I am celebrating a week of
"Whew, we made it through October!"
If you haven't read the beginning of the story, start here.
My father-in-law and I returned to my husband's hospital room after hearing that the condition of his 'broken' leg was very serious. It was obvious that we had both been crying. My husband had a look of fear on his face. He was envisioning the worst. After all, they had done every kind of test imaginable.
After we explained that he was going to have to be transported to another hospital, a look of relief spread across his face. "Okay! I can deal with that! After the two of you came in crying I thought I had cancer or something." Ever the optimist!
By this point, it was 1 a.m. and I found myself driving across town to 'the mac daddy' hospital, which housed the best orthopedic staff in the world... hopefully.
As Murphy's Law would have it, the ENTIRE hospital was full. By 3 a.m. we were finally given a room.
In the neurosurgical wing.
That poor nurse. She was as sweet as pie, but knew nothing about pain management. My dear husband was writhing in pain and she wasn't figuring out that Morphine doesn't do it for him.
My father-in-law had gone home to help with the kids and trade places with my mother-in-law.
My husband's dear aunt and uncle were sitting with me. It was surreal.
The surgeon-of-the-century arrived to give us 'the plan.'
Apparently, falling 10 feet out of a treestand can do a lot more damage than well-trained actors acquire from falling out of buildings.
The good news: the ankle joint was fine.
The bad news: both bones in the lower leg (doncha love my medical terminology?) were shattered
This would mean 2 major surgeries.
First, they would need to stabilize the leg. This would mean an external fixator.
Do you know what that is? Let me explain.
This is a metal apparatus that wraps around the outside of the leg and is held in place by two metal rods that are screwed into the tibia bone.
Uh-huh. That's right. He had metal pieces coming out of his leg.
For 2 weeks, he had to endure it and I had to look at it. Gag.
Second, he would have another surgery to reconstruct the bones. This meant he would have metal plates permanently inserted in his leg to provide stability for the bone loss.
For a man that hates the hospital, this was terrible news. However, the alternative ... well you know.
The first surgery went very well. He came out happy and ready to go home, aside from the fact that he had this THING on his leg. By this point, my parents had cut their trip short and were home, ready to help out. Before we left the hospital, the nurse informed us that I would have to give him a daily shot of blood thinner to reduce the risk of blood clots for the upcoming surgery. A shot. Really. Like, in his skin?
I really wanted to be a good wife. So I sucked it up and agreed to a demonstration. Before I knew it, I was on the floor out in the hall with my head between my knees, and black spots dancing before my eyes. Oh, honey, I tried. I wanted to do be a good nurse-wife. Fortunately, my mother was a nurse and she lives next door. Otherwise we'd have to pay for in-home care.
From this point on, I began to realize the complete chaos that comes with an injured husband. It began with how to get him into the house, where to let him sit and sleep comfortably. We brought in a bed (since ours was upstairs), moved the old recliner back into the family room, and borrowed a walker.
At the time, our children were 3, 5, and 7. Still a very needy age. I was suddenly thrust into caregiver and single parenthood. While my husband was there physically, he couldn't help with the little things I had taken for granted. I never realized how much I appreciated his evening help. Carrying laundry upstairs, bathing the kids, cleaning up dinner.
Oh how my prayer life changed! While there were lots of 'Lord, I need...' there were also lots of 'Lord, thank you for a husband that usually does all this stuff that I'm doing right now; he is the best... I want him back." Oh, the little things. Funny how we don't notice them until they are gone.
Meanwhile, my Manly Man was facing enormous challenges. This is a man who thrives on manual labor, fixing things, building things, working on projects and playing outside. All of these were taken away. Not to mention the rest of hunting season (his passion) was ruined.
I watched him be humbled and broken. Not to the point of no return. We knew the Lord was in control. We trusted Him. We knew that no matter what the outcome or how long it took, God already had a plan for our lives. He knew this plan long before we ever met and began our lives together. He knew and He held us in the palm of His hand.
So after 7 months of rehabilitation, physical therapy, a walker, crutches and then a cane, the doctor released him to walk on his own free will. Oh the lessons we learned during those 7 months. We learned that our marriage is strong enough to face giants. We both learned patience and sacrifice. We learned that we have many friends willing to step in and provide meals, comfort and encouragement.
We were ready to move on. We were willing to accept the fact that he might always have a limp and scars. But then, scars are not there to remind us of the pain, but how much we've healed.
As the summer progressed, so did my husband's strength. We knew he wouldn't be able to run for at least another year, but his walking was stable.
His limp was diminishing until ...