the last 2 weeks have been such an incredible rollercoaster, that only thinking of it, makes me cry so hard. my little Ruben (and ofcourse the rest of our family) has gone through so much. i can't even wrap my mind around it, let alone a 5 year old boy can.
this is gonna be a long post, and i need it to be. lots of pics, because my iphone was my very best friend in capturing our story. yes, even when he was in pain and cried. we need it to get through this. to give it a place in our heads. it needs to settle in still.
February 26. see my previous post about me getting THE call from school something was wrong. when i walked into his classroom, i saw my little dude extremely upset & in incredible pain. i brought "Waffie" with me, his favorite stuffed animal since he was a newborn. i saw his right leg was not in a 'normal' position. i didn't cry. i always thought i would be a wooz and would cry like a baby in situations like this. not the case. i felt strong and only wanted to have the best care for him asap.
the paramedics came in with a brancard and i felt a big sigh of relief. you can see his right leg. swollen (he's normally skinny/thin). these paramedics seriously were amazing. he got some kind of opiate to release him from his pains.
the lifted him onto the brancard and stabilized his leg with that big orange thing.
and here we go. it was just a quarter pass 'school out' and i heard later on that the schoolyard was stuffed with people. not only kids, no parents, and even kids & parents from a school next to us. i was told that the brancard couldn't hardly walk through the crowd of people to reach us. seriously people?? what if it was YOUR child in extreme pain... would you want to be other peoples holding paramedics down who are here to take care of you? don't think so. i can even throw up thinking about those people. sure, you wanna see. you wanna watch. but MAKE SOME FREAKING ROOM. apparantly the school director who was waiting for the ambulance on the side of the road make a big fat fuss and everybody went home. because when we came out of the school 15 minutes later, it was empty and we could walk to the ambulance.
into the ambulance. all i could think was GO GO GO GO.
he was on medicins and felt strange. he was high.
into the first hospital (Rijnland Ziekenhuis, Leiderdorp). and this was the biggest hell for him. my phone died, so no pics of that, but he was in excruciating pain. sisters came in to give him painkillers in pills. he couldn't swallow them. he had a freaking IV in his hand. how easy do you want it to be? the paramedics warned me for this. i didn't have a clue...
pictures were taken and it was clear, severly broken, he needed surgery. but it was complex and they didn't want to do it there. so we needed to go to the Juliana Childrens Hospital in the Hague, another 45 minutes drive. and so the waiting in horror begin. he had so much pain, and he started to shake which made it even worse. i was pushing that nurse bell constantly. they said: 'he couldn't take the pills himself, so i can't help him". seriously? are you a nurse? or a sadist? i kept asking for medicins for him. and with every hour i saw more horror in his face than you can imagine. another nurse gave him custard with the pills and they went down. but clearly not enough in a million years to ease the pains.
this was around 4.15 pm. around 8.15 pm, a big fat 4 hours later, the second ambulance came in. the paramedics immediately gave him some sort of strong opiate into his IV, he was moved to another brancard, and there we go again. in the meantime, Arjan was making sure Sanne could stay with friends and could sleep there, because we were not coming home anytime soon...
the drive in the second ambulance was another obstacle. it was driven by a temporary 'staff' and he couldn't find the hospital. seriously???? he took a wrong turn, and we had a bumpy road. sure. why not. Ruben was feeling great already. we have time. NOT! so the nurse in the ambulance freaked out to the driver, he made some turns, and we were on our way to the right hospital. o my freaking gosh. what kind of bad movie were we in?
we arrived around 10 pm in the second hospital and the surgeon was being called in. they immediately told us his leg needed to be in 'traction' (not sure if this is the right translation, but it meant they needed to pull it straight again (it was bend badly), there needs to be weight on his feet to hold it that way). ugh. sigh. okay. here we go. so while 5 nurses and 3 doctors were working on his leg, Arjan & i were trying to comfort him. they gave him extra medicins and he was such a brave boy. what helped was counting out loud. i was just counting. my face was really close to his face (i hung above him actually), and i just kept looking intense into his eyes, and kept counting). over and over and over again. and he really got into some kind of trance, and kept looking at my lips and my words. the nurses and doctors were stunned by how it worked. they needed to remind themselves the next time they told me. it will not work for every kid, but Ruben has a way with numbers. he loves them.
we were taken to a room where everybody was asleep. we hadn't had anything to eat or drink since 12 noon. it was 11 pm. he fell asleep, i got some kind of 'stretcher' bed to lie on and i just sat there and watched him breathe. there was no sleep. i just watched over him like a lioness.
February 28. he had surgery at 10.30 am and woke up some kind of relaxed. we were so relieved. little did i know he would be in extreme pain in a few hours.
around 8 pm, he started to shake again and had muscle twitching. he was in so much pain, i called the nurse again. she said he had lots of painkillers and he couldn't get anymore. i told her this wasn't right and she needed to ask a doctor. or the anesthetist. she called her, and came back to me. i was right. he was allowed to have extra painkillers. he started screaming with pains, so we were taken to another single room so the other kids could get some sleep too. they put him on a monitor and he got strong medicins, another opiate. it wasn't untill 6 am in the morning till he fell asleep. so that was the second night for me in horror watching my baby in pains and no sleep for me.
at 8 am the surgeon came in, asked me if he was quiet now and he told me they would leave us alone for today. they wanted him to sit up on the edge of his bed. i think they are nuts. they left us alone and we both "slept" an hour or 2...
completely exhausted we were moved to the first room again and he was so exhausted i let him sleep for awhile.
but he needed to get his x-rays taken and Anne, the pedagogical care employee, needed to wake him up to prepare him for that. since he was starting to freak out about everything that needed to be done, she wanted to take time for him. in this case, not a smart move. waking up an extremely exhausted boy, he was furious.
these woman at the x-rays were Queens of loveliness. Anne tried to distract him with blowing bubbles, the woman from the x-rays squeezed themselves in strange positions to get the x-rays without hurting them. and since i've seen 3 different rooms with different personel, i know now it can be done. you don't have to hurt a child takin x-rays. these woman have proven it.
after we were back, Sascha came in. she's a fysiotherapist and deserves the gold medal. she worked with him, really LISTENED to him and did what she promised him. there's such a big difference in telling a child what you are about to do, and what nurses are actually doing. BE HONEST. be fair. do what you say. he was loosing faith in a few nurses who were just there to proof me they knew best. sure you do, i'm confident. but i know MY BOY BEST. and he needs clearness. and honesty. and patience. that's all. if not, he turns into a squaring mad man. and you better take cover.
Sascha learned him how to keep moving his feet. Ruben came up with silly cheeky songs (wonder where he get's that from?) to do his 'exercise'.
when Arjan and Sanne got there (after Sanne's school ended at 3.15 they had to drive 45 minutes, so around 4/5 pm they were there every day), i got the chance to breathe in some fresh air AND to get myself some food!! because parents get breakfast, but lunch & dinner is on your own. there's no shop in the hospital, so you are totally dependent on dad staying with him, or friends bringing me food. when i was in the grocery store closeby this boooooz was very tempting!
his besties coming over that night was the best for him! he smiled, he laughed, he felt like Ruben again!
my besties (their moms) were there too, and i felt strong as i've never felt before. they pulled me through this. when i was texting them late at night, they always responded to me, trying to lift my spirit, saying just the right words at the right time, understanding me. they are such a precious gift in my life.
he got a crazy amount of mail, drawings and lovely cards. so much i couldn't even get them all up (they are in our living room now, making it all festive :). thanks everybody for thinking of us, we really really appreciated it! nothing better than a child with a big fat grin due to the mail every day :)
than the 2 fysiotherapist Marleen (and Sascha) came over again. he really needed to get out of bed and sit on the edge. they played with balloons with him. he managed it with screams & tears. but he did it. as you can see, he didn't have any plaster. there were steel pins in his upperleg that needed to keep his leg / bone together. the bandage is for the wounds. they 'came in' on both sides of his knee. i felt so strange seeing this. it felt so 'unprotected'. and as it turns out afterwards, it was...
completely exhausted afterwards. i tried to let him sleep again. luckely we got some sweet nurses too who said it was just as important for him to get sleep & rest, as exercising was. they too deserve the gold medal for thinking WITH me.
this is part one. i will try to update part two in this week too. please have patience with me.
life is good. Ruben is getting there.