Soccer for two, not four. (Part 2)

Yesterday I shared the first part of this story. And it continues…

I shared this screenshot of the text that no mom ever wants to receive:


I went into mom-mode and got to the field around 8:30 PM without knowing how I got there. Lights from two MP cars were flashing as well as an ambulance and firetruck.

Here’s what I saw:

No mom wants to see these vehicles pulled up to the soccer field to pick up her son but, on the other hand, I’m so thankful that Carson got the best medical care possible.


Oh, and because of this the parent meeting was called off.

I was a little unsure of what to do. Carson was in pain and they were taking him by ambulance to Ogla Hospital. I was going to ride with him but they were going to have me ride in the cab so I wasn’t going to be with him anyway, and that would have left my car at the field and me with no way to get home. I decided to drive myself and I left before the ambulance.

I got there at the exact same time they did and even heard the ambulance sirens… not a sound you want to hear knowing your kid is their patient.

It’s been 8 days since this moment and I can close my eyes and I’m right back in it. My kid was in so much pain. The medicine they gave him was basically Motrin. There were a few lost-in-translation moments but the doctor was amazing and went to bat for Carson. They did a set of normal X-rays at 9:21 PM. You can still see his one cleat on. His injured foot had been properly braced on the field but unwrapped for the X-rays. They never got it comfortable again until after surgery. Every bump, turn, hurt… every time his muscles flexed, which was often as he was having spasms.


At one point a particular nurse forgot to put in the order for the second set of X-rays and when the doctor found out she lit into her. They battled it out right in front of me and the doctor won.

At point a very sweet nurse came on duty and if I were to have another daughter I’d consider naming her after this nurse. Ansania.  (Ahn-sahn-ya.) She was incredible: she had a caring spirit, was genuinely concerned about Carson’s comfort and knew I wanted to know what was going on. She was with us (in and out) for the duration of our time in the ER.

Ansania took us for that second set of X-rays (most painful thing… Carson had to sit upright, put his twisted foot into proper position and sit that way for 3 minutes). The first set of “regular” X-rays didn’t reveal the depth of the breaks… just the surface breaks. The second scans allowed the doctor to see just how deep the breaks went.


The look on his face says it all. Misery. Oh, and he only got to wear these pants once before they cut them off of him.  (In the midst of all this pain, the kid had the heart to apologize for the fact that we bought him new clothes and gear for the season and he isn’t getting to use them.)


It was after that set of scans (Pep Scan? – it wasn’t PET…) that Carson could have the good medicine. He had to be lucid and able to get into position for the scan.  That was the reason the doctor was so mad at the nurse for forgetting to put that order in… he was suffering for no good reason. Once he got that medicine he was a new man. I liken it to being in labor before and after an epidural. Pain? Yes… still a lot of pain. But he was able to relax; his shakes went away; his grimace went away completely.

Helpless does not begin to describe the way I was feeling during all of this. There was absolutely nothing I could do for him and I hated it.

Our great doctor came in a time or two and explained why they needed that second set of x-rays and when she said something about surgery it went over my head… It was as if somewhere in the back of my mind I was thinking, “There’s no way he’ll need surgery. This is just a broken bone. They’ll give him a boot or a cast and we’ll go home tonight, as  they did with Bailey’s bone.” (Bailey’s was, after all, our first “real” break requiring a cast or any type of real medical care.)

Little by little, over the course of the next hour, “surgery” kept coming in and out of conversation. Words like, “pins, plates, wires, screws” were used. I don’t recall the moment that it became real to me that Carson was actually going to need surgery and that those words were being used to describe what they were going to have to do to my son. I was nodding and saying, “okay,” because I was understanding what they were saying but I was not absorbing… not really.

AT 10:45 I texted Matt that Carson was being admitted for surgery and asked him to call Tricare.

Around 11:45 or so it was time for Carson to go to the operating room I asked for Ansania to go with us. I needed her there… I felt so much comfort from her. She said she would absolutely go with me but would need to get someone else to accompany us because she was just a nurse-in-training. I told her that she is going to make a fantastic nurse someday, that she really has the perfect personality to be a nurse.

They allowed me as far as the door of the operating room where I said good-bye* and then the nurses and I had to leave. In the elevator they told me to go back home and get some rest. Nope! I was not leaving that hospital!  I started leaking at the eyes while on the elevator and both nurses felt so sorry for me. They knew I had been keeping it together for Carson’s sake… (*By this time Carson’s good meds had kicked in and he doesn’t remember me saying goodbye.)

They don’t have a waiting area for the operating room, so they took me back to the ER’s waiting room. With every step I started crying harder and harder. I was vaguely aware that there was a man in the corner of the darkened room but that couldn’t stop my tears. I wept. Like, for real. The flood-gate of the past eight days burst: Bailey’s broken arm; Matt’s pinched sciatic nerve that was keeping him in severe pain (yet in spite of that he had to be a solo-parent at home while I was to be in the hospital with Carson); my PCS grief had really set in and I had come to the realization of what was going on with me just that morning, and now this… the first of my kids to go under general anesthesia, intubated…. It just came flooding out. I didn’t try to stop it.

As I got the bulk of my tears out the phone rang. It was my parents calling to pray for Carson and that was a call from God, to be sure. I needed their prayers and it was as if they were there with me. I know God ordained the exact timing of that call… it kept me from wallowing too long.

I glanced at the clock and saw that the time was 0000… exactly midnight:


They told me surgery could last anywhere from 2-4 hours… it lasted 1 hour 10 minutes. The surgeon came down to speak with me and told me that of all the possibilities they had mentioned, his turned out to need only four screws. That when they went to re-break (set) the bone, it went in place perfectly on the first attempt. {In fact, Tuesday, when Carson went back for a cast-change, the lady doing the cast told me she had been in the operating room with Carson and had put his original cast on. She remembered him and that his injury was a soccer accident. She even pulled up his original X-rays to show me that before they set the bone they were expecting to have to put screws in both bones but because it popped into place so perfectly, they decided not to put any in the smaller bone… that it would heal on its own!}

Four titanium screws in his tibia, no plates, no wires, and nothing in his fibula.

Carson still had to wake up before I was allowed to see him and when they finally came to get me, it was 1:54 am.


The hospital was full so they put him in a room with a 4-year-old girl on the cardiac ward.


We teased that his red toes made him look like the red Incredible Hulk.  They were swollen and red!


Matt brought Carson Popeye’s for lunch and I got to see my other kiddos for a few minutes. They moved him from the cardiac ward to the Orthopedics ward around lunchtime.



If you haven’t read “Sacred Spaces” by Corie Weathers, you should. It’s specifically military marriage related but its concepts reach into all aspects of life. Carson and I have a shared sacred space… the time spent together in the hospital. We were there almost exclusively alone from 9:00 Tuesday night until Friday lunch-time. We had a rhythm that worked for us and it is a time that no one else shares. Because of Corie’s book I recognize that time as a sacred space.

Part of our shared experiences include the food that he was offered and didn’t touch (but I enjoyed bits and pieces of. He’s my pickiest eater… (he doesn’t complain about food much, but isn’t very adventurous.)

One shared experience is of the bull-of-a-nurse who came in at night turning on lights, declaring how bad his English is, and rebuking us because the bed wasn’t adjusted properly… the day nurses set it that way but we were getting the rebuke!  He was the only person in the entire hospital who refused to even try to hear what we were saying… Only once did I ask Carson’s roommate to translate for us… usually we were able to get by with a mix of my bad German and the nurses (little-bit) of English. But I had had enough of this guy’s bullying and had the roommate tell him that we didn’t change the bed, the day nurse did! He was still a bull.

We’ve had broken bones before, but always in places that healed themselves. (Collar bones, toes, a foot bone in Parker’s foot that warranted a walking boot which he wore for precisely 24 hours.) Within an eight-day period we had two fairly serious broken bones requiring casts… one requiring major surgery. Both of those kids out of soccer for the season.

It’s been a crazy week but my heart is at peace. Matt did a great job as a solo-parent. The kids have all been incredibly patient and all have pitched in to help with Anna. We’re good. I’m still sad for the boys they can’t play soccer, but I am praying that Carson will regain the strength needed to play in an upcoming season (USYS, a different league we are looking into for H&C) as well as the willingness to get out there again. He’s, understandably, a little scared to even consider it right now.

Strangers in our community have loaned us a shower chair and a scooter, and Tricare is approving a wheelchair so we can continue with our travel plans. We’re heading to France with a local homeschool co-op to see Verdun and some nearby historical sites.  With these tools Carsons should be able to see most of what is on the itinerary.

A few more photos of our sacred space:

During the worst part of Carson’s recovery he was incredibly sore, his leg was both throbbing and experiencing sharp pain, he was hot, and couldn’t find a comfortable position. The first night (not the night of surgery, but the next night) was rough. We were up about every hour adjusting or trying to find something to make him more comfortable.  Note the ice packs on his skin to cool him down.


Coffee… because even if there isn’t a mug a coffee-girl will find a way.IMG_1462

And when that coffee-girl finds a mug she stashes it away for the duration of the hospital stay.


And I’ve been trained on how to give Carson shots at home every day for two weeks – to help him avoid blood clots. Pressure, much?


Ultimately, I know things could be so much worse. I didn’t want to tell Carson this the night of his injury, nor did I say it to him during his time in the hospital but it was always on my mind. I could see other patients who had much worse injuries. The little four-year-old girl in the cardiac ward broke my heart. At least my son’s problem was a broken bone that would heal, nothing as scary as a heart issue.

When we went in for Carson’s cast-change he mentioned this himself. He came to the conclusion on his own that his injury, though bad, was nothing to worry about when compared to what others are dealing with or even when compared to what could have been his own outcome.

I’m really thankful he came to that conclusion himself… it’s genuine that way.  And we have some sugar cookies that have been promised that we are all looking forward to from some new friends we’ve made here.  Spring break looks different than we thought it would but we are absolutely grateful for everything. For health, healing, strangers who loan us medical equipment, new friends who promise sugar cookies, old friends who are coming to Germany to visit, and for our Savior whose resurrection we celebrated at church as a whole family. That in itself was an answered prayer!

Version 2


About Jennifer

"Yes, they're all mine." The answer to the question I hear most often.
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5 Responses to Soccer for two, not four. (Part 2)

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