
The team is a mix of last season’s players and a whole bunch of new guys so pre season has been about them all learning to come together and be a team, bonding sessions, hard training sessions since about February, including a beach training session, and Star Son to help improve his own fitness joined the local gym and attended at least twice weekly.
So what happened next was not part of the plan and frankly not even a blip on any of our radars. Aussie Rules football AFL to those who are from overseas, is a rough game, he’s had a concussion before and once he got carried off the field on a stretcher! (And gosh did l get into trouble for not taking photos for Facebook!) And though l hate to see him hurt in any capacity I’ve learnt to bite my tongue and not complain, (He never sees the tears l cry) because it’s all part of the game, the game he loves, the game he eats, sleeps and breathes for.
His Grandmother once said to him “Whatever they pay you to play, l will pay you NOT to play” and we laughed at her, but, now l am on team Tanny, l don’t want him to play not after that day.
Fifteen minutes into the first quarter, the other team are big solid lads, l guess ours had speed and Star Son was playing down my end of the field so l had a good view, we were already showing domination on the score board. And then BANG he’s down, slow motion, the other guy hip and shouldered him, he went up in the air and he crashed down, l swear l felt the thud as he landed, and l just stared, silently willing him, “Come on get up! Come on!” He tried, he rolled this way, he rolled the other, but he was struggling and my heart skipped a beat, then his hand went up which means “Send help” the First Aide girl went running and spoke to him, felt his leg and then put her hand up calling for help, although l know he would have hated it l so wanted to run out to him on to that field.
The trainer and first aide got him up and carried him off the field, passed me at the boundary and l caught his eye, tear filled, and mouthed “ankle or knee?” He said “Knee l think” and there began our nightmare.
He was taken to the coaches box and inspected, but just prior to that another player had come off the field, his arm, we found out later was broken so he was sent off in an ambulance!
But Star Son sat there with an Ice pack, only staff are allowed in the coaches box so l forced myself to stay sitting where l was “Don’t panic! There’s no blood, he’s upright just wait. Don’t panic” so l prayed, to outsiders it might have looked like l was reading my book but behind my sunglasses my eyes were closed and l cried out to Jehovah to send an angel to watch over him.
And then l found my husband because as team manager he IS allowed in the coaches box!! He quickly returned and said “Oh he’s strained his knee he’ll just sit out the rest of this quarter” (Ha! Yeah right!!) At Half time my husband called me over and said “Sit with him in the coaches box while the team go into the rooms” so l sat and l asked him “How are you really?” And he said “Mum the pain is unbareable” my heart cracked. Because l want to fix him but I’m not allowed.
He sat there for the rest of the game, with an ice pack, his knee was massively swollen and l still don’t understand why he wasn’t sent to see someone, but apparently we had to wait for the swelling to go down. Getting him into the car to go home was fun… NOT! He’s six foot tall and folding his lanky body into the Volkswagen coupe was not easy!
At home, in my domain, l became Nurse, pain killers, ice pack, showers, comfort foods, still not understanding why we were not seeing a hospital. I was told his coach ( also a physiotherapist) would assess him the next night, see if the swelling had subsided.
Monday- No school, he can’t walk, can’t put any weight on it at all, he’s using a walking stick to hobble around. Training that night, Coach says “Let’s see a Dr to get a second opinion” finally.
Dad hired a set of crutches.
Tuesday- No school, he’s in a huge amount of pain, he’s also doing year 12 and cannot miss more than a set amount of hours or he may fail. So we reach out to the school and tell them what’s happening asking them to send him home work so he doesn’t fall behind. He sees his own Doctor who consults with Coach and they agree it’s not improving send him for an MRI.
Wednesday- 6:45am in the car headed to another suburb for an 8:15am appointment for an MRI, we are given a disc with images and we deliver it straight to Coach, who rings my Husband and says “It’s not looking good” l didn’t get shown the photos or take part in any of these discussions, maybe they’re too advanced for my simple mind.
Thursday- We have a 6:30pm appointment with an Orthopedic Surgeon who delivers the bad news..
He has done his ACL, MCL and torn his meniscus. He won’t play again for at least 12 months (in my mind all l heard was “He won’t play again” and suddenly his Grandma won!) So he was prescribed pain relief and anti inflammatory told to keep using the crutches and booked in for Surgery on Wednesday May 1st.
He’s been off school since some of that was school holidays and Some he’s done sheet work to keep up.
Wednesday 1st May. We need to be at the Epworth in Richmond at 7.00am we leave home at 5:30, arrive on time, check in everything goes smoothly, he’s in good spirits, he’s looking forward to jelly in recovery, Dad pays the bills and takes in the technical jargon and l, well l take deep breaths and keep it all together when inside l’m not coping so well. But it’s about him not me so deep breathe don’t let anyone see your hands shaking.
