Friday, July 2, 2010

The Unlovely Bones (or Dada Stick, Mama Sticks)

Soooooo yyyyeah. Here are two things about human bodies:
1. They are incredibly breakable.
2. Also, incredibly difficult to put back together.
(This highly enlightening biology moment brought to you by my 12th grade Paramed. Bio. teacher, who also happened to be incredibly racist....back me up on this, anyone reading this who went to Catonsville High School.)

But, leave it to my sister to attempt to do both of those things. (Have I mentioned in the past that my sister, if she does anything else in the world, makes things happen?) Its true. Kenley says/thinks/demands soemthing to be done, and by God---it WILL be done.

I was down in Florida recently to go to a Local Natives concert (oh. my. don't know who the Local Natives are??!!?? Only my most favoritist new band ever. Check them out. Immediately. You must.) The day I was supposed to leave to head back to good ole' Leland, NC my sister had a bad fall, and totally broke her kneecap. Like, in half. As one of the doctor's described it, "The pieces of your kneecap are currently in two different zipcodes." Sick, dude.

(Due to a pending lawsuit, I will not go into the details here of how/where she fell. But it involves a certain company that deals with Pets. And Marts. And well, you get it.)

So Kenley went from being a totally mobile, healthy mother of two young children to suddenly being completely immobile from the legs down. Bound to a wheelchair. Two kids in diapers to take care of. Her company shutting down for good and losing her job in the next month. Oh yeah, and a husband who had just left for Naval deployment for the next six months. Life was about to get super ugly.

Here is a very, very, very brief synopsis of how the following weeks went:
- Kenley got crutches and a walker. (Harper started calling them "Mama Sticks". Also, she was freaked out by them tremendously. Anytime Kenley would start walking toward Harper, the metal poles clinking and scraping, Harper would get that "OMG, what is THAT!?" look on her face and come find another non-metal adult to hold her.) We found out in about one day that crutches and a walker were just not going to cut it for her to move around.
- Kenley finally gets a wheelchair. Harper LOVES this thing. She calls it Mama Choochoo, and asks for rides on it all the time.
- We meet with doctors. Then more doctors. Then lawyers. And other lawyers. And pick up prescriptions. And meeting with more doctors. And get more prescriptions.
- Harper is missing daddy, and asking where he is. We cut Dave's head out of a picture we had, and glue it on a  popsickle stick. That way, Daddy can kiss Harper whenever she wants him to. She calls this "Dada Stick".
- Kenley FINALLY gets a prescription for a lightweight wheelchair. (Although I've gotta tell ya', as the person who was schlepping the chair in and out of the back of a Jeep in the hot summer sun in did NOT feel that lightweight to me.)
- Dave FINALLY gets approval to come back home from deployment, since Aunt Andy's job is about to explode without her there, and since Kenley simply can't be left alone. It took a lot of work getting him home, let me tell you, but we were SO thankful once we got the final word that he was on his way back to the good old U.S. of A.
- Dave and Kenley are back together again, reunited and it feels so painful, sore, and stressed.
- Kenley had surgery, started physical therapy, interviewed and was hired for a new job. Dave played Mr. Mom.


Now Dave has to head back to his ship. Ugh!

So M.G. (that's what Harper calls my mom, her grandma) is down in FL for the next 11 days to take over the Florence Nightingale responsibilities. Then I'm heading back down there for another week. Then we'll see where we are after that. But I'll probably be back down again for another shift before the summer is up.

Things have been stressed for them, to say the least. Two kids in diapers. A wife in a wheelchair. A new job. A husband on deployment. Medical bills. Lawuits. Surgeries. Physical therapy. It has been totally nuts for them.

So I'd like to take this opportunity to give some virtual Fist Bumps and Shout Outs to some very awesome people:
*Noreen Penson: The kids' daycare provider, who totally bailed us out of some very difficult situations. You are so amazing with the kids. Thank you, thank you, thank you.

*Amy Clay and Judy Andrews: Kenley and Dave's neighbors...a.k.a. Saints! You guys really stepped in with the meals and helping with the kids and getting us everything we needed. You guys are ah-maze-ing.

*Sam DeRasmi, Beth Tarnowski, Kristin Smith, Nicole ______, Amy Williams, Amber McGunigale, and anyone else who brought dinner, did housework, or watched the kids for Kenley and Dave. Wow, you guys rock. Thank you so much!

*A super special shout out to Jenn (and Keith) Evola and Theresa Patch, who are Kenley's friends who I got to meet while I was down there. You guys really went waaaay above and beyond anything I could have ever asked for. You are true friends to my sister, and great caretakers of her family. Which, in my book, makes you guys family. I felt so blessed to know you guys were there to handle anything and everything they needed. Thank you, thank you, thank you!

*Thanks to an awesome website, called Care Calendar. I gotta tell you people...I don't know how we would have coordinated all the meals, housework, childcare, etc. that we needed without a system like this. It is run by the Bortel Family, and it is totally free (although donations are gladly accepted for using their system.) It was a lifesaver for someone like me, who demands things be organized.

*Thanks to my brother Matt for helping me out while I was taking care of Kenley. The extra pair of hands we SO helpful!

*And of course, thank you to my brother-in-law Dave, who has had to take over a lot of responsibilities this past month. Thank you for your patience and willingness to go the extra mile. And thank you for loving my sister the way you do. I couldn't have asked for a better brother-in-law.

Pretty, huh?

1 comment:

  1. Dang, that's intense! I applaud your sister and her family for trooping through what must be a super-stressful time. And you, for being an awesome aunt!

    By the way, I *know* the Local Natives. My husband promoted them on his music blog when they were still relatively unknown, and then we had drinks with them when they played House of Blues in San Diego! They are super cool.