Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Learning to Let Go

What a week so far.  Derek is sad that Krystina went to see her family this week, even though he understands she needs to see them, too.  Just because he understands, doesn't mean he is not sad.  It's not easy being away from someone you love.  He is also nervous about surgery Friday.  We all are.  But Dr. N seems to have a good plan in place.  He came down to the Matc to discuss it with us.  The EMG looked promising, and Dr. N is hopeful.  He is going to replace the cement spacer with a cadaver bone and take a look around to see if there is a path for the ulna nerve to regrow.  He wants to look around and see how the rest of the hand is repairing itself and what state it is in. 

He said the immediate recuperation time is three weeks, so OT and PT will be a little limited.  Derek's PT was NOT a happy girl.  She stomped her foot when I told her.  She is quite a character.  We like her.  She kids around with the guys and her whole attitude is very helpful to their well being.

Derek will not be able to bear weight on his hand or wrist for three weeks.  There will be no range of motion or stretching of the hand or wrist for three weeks.  Thereafter, regular OT and PT can resume.

The full recuperation time is about six months to two years.  After six months, another nerve study will show how much of the nerves have regrown and whether a rewiring of the tendons or muscles is necessary.  There may come a point when all that can be done will have been done, but at least Dr. N is hopeful and is trying it all.  Derek has already asked about voluntary amputation if the limb salvage is not successful.  Dr. N is hoping that his hand will be repaired enough to be a helping hand, and all efforts will be exhausted before amputation is considered.  I hope it doesn't come to that.  I really don't want to think about him losing the arm. 

An ongoing conversation this week has been nurses v. therapists (of the occupational and physical variety).  Nurses nurture and attend to all of the patient's needs.  If a patient is struggling, the nurse rushes in and helps immediately.  It is her role to make sure the patient is comfortable and wants for nothing.  If he is reaching for something, she will hand it to him.  A therapist, not so much.  A therapist is apt to move the target a little further away or make a sarcastic comment in order to egg the patient on to try harder.  The therapist will sit there and let the patient struggle until he can do it himself.  Their roles are very different.

Both want to see the patient succeed, and both celebrate when the patient can do it himself.

As a mother, I am torn.  And throughout a child's life, a mother remains torn.  No mother wants to watch her child struggle, so it is in her nature to nuture and help.  But, she also knows her child needs to learn, so she guides him and allows him a safe avenue in which to learn that which he needs.  In this situation, I need to fight my instinct to reach out and hand Derek his seat belt or help him in other ways.  He has to be independent.  I help him with things I know he cannot do with one fully functioning hand, but other than that, I have taken a lot of cues from his OT and PT and I push him to do more and more on his own.

It's hard to let go.

I am so stressed I am ready to crack.  This week has sort of pushed me over the edge.  Over the last six months I went from being with my kids every day to seeing them every few weeks, to having my son healthy and full of life to almost losing my son and watching him suffer daily, from having a wonderful job I loved to having to find a job in a terrible economy, etc.  Derek is also stressed this week, and that has not helped.  I had to set priorities, and getting Derek through this was number one.  Now that he is getting to the end of the rockiest parts, the priorities are meshing closer together, so the choices are harder to make.  They were so easy in the beginning.  Now I don't know what to do sometimes.  I just ask for guidance, but I don't feel any coming yet.

So the mountain is a little steep right now.  I've gotten over steeper climbs, and I know I'll get past this one, too.  Sometimes, during the steepest parts, when it is especially rocky, it doesn't feel like I'll ever get over that rock and onto the next one, but somehow I do.  I just keep climbing, and before I know it, I'm onto the next challenge.  So, keep going.  You'll make it to the top eventually, too.  And then there will be another mountain, representing another of life's challenges for you to conquer.  That's life.  That's what makes living an adventure.  So, keep climbing.  Never give up.  Never give in.  Tell that mountain who's the boss.  Own it.  Climb to freaking glory!


  1. On a different path, in a different way, I'm living the 'letting go' challenge. Mine? Letting go of the child I didn't have, and embracing the one I did. Reality sucks, but nowhere near as much as fantasy does. Cheers, hon... Here's to being the best moms we can imagine being.

  2. Just wanted to let you know you are AWESOME! I can feel the struggle in your writing but know that you will prevail. The same strength that you show also radiates from your son. You have done an awesome job raising that young man and he will make it through just as you will. Am praying for you and your entire family! May God give you the guidance you so desperately need!!

  3. Know that you're in my thoughts and prayers!
    Isaiah 43:1-3a But now thus saith the LORD that created thee, O Jacob, and he that formed thee, O Israel, Fear not: for I have redeemed thee, I have called thee by thy name; thou art mine. When thou passest through the waters, I will be with thee; and through the rivers, they shall not overflow thee: when thou walkest through the fire, thou shalt not be burned; neither shall the flame kindle upon thee. For I am the LORD thy God, the Holy One of Israel...
    Prayer Bears
    My email address

  4. Continued prayers for you and Derek. I hope that mountain eases up a little for you and Derek.

  5. Praying for wisdom and discernment for you... Peace in the midst of the not knowing...