Sunday, April 18, 2010


Thank you Elizabeth, Ellen, Lianna and Sherry for your comments on Ben's homecoming.

I pulled my first all-nighter in years last night: Ben was in terrible pain. He had been weaned to tylenol and by the time I realized he was crashing and went to get the strong pain medication filled, it was too late.

At one point last night Ben started thrashing around in his cast, trying to roll onto his affected leg. We were frightened he would hurt himself and decided to remove the cast. I neglected to mention in my previous posts that Ben didn't need to be in his body cast medically -- for the purpose of bone healing -- but to prevent him from placing any weight on his affected leg. The surgeon made the cast a removable, clam-shell one and told us if we could be sure he wouldn't put weight on his leg, we could take it off.

Ben's pain continued without the cast and as the early morning hours ticked by I started agonizing over whether removing it was the wrong decision. I spoke to the orthopedic resident on call, but despite his reassurance I was fit to be tied. I e-mailed the surgeon, and imagine my relief when I received this message back from him at 9 this morning:

There is nothing wrong with removing the cast, and it's also normal to still have pain. Just having the incisions alone is painful, and they will hurt when he moves, and he can move even in the cast. If he is still uncomfortable, call the residents on call and they can give you a prescription for a stronger pain medication.

It's normal to worry, and it's normal to have pain after this kind of surgery. It's no problem for you to email me or call the residents on call with any questions. If he has more problems today let me know, but if not, call my office and let Kim know on Monday how he is doing.

I was so relieved, I cried, and I suddenly felt capable that I could support Ben through the pain. It was natural that he had great pain (not a reflection of anything we were or weren't doing), and hopefully it would get a little better, everyday. We were acting in Ben's best interest when we removed the cast because we were afraid he would hurt himself.

I went for a walk with my younger son and it was bright and sunny and everything was in bloom, particularly the hydrangeas. I felt like I had been touched by grace.


What a lovely, lovely response from your surgeon too. Doctors get a bad rap sometimes (and often they deserve it) but there are some wonderful ones out there too and it sounds like you have one. Good for you for trusting your instincts with the cast and also for finding some solace in your walk outside. It will get better. It already is!

Oh, this made me cry it was that unexpected -- a sensitive, caring reply from a surgeon. Imagine the goodness and yes, grace.

I can't imagine, really, really can't imagine - I know I would have been beside myself with fear, uncertainty and a whole lot of other things though.

I'm so glad the doctors response was reassuring and understanding. Most parents aren't health professionals, being put in the situation of making serious medical decisions and caring for a child who is sick and/or in pain cause so much anxiety and doubt in ones ability to make good decisions. We need to be able to contact doctors when in doubt - they are the ones with the years of experience to guide us.

I really hope that Ben is doing better today, pain free.

Best wishes to you all

I am so glad to read this Louise. It is nice to see families supported in the ways they need. It is so very important.
(I am just seething a little that they didn't send you home w the stronger pain meds. As I said in the previous post this is a real hot topic for me. They can do better.)

Oh Louise, I'm sorry I missed this post. I hope that Ben is now pain free, and on a good path to mending. I remember the worry over Gabriel after his heart surgery. How would I know if he were in pain? I kept asking myself that over and over...I remember the panic I felt when we were finally discharged too. How would I cope? Funny thing was that Gabriel mended so quickly. Our children can cope -- but no one wants her child to feel one iota of pain. I can imagine the panic you felt!