I’ve waited over a week to write this update, to ensure the words would be issuing forth from a rational, rather than emotional, place.
As I’ve written, Abbie really enjoys school, and I felt her transition was going very well. The only glitch I sensed was that the staff was anxious to have me out of the classroom before they were prepared to safely handle Abbie. I worried that they did not yet know what they didn’t know. I have never hoped more strongly to be wrong.
Alas, I was not. During the first in-school therapy session that I did not attend, Abbie’s left femur was fractured, her left ACL was strained, as was the lumbar region of her back, as she was put into a twisting motion, while seated, that her body could not accommodate. A staff member indicated there had “been an incident” during therapy.
As I picked up Abbie to seat her in her wheelchair, she began to scream and cry. Blotchy face. Big fat tears. I had only seen Abbie like this once before, and I got the same sick feeling knowing that she had probably fractured one or both of her legs. I touched base with Ray and asked him to call ahead to the Kapiolani ER.
Lots of films and a few hours later we found that the injury was limited to her left side, and because the fracture was a spiral, it was more stable than a through-and-through. It is high up on her left leg, so the surgeon felt it was reasonable to give her a chance to heal without putting her in a dreaded spica cast. I am so grateful for that. We just have to be very aware of how we position and move her — so far, so good. We will have follow-up Xrays on Friday, and hope to see healing well underway. Because Abbie’s bones are so weakened, it does not take her long to get back to her baseline strength, which is a mixed blessing.
Because of the fracture she cannot bear weight for three weeks, so she will come out of this with even weaker bones as her bone density melts away. This is a definite concern as we plan her return to school.
Return to school??? Yes. Although many people we’ve talked to have advised to us to retain counsel, to consider legal action, or at the very least to throw a big huge fit, we don’t see any of those contributing to a positive long-term solution for Abbie.
So, we had a meeting at the school on Monday which Ray and I both felt was productive. This injury is a game-changer and although, as Ray put it, we have no desire to be permanent helicopter parents, they are going to have to get used to me being there until WE determine it is safe for Abbie. There is a deep cultural bias against this within the Department of Education, but we have the great fortune of working with an outstanding principal whom we trust. We have confidence that we will be able to work through this. We have to.
On the upside, Miss Abbie has not been idle during this unplanned vacation. We’ve used it to address more items in her IEP. We’ve not worked on money very much, so we introduced that today. In two hours she went from identifying coins to doing story problems like:
“If the ice cream cone cost 25 cents, and you have one dime, how much more money do you need?”
We tried to trick her with this one:
“If the comb costs 15 cents and you have three nickels, how much more money do you need?”
She correctly chose zero! No tricking her!!
In all things there is a silver lining. I think Abbie has, unfortunately through pain and suffering, proven to the school that I am not an irrational, overprotective mom, but rather an experienced, wise advocate for her. I pray her sacrifice will be honored as we move forward.
We read our Psalms out of Abbie’s “Discoverer’s Bible” today, which is written at about the third-grade reading level. The simplicity of the language often sharpens the message. It was fitting that today we relished once again, in a fresh flavor, Abbie’s touchstone verses:
Here is something I am still sure of.
I will see the LORD’s goodness
while I am still alive.
Wait for the LORD.
Be strong and don’t lose hope.
Wait for the LORD.