Strangest. Birthday. Ever.

Yesterday was my 58th birthday.  I don’t know how I got to be this old.  It just sort of happened.  One day you are 24 and then all of a sudden you are 58.  It’s weird to be pushing 60.  I don’t feel 58.  I don’t look 58 and besides, I have an 11 year old son.  Being born on the 3rd of July has always felt like I was short-changed.  When I was a child, we always celebrated it on July 4th.  My parents would try and appease me by saying that the entire country was celebrating my birthday.  I never bought that, not even when I was very young.  Why couldn’t I have a special day for myself?  I didn’t want to share it with the rest of the country.  But, I digress.

My poor son, a big risk taker all his life, finally damaged himself severely.  We had always marveled at how he managed to avoid hurting himself, but his luck finally ran out last week.  On the 2nd day of camp, yup, the 2nd day of camp, he was playing tag.  He was running hard and was about to run into a counselor.  To avoid doing that, he abruptly changed direction, heard something crack, and fell down in pain.  As it turned out, he had fractured his right kneecap.   We didn’t know how badly he was hurt for a day since he has always been a “drama queen” about injuries.  It’s always been hard to gauge what is going on with him.  By the next day when he still wasn’t bending his knee and was complaining about pain, it was time to call the doctor.  I spoke to the nurse and we made an appointment for the next morning.

We went from the doctor to the X-ray department at Children’s to the orthopedist to an MRI within 36 hours.  He might even need surgery.  He had a full hard leg cast put on and for a child with severe sensory issues, this was horrendous for him.   For anyone who has been in a cast, you know how much it itches.  Then you add 90+ degree temperatures, the weight of a cast and the itchiness and it became unbearable for him.

Monday’s follow up appointment after the MRI proved to be good news.  No surgery needed.  They took off the first cast and put on an even longer one which reached from his ankle up to the very top of his thigh.  E was very uncomfortable in this cast and used every bit of self-control, no easy task for him, not to have a tantrum.  He settled down, went to camp, went out to dinner with his father and me to celebrate my birthday and THEN ALL HELL BROKE LOOSE.  His cast started to itch and he went berserk.  He was trying to remove the cast, trying to pull it off, hitting it with hard objects, telling us he had to get it off.  He ended up locking himself in the bathroom, pouring water on the cast and ripping off the top 8 inches of it.  His father was able to calm him down and eventually he went to sleep.  We told him if he did this again, we would have to hospitalize him where they could restrain him until his cast came off. 

So, let’s recap.  It is the evening of Monday, July 2.  My birthday is Tuesday, July 3.  E has 2 field trips with camp, one on Tuesday, July 3 and Thursday, July 5.  Wednesday is July 4th.  He needs to have his cast replaced on Tuesday, July 3, the same day he has a field trip and the day before a major holiday.  This is not a good situation.

The morning of Tuesday, July 3 arrives.  Happy Birthday to me.  I have hardly slept, stressing over how all of this is going to get done.  I get up and get myself ready.  I start calling the orthopedist’s office, hoping that a tech can put on a new cast after his field trip.  I talk to a nurse who takes pity on me and reassures me that the cast tech, Fred, will wait for us.  He had planned to leave at noon, but is prepared to stay, but no later than 2:30pm. 

The camp field trip is to the Field Museum.  The bus is leaving to return to camp in W Rogers Park at 1:30pm.  Then we would have to drive to Lakeview where Fred was waiting for us, all by 2:30pm.  It may have been possible but it would have been cutting it very close.  So, I decided the best thing would be to drive to the Field Museum, arriving at 1:15pm, pick E up and then take him to Lakeview for his cast replacement.  Have you ever tried to pick someone up at the Field Museum on a weekday in the summer during camp?  It is an absolute nightmare.  If it weren’t for cellphones, we never would have found E.  Thankfully, there he was.  His counselor said “that was perfect timing”, no easy feat on my part to get there at exactly the right moment.   I’m the driver.  My dear husband does not drive.

Did I mention it was almost 100 degrees on Tuesday, July 3?  So, that’s how I spent my birthday.  Driving to and from the Field Museum with a stop in Lakeview to get E’s new cast and then back to W Rogers Park.  As it turned out, Fred, the tech, had a much different but much better technique than Angel who put on the first 2 casts.  E says this cast doesn’t itch nearly as much and doesn’t have sharp bits that hurt his skin.  So, it all turned out pretty well.  I didn’t have much of a birthday.  But, there’s always next year.

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