When people talk about the ‘pain of motherhood’, most people are talking about child birth or emotional angst. Today I’d like to enlighten you on another category with which I am becoming intimately acquainted. These pains come from injuries sustained during ‘good mothering’, like protecting a child from certain doom- or dropped sippy cups. At the moment I am elevating and nursing such an injury.
I did not save my child from kidnappers, certain infection of MERSA, or OU recruiters. Instead I fell victim to the most underestimated force of nature; gravity. It gets us all in different ways, but no one escapes unscathed. I was particularly afraid that gravity would strike at the top landing of my in-laws’ stairs, so I was hyper-vigilant. As the youngest born of 10 grandchildren, my son is the only who had not mastered stair descent. (Thanks to lessons from cousins, that was accomplished in less than 48 hours.) A gate presented more danger to the others than safety to mine, so I assumed the role of Mommy-gate…until 11 on Thursday when nature and duty called at the same time. I carried my son to the upstairs bathroom with me, closed the door…and watched in horror as my son opened the closed door and bolted outward, toward the stairs.
Fear struck my heart that raised the terror alert to BRIGHT red- like realizing no wipes are in the bottom of the diaper bag. I lunged into a .10 meter dash out the door to rescue my son from the embodiment of evil known as gravity. When your firstborn 1 year old tumbles head-first down 20 stairs it HAS to be at a faster rate than 9.86 m/s. (Thanks, Mrs. Misage. It’s in there for good.)
My right foot lunged forward. My left foot lunged forward in the widest possible stride—unfortunately, that was not very far. I was immediately tackled by the jeans that were still down at my calves. Thus, my left foot went careening at full speed into the bathroom door frame. Three toes went to the open right side, while my two smaller toes dislocated and assumed a