At least from a blogging perspective, you haven’t heard as much from me over the last few months. So I thought I would share with you why. My focus has been on my family.
My son was born with club foot on the right side. He had surgery and casting in South Korea, where he was born, before we adopted him. I am grateful that he received excellent care there which was on par with the medical treatment he would have received here. In fact, the surgeon who has been monitoring him for the last six years was so impressed with his first surgery, that he talked about wishing to go to Korea to study with the surgeon!
Two years ago, he had another surgery, moving a tendon. This helped, but it was still not enough. He was still limited in certain motions and flexibility, and long term would lead to secondary deformities and pain. He sure was able to compensate though. You would not spot him on the playground as having any disability. I could see it when he was encouraged to use both sides of his body. For example, he was a natural in Tae Kwon Do balancing on his (healthy) left foot and kicking with the right. But he couldn’t switch it up. With a twisted tibia (shinbone) couldn’t balance on his right foot.
And so, at the end of August he had “the big” surgery. The milder efforts were exhausted, and it was time to just fix it all the way. The surgeon rotated his tibia. As prepared as I was mentally, it was hard as h*ll to send my babe into surgery. This also involved an overnight stay at the hospital.
He did well with it all, but the next day, he was ready to go home. The surgeon ordered a wheelchair for him, expecting him to be using it most of the time for the first 3 weeks, and then in a cast or boot for the second 3. But aside from pain, he could weight bear as tolerated. When the physical therapist came in to show him how to use a walker, as an alternative to the wheelchair, he decided then and there that was a better solution, and he was determined to use that thing. So determined that he was ready to walk out the door, right then and there. Orlando and I were following him, asking “where are you going?” No answer, no looking back, he just kept heading for the way out, hospital gown and all. He was just done. And he has been an incredible trooper about it ever since! The photos I included were taken two days after surgery. We went to the MN Zoo with the wheelchair, but he only used it when he was just exhausted. What a fighting spirit!
The next phase was monitoring his determination, which would often leave him suddenly and totally wiped out. There were also the pain medications to figure out. Then school started, which added a whole new level of trying to keep up with everyone else as if he wasn’t trying to do so with a cast on. He did impress the daylights out of the entire school staff, with how he could get around. And when the cast came off, then the physical therapy started, to train his muscles to hold his foot in alignment and not turn inward.
All in all, this is why I my work life has been centered at home. Freelancing as an illustrator for many years, and now running a business from home. This allows me to be available at times like these. I feel blessed. And sometimes busy, tired, overwhelmed or frustrated that I can’t move my business along faster or pass on my work tasks to a co-worker. Sometimes I work in the middle of the night when the family is all sleeping (like right now, as I write this), and I envy their normal schedule or leave-the-work-at-work kind of life. But I have to remember, this is why I do it. Someday, I will look back at this time as a short period, even if it doesn’t feel like it now. After all, when did my kids get so big?
Just looking at this picture of my son reminds me to keep trying, remain determined and foster a great attitude. It makes me smile. Of course no one ever takes pictures of those moments when your kid throws himself on the floor in an inconsolable tantrum, so I also try to remember that bull-headed determination sometimes results in collapsing in private. That too shall pass. It’s a package deal. But this progress is the result: my son proudly told me one day to watch him skip, and I almost cried; I realized one day watching him run that both feet pointed forward; he can balance on one foot now, though it is not easy, he can do it. So I remember to just take it one step at a time.