When last I wrote, the world was humming along like normal – people went to work, kids went to school, and toilet paper was available in grocery stores. Oh, the good old days….
There is something about living through a pandemic that made wanting to blog pretty low on my list of things to accomplish. On the top of my list was cleaning all the things, making sure to isolate, keeping Zack safe, and learning how teach special education classes. You know, the normal things each of us are called to do now.
A surprising benefit to isolating was that Zack actually grew taller and remained pretty healthy. He did not have many prolapses, he did not obstruct much, we were better able to regulate his formula intake and electrolyte supplementation, and he didn’t run around expending ridiculous amounts of energy. Even though all of those things were great, not being able to see friends and family or participate in social activities was hard.
I do not know who coined the phrase, “All good things must come to an end”; however, that has indeed seemed to be true for us. Things were going along pretty well medically until a few weeks ago when Zack got ready for bed and told me he had a stomach cramp. I had noticed that he had not had any output for a few hours and made a mental note. Fast forward to 1:00 AM … the dreaded, “MOM!” rang out and I knew. He was having waves of cramping, minimal output, and was incredibly uncomfortable. Zack started saying he wanted to go to the hospital. We got dressed and ready and then he said that maybe he could make it a bit longer. Mercifully, he was able to fall asleep for a few hours before the pain returned.
When he woke up he was still not feeling well. After texting with his doctors, we decided to bring him in. I will spare you all of the boring in between details, but whatever was causing the 14 hour blockage ended up resolving itself at the emergency room. My theory is that the three bananas he ate at one time caused the issue, but that’s just a theory. Whatever caused the problem, it was definitely the most intense obstruction Zack has had in months. We had packed our bags expecting to stay and were thrilled to be able to come home without being admitted or having surgery!
You know there has to be more to the story than an obstruction that resolved on its own, right? On Monday, Zack and I were invited to use our friends pool. It was blistering hot and Zack was so excited that he couldn’t wait for me to finish getting ready. He jumped on his electric scooter and headed up the street. I followed along about 5 minutes later. As I rounded the bend in our road, I heard someone crying. It took a moment for me to realize it was Zack. I saw him in lying on the side of the street, on his back, and then I heard him crying, “Help me!” My heart stopped and I ran faster than ever before to get to him. Zack said he thought he broke his arm and he was most certainly correct. His right arm looked like Joe Theismann’s leg injury, but on an arm. (I’ll spare you the pictures. You are welcome.)
Thank goodness for technology and cell phones. It was blistering hot and everyone was inside staying cool. Zack and I were the only people outside and we really needed help. I was able to reach two friends who raced to our rescue. Liz helped me get some ice on his arm and some shade over him as he was on the blistering hot asphalt, sweating like crazy, and in some pretty severe pain. Our friend Sarah rushed to render aid. Interesting side note: Sarah is Dr. Sarah for those who remember Zachary’s blizzard medical emergency. She is Zack’s guardian angel – for real. It was clear that he needed emergency medical attention and a plan was formed. Sarah, Liz, and several neighbors gathered to help Zack while I ran home in to grab our insurance cards.
Zack was incredibly brave as we drove to the closest hospital. He was brave when they tried 3 times to get an IV started. He was brave for the nerve block that was injected directly into his broken arm. He held it together so well….until they told him he needed to be sedated to manipulate his arm back into place. Angry Badger made a small comeback at that point. It’s always hard to try and explain Angry Badger to people who do not know Zack. It’s one of the reasons I am thankful for the hospitals that treat Zack routinely. They understand that medical trauma anxiety is a real thing for kids who have had multiple invasive procedures and surgeries. The fear, anger, and range are real and scary. I warned the medical staff. I am not sure if they actually believed me. They believe me now. Happily, Zack’s anger was short-lived this time, and I was able to let him know how proud I was that he was able to control himself.
I was able to be in contact with Zachary’s pediatrician during all of this. Words can never adequately describe the comfort it brings me to know Zack is so well cared for by his medical team. We made a plan for follow-up care because Jim and I knew we wanted Zack to be treated by the orthopaedic clinic at Walter Reed rather than our local hospital. There are many reasons for this, but one of the main reasons is keeping his team involved in all areas of his care makes life so much easier.
Zack is sporting an over the elbow cast and has determined that casts are not as cool as he thought. Because of the type of break in Z’s arm, he will require weekly X-rays for a bit. Happily, it appears that his bones were set well and should heal completely without surgical intervention. Sadly, his cast was a mess and needed to be cut and pasted to make it livable for the next 8 – 10 weeks. The doctor did not want to take the whole thing off and risk moving his bones. The middle part of his cast remained and the hand and elbow portions were cut and replaced. Much to Zack’s delight, his cast is now red.
Next up medically, Zack has his yearly genetics appointment at the beginning of August. He still needs to have his 13 year well-check. And the big one….Zack will be having his manometry testing at Children’s National Medical Center the first week of September. Zack will NOT be thrilled about that. We have purposely not mentioned it to him as it will certainly bring Angry Badger back with a vengeance and nobody wants to see that until absolutely necessary. It was nice to have a few months of quiet.
Finally, and not at all related to Zack, Jim and I celebrated our 30th anniversary in between all of this crazy. Our celebratory trip was cancelled due to COVID and I was grumpy about it. Our 25th anniversary celebration was cancelled because Zack was discharged from the hospital that day. I just could not shake the self-pity. It was not a good look. (What can I say? I’m human.) Jim and our neighbors hatched a plan and we had a really nice celebration right on our own deck. Decorations, wine, and champagne courtesy of our friends. Dinner from a local restaurant. Zack socially distanced outside with neighbors. Zoom call with all of our boys. It was a great night of celebrating this crazy life we lead together.
I hope that pandemic life has been quiet for you. I hope that you have been getting lots of home improvement projects completed, new hobbies started, and that you have been safe and healthy. I can’t leave without a public service announcement: Wear your masks! If not for yourselves, do it for kids like Zack who need the extra protection.
Hug your babies!