Their Fracture Management vs Mine

Right after the fiber glass cast dries on top of the pillow, and right before scheduling a follow-up appointment - those are the seconds my own fracture management a.k.a 'healing time' begins in my mind. I'm sure biologically the bone cells are regenerating and all of that magical science-y stuff, but in my mind when all is stabilized and I am no longer sweating bullets, my mind and body can actually focus on getting better.

When I say that my mind is focused on getting better it probably sounds like a lot more work than it is in reality. In reality I try not to use the part of my body that has been immobilized, and even that effort doesn't take much conscious thought for me. The weight of the cast, the bulkiness of it, and its general unwieldy presence doesn't really lend itself to being too tremendously useful for me. It ends up getting in the way more often than not: that piece of cast that wraps around my thumb and four fingers prevents me from gripping that twist-open Snapple bottle cap, the straight long leg cast makes bending forward to pick something up like some acrobatic move, and a sling for that fractured collarbone makes zippering a jacket something that requires a sleight of hand like a magic trick. After the first few days I eventually learn to not have full-use or access to that part of my body for the next several weeks. In my mind that is my fracture management: leave it alone, keep it stabilized, don't get it wet, and let it do its thing.

But during the minutes between a dried cast and scheduling a follow-up appointment my parents begin their own fracture management. From what I've observed it starts with a very long and worried face, hand wringing, hovering over the cast like they're protecting a golden egg, and this constant attention around the immobilized limb as if it might speak up for its own needs at any moment. As evening set there was apparently some whisper of sweet nothings for more pillows that the cast demanded. When morning arrived there would have already been clothes laid out that could be easily put on. Then in the bathroom all toiletries and soaps were placed somewhere that required no effort to reach them. In the car I would sit in the seat where no one would have to come anywhere near me when they entered or exited. In a spica cast showers to wash my hair would be arranged with the shampoo that wouldn't sting my eyes. All of this -- and so much more -- were all things that went into Their fracture management. During the first few days all of this would be done with a look of distress, because maybe somehow the gap that existed between the cracked bone had sucked my parents' attention and care into that vacuum of space, and under extreme duress mom and dad were at the every beck and call of those invisibly and imperfectly formed collagen. But I have the liberty of just "letting it do its thing.."

Meanwhile I am usually just learning to adapt, carrying on about my regular day, and occasionally getting frustrated with not being able to tie my shoe laces or write as legibly because I have a cast on. Once I was upset that my left sneaker would look cleaner than my right because I couldn't be patient enough and wait five months to wear both, at the same time. If it seems like I've simplified things it's because I have. I've left out the nightly muscle spasms, the sticky churning sensations in my stomach from the pain medication, and the itchy spots way down at the bottom of my heel or in the crook of my elbow - the places where no amount of bending coat hangers or pipe cleaners could ever reach. But those are all things that happen without my control, things that I have no obligation to cease and desist. I could either learn to adapt or ignore it. Either way, I knew that my body and my bones would heal on their own time.
But for my parents they did have an obligation to me - and that was reflected in their fracture management. Their fracture management was carried out in a way where they couldn't just ignore me, or it, and everything that they saw happening before their eyes. They had to manage it because otherwise, what else would they have done? Sat there and watched? Sat there and twiddled their thumbs and said: oh well, I guess we'll just have to wait around until six weeks is up. Of course not! For them Their fracture management, while it may have at times been a little too suffocating and overly-intense for my patience, was how they dealt with OI (at least in part).

As I got older I learned to recognize what they were doing for what it was. And they learned that as I got older there were things that I would just need to learn to do on my own.

I think I've said it before in some post but I'll say it again: there are moments when the most effective medicine is time, and that's all we can give and all we can receive. It'll happen, all in time.

Posted in , , , . Bookmark the permalink. RSS feed for this post.

Leave a Reply

Copyright © 2011 Perfectly Imperfecta. Powered by Blogger.