Tucker and I spent yesterday at Children’s Hospital, which is in itself a really beautiful place.  I spent the day feeling like we were on some part of Disney property with all the colors and foods and things to see.  I’m not even kidding.  We wandered around for the hours between our appointments, and I found myself forgetting why we were there for a few minutes at a time, which I now understand is kind of their whole point.

When we went into the orthopedic exam room, they had all the things you would expect, with one gracious addition: a rocking chair.  For me.  It was Children’s Hospital’s way of saying, Here, mom.  This is probably a hard day for you.  We’ve got this. 

Tucker was the star of the show yesterday, drawing specialists from all over who were eager to meet the kid whose x-rays they had spent two days talking about.  His spirits soared in the stardom. I watched him very nearly lose himself in the presence of two nurses so young and so cute that it’s a little unfair that they’re also crazy smart.

Tucker’s foot injury is “as bad as it gets,” according to the pediatric orthopedic surgeon.  This particularly injury has a special name: Lisfranc.  I like to picture a smart woman surgeon, Liz Fronk, as the namesake of this piece of medical history; I’m told that’s not quite how it went. 

This injury apparently stems back to Napoleon’s army, of all things, times, and people in history.  When men fell from their horses in battle, their feet got twisted and crushed in the stirrups, causing a game-changing break exactly like the one that cracked the arch of Tuck’s foot. 

We have a very, very, very long road ahead of us, and that is if everything goes as well as it possibly can.  Picture me taking a deep breath here, as I gather strength in my diaphragm to list off the following.  Here we go:

If the swelling goes down and he can have the reconstructive surgery on Monday, then he will undergo a 2-3 hour surgery where they will put rods in his bones and pins in his ligaments. There is serious risk of infection because of multiple incisions. He will be admitted to the hospital for pain management for the necessary days and nights.  After that, he will have eight weeks bearing no weight, followed by rehab and physical therapy as he learns how to use his bionic foot.  He will have a second surgery later this year to take out the hardware, and then we will see where we are, how he is, how his foot is growing, and what remains of our perseverance.  That finish line feels like it’s on the other side of the world.

And those are just the facts.  Let alone the subjective sadnesses of his lost summer and a season away from football, the very beat of his heart.

I feel empty, numb, and emotionally bankrupt.  Some things are difficult because I’m a single parent, and some things would be difficult even if Robb were here.  This falls into the second category.  This would be a challenging mile-marker on the childhood timeline no matter what. 

But there would be someone to hold onto at night.

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