I get to go up to pre surgery and see the orthopaedic surgeon, his team of helpers all come and introduce themselves l will never remember their names or their jobs l smile, l nod and l freak out when they have to wheel him away, but l smile and say “see you when you wake up l love you” and then l have to find my way through the maze of tunnels and get back to his ward. Dad and l eat a vanilla slice at the Cafe and drink coffee and wait for the call to say it’s all over.
Just after 11.00am the call comes he’s good in recovery he’ll be back soon. I thank Jehovah for answering my prayers.
Then a call from recovery “Do you want to come sit with him?” So we quickly go there to see our Star Son, my husband goes first, spends a few minutes to reassure himself he’s all good and then he’s heading into work to get some stuff done. I’m staying, no where else l could even think of being right now.
I spend half an hour in recovery with him, zonked out of his mind, we laugh about how one minute he’s going surfing with the male nurse and then suddenly he says “My leg!! They’ve cut off my leg!” I quickly reassured him they had not and then in his next breath he’s off to play tennis.. “With only one leg?” I asked, he sighed and said “Oh yeah they cut off my leg!” I showed him his leg was still there and then he made a cute little video telling his girl friend how much he loved her.
Back on his ward he dozed, he ate chicken nuggets and chips, we watched Netflix and l helped him to and from the bathroom, and l watched him sleep fitfully and cry out occasionally in pain, and l wished l could take it all away. His blood pressure was high, his heart rate was fast it was scary.
We made it through the first night, my big tough Star Son who towers over me, woke during the night and l sleepily asked him “What do you need I’ll get it” he replied “Just making sure you’re here” l said “I wouldn’t be any where else”
Thursday- early morning starts surgeon came by at 6:30am to do rounds and we were given all clear to go home. Had a physio visit and an x-Ray and a pharmacy visit And by 11:00am we gently busted him out of the hospital.
Back home we began a new daily routine, medication and physio. Everything was going lovely and smoothly until Sunday! Bloody Mothers day.
It started well, he walked without his crutches and we all cheered it was time he started weight baring. He has a 2 week check up Wednesday with his own Doctor, everything was going smoother than l imagined… l jinxed us!
Sunday evening he said he didn’t feel so good and he wasn’t hungry plus he was sore, we though he might have over done the weight baring bit so helped him into bed. Then he vomited, and then the fever started and l thought maybe it was like gastro, so l tried to keep his fluids up and entice him to eat.
Tuesday- He slept most of the day his girlfriend came to visit after school and he went out to say Happy Mother’s Day to her mum he’d brought her chocolates and then suddenly Bree ran in and said “Quick Kim, he’s passed out” running outside he’s laying in the drive way, luckily Bree had caught him so he didn’t hit his head. He was white as a ghost, even his freckles had disappeared. I don’t know how l manage to keep so calm but we got him up and inside and then my mind is racing. I made phone calls to my husband to Star Sons Doctor l couldn’t get him in, so l rang my doctor and got him in, my daughter drive us down and my husband met us there.
He had a raging temperature 39.2 she said he was dehydrated and the fever probably made him pass out. She gave him antibiotics and anti nausea medication and told us to give him hydrolyte but the worst Thing was the pain in his knee it was hot and angry. She didn’t suspect his knee was infected thinking like us it was gastro. He hardly slept all night l alternated between ice packs and pain relief. He had his two week check up the next morning.
Wednesday 15th May. Two weeks post op. Antibiotics and antinausea meds, pain relief, hot shower but not too hot and forced him to eat some cereal, time for his 10:30am DR appointment, my husband changed his mind, did he suspect?! And decided to stay home and attend the appointment, his Dr listened to yesterday’s tale and took a look at his knee and said “Go straight back to the hospital!” He wrote us a referral and then we were in the car rushing madly back to Richmond.
By 12.00pm he was in a bed in Emergency and by 1:15pm the surgeon was here draining fluid from the knee by 2:20pm he was taken down to pre op and l’m in a daze! Filling in forms answering questions starting to be concerned about his BP, his racing heart beat his collapsing viens, he was dehydrated, connected to a drip, whiter almost than the sheets.
So, his knee joint got infected inside, it was nothing l did wrong, he went into surgery and had keyhole surgery and they flushed the infection out with 10 litres of sterile water. He’s attached to a drip feeding him strong antibiotics. From 10:30am till surgery at 3:20pm everything moved like a whirl wind, my husband went home to get some things for us and suddenly l was alone, l brought donuts and sat and cried, because sometimes it just has to happen. I can be strong for everyone most of the time.
So at 3.08 am when l started writing this l laid here in the glow of all the machines while he sleeps and listen to him breathe and think about this star Son who means the world to me, and l know l’m going to be really tired later, Nurse Fiona is worrying and wants to make me drinks because l am not sleeping, but like l always say l can sleep when l’m dead for now l’m right where he needs me to be. Its 5:29am probably not worth sleeping now.