It’s safe to say that I’m ready for 2014 to be over and it’s only the second week of March. While our year started with both of our grandparents in the hospital, it has increasingly gotten worse on the home front. After Ben’s grandpa passed, other sicknesses arose and there’s the never ending winter it seems that there was really no end in sight for not so good news. That was until last Friday when my mom sent a text saying that dad had a fall at work, his boss was picking her up and they were on their way to Froedtert.
Seeing news like this as you’re about to walk into a meeting it heart stopping. How was I to sit and concentrate when I have my dad to worry about? Without explaining myself, I kept my phone out and in touch with my mom the entire time. All while trying to pay attention to what I’m sure was a very important insightful meeting. Finally, when mom told me dad had broken his leg and needed surgery, I about lost it right there in the middle of a Google session. I politely, while holding myself together, asked if I could leave and headed to pick up Henry. While I wasn’t rushing to my dads side, I couldn’t sit there any longer. It was giving me serve anxiety.
Most of the next few hours was a lot of uncertainty. Found out that dad broke his femur, needed surgery and was in a ton of pain. I kept in communication with both my mom and brother, whom were by my dad’s side.
Saturday afternoon, Henry and I made the trek to visit dad. It was mostly an unplanned visit, so stopping to get lunch for my mom and brother with a hungry one year old, juggling food, stroller and a diaper bag, in an unfamiliar location made me frazzled. My dad was still in surgery when we arrived. This was partially alarming to me as it had been well over six hours. We sat and waited for what seemed like forever. Luckily, Henry is quite the kid to put a smile on your face when it has a frown. Not to mention, my brother can make the kid laugh like no one else.
When my dad came back, it was really hard to look at him. He’s the strong, hardworking, outdoorsman of our family. In my 26 years, I can’t remember one time when I saw his strong guy physique shattered, until this weekend. A rod in your leg and gaping wound will do that to a guy though. Due to extreme swelling they weren’t able to close the incision, so he was hooked up to the vacuum to get the excess fluid and blood out before another surgery to close him up.
Though he was out of it, I know he was happy that we were there, even had a few jokes to crack. You could tell that Henry wanted to climb up in bed with GRANDPA. Dad had a sore throat from the tube being in it, but he still managed to try and get a few of Henry’s favorite squeals out. Even helpless, the man still knows how to make Henry smile.
We went back to visit yesterday. Dad was in better spirits. Henry was all over the hospital, wanting to visit every last patient. Luckily, he’s cute so the nurses were easily won over by his smile. Due to the severity of the break and wounds, he ended up having to get blood transfusions. It wasn’t something he was happy about, but knew it was the best of the two options.
There was another surgery today to help close the wound. It was mostly unsuccessful as they could only get the 46 centerimeter opening down to 14 centimeters. This now means that yet again, dad will go under on Wednesday to see what more they can do. If unsuccessful again, they will do skin grafting and he’ll be in the hospital even longer.
I’ll admit that I’m scared. It makes me beyond sad to see my dad so helpless. I get scared knowing that he’s going under again. Three surgeries in less than a week is no walk in the park for anyone. The tole that it will take on his body will only add to the expected six month recovery. My heart aches for him. I fear he’ll never be the same. I pray that he’ll be back building some new project, cutting endless piles of wood and shooting something big, in no time.
While my dad may have ‘just’ broken his leg, it’s so much more than that. The femur is one of the worst bones to break. My dad is not a young buck, so the healing process will be a bit longer. To put into prospective, my grandma broke her femur in December and just got out of the hospital. Granted, she’s 93, but it just goes to show that breaking your femur is no walk in the park.
If you know my dad, he’s a hands on always on the go type of guy. A lot is about to change for our family. It’ll be months before he’s crawling on the floor in his underwear coercing Henry to do lord knows what. The family vacation that my parents surprised us with for Christmas, may now be postponed. There will be lots of family dinners to help out and give my mom a break from her new duties as a wife (ones that she never imagined when she said her vows 30 years ago), helping out with things my dad used to do (David joked we’d learn to find joy in yard work) and keeping my dad’s spirits up in the process.
At the end of all of this, I know it will have brought us all closer together. As David said, it’s time to unite as a family. Not that we aren’t, but it has a whole new meaning now. Times like these remind you to put the selfishness aside and do what you have to for others.
I wish I could be at my dad’s side all day long. To help him when he needs it, read him stories, keep him company and hold his hand when he gets scared. For years my parents took care of me and did those exact things. Now my inner Soetenga (or Aunt Claudia as I like to say) wants to come out and do all that I can. While it may not be humanly possible to help as much as I need, I know my emotionally unstable self can always pray, a lot. There’s a reason for everything. Having a hard time seeing what that is right now, but someday it will all make sense.
Even though I’d love to wish 2014 away, there are some great things happening (babies being born (not mine)) that I have to look forward too!! We have a long road ahead of us, but I don’t doubt for a single minute that the thickness of our skin and blood won’t be able to get us through it all.