Noah had been gone all day. He ran in a track meet some distance away with the high school team. He only had to do a relay but he ran his part very fast - which is amazing because he's a distance runner. Anyway, after being on the bus for three hours round trip, and spending the rest of the day with the team at the meet, he arrived home safe and sound and happy to have done well at the meet.
The teens were supposed to go to a movie at the rectory that night with the youth group, so I checked my phone to make sure I had the time right. I was surprised to see a text telling me that they were to be there at 6 instead of 7, so I quickly told the kids to hurry up and then Noah drove everyone over to church.
About 15 minutes later I got a call from one of my mom friends. She told me that she thought Noah had just dislocated his shoulder! "How could that be?" I wondered. He had just spent the entire day running outside at high speeds, and now he was at a pizza and movie party? How could he possibly have hurt himself there?
Mr. Pete and I got in the van and drove over to church and found Noah sitting down holding his arm funny, surrounded by a group of girls and some sheepish looking boys. It turns out that dinner was indeed supposed to be at 7. The text saying 6 was wrong, and once the kids figured that out, they went to the nearby park to wait it out. Noah was talking to a group of girls when two of the younger teen boys started whacking him on the leg with sticks to annoy him.
They achieved their goal. Noah turned to run at the one boy who quickly backed down, but the other boy continued to taunt him, so Noah ran after him. Unfortunately, instead of running away, the boy suddenly stopped and crouched down and Noah tripped and landed on his left shoulder, snapping his clavicle in two.
In that instant, life changed.
- Noah's chance to earn a letter in track this year is gone. He won't be allowed to run again until track season is over and summer running club starts again.
- His piano recital is in jeopardy because he could only play with the right hand this week and I have no idea if he will be able to use his left hand soon or not.
- He will not be able to earn any money as a soccer ref, because he can't risk being on the field with an injured shoulder.
I have felt such overwhelming grief about this since it happened, because he has worked so long and hard at his running and piano, and even with bell choir rehearsals! Since he is a junior this year, he only has one more chance to try to letter in track, and in the meantime he will have to try to build up his endurance from the few weeks he will have to take off trying to heal.
But the other grief is the money this will cost us. We have a $5000/person/year deductible on our health insurance - a plan that costs Mr. Pete's business $2000 a month for two families. This is money I could have used on the house we just bought to fix up, or towards college tuition, or any other of a zillion uses, but because of the immaturity of two kids, I get to suck it up and spend it on fixing a clavicle that was perfectly fine just a few days ago. To put it in terms of work, I still work part time out of the house - this is half of what I make doing that. Half of the year, I will be working just to pay for a few minutes of horseplay.
I was a ball of emotions - feeling very sorry for Noah who was in physical and emotional pain, and feeling grief for the practices he will miss and the people on the team we won't see, and the pictures I won't be able to take, and the music he can't make. And also grieving for the money that was spent to help him in all of those endeavors that was just wasted and gone.
On Monday I attempted to get an appointment with the orthopedic surgeon the emergency room referred me to - that doctor did not have an appointment until June. When I asked if I could get in with someone else sooner, the secretary told me that the doctors usually wanted to wait to check on healing after 10 to 14 days. I told her the fracture was displaced and that he was an athlete, and that he needed to get ready for his senior year. None of that swayed the girl on the other end of the phone, who thought I was an idiot for insisting on a sooner appointment, but gave me one begrudgingly.
But I did my own research and even asked my niece the med student if she thought I should push things along. So I did.
I had a brain storm and contacted Noah's regular sports medicine doctor's office. He was able to put me in touch with his regular ortho guy, who is also a runner. Bottom line, I got Noah in to see him and he had surgery today. The surgeon said I made the right call too, because the pointy part of one bone had pierced the fascia and it never would have healed correctly.
Since Saturday, I've been angry, numb, sad but also determined to make this right as quickly as possible. The boy that caused this gave a sincere apology to Noah at youth group, and just hearing about his remorse softened my heart towards him.
My sister reminded me that I probably never heard from his parents because they probably don't know about it, and for now I'm happy to just let it go. I've been the mother of a kid who does the provoking - I know what that feels like too.
Noah is resting comfortably and hasn't even taken any of his pain pills. He'll have a nice surgical scar and a strengthened clavicle. This entire time he has been quoting from the Six Million Dollar Man, "We can rebuild him, we have the technology. We can make him better than he was before, better, stronger, faster..."
So life goes on. Noah will need about a week to recover. The surgeon thinks he can start piano as soon as he feels well enough, and he hopes to play bells again on Saturday. Running can start after the surgeon sees him again, although he will probably have to start on a stationery bike first.
And my big lesson this week has been understanding once again that I am not in control, and to be Christ like means putting the anger aside, forgive and empathize.
I see confession in my future on Saturday again though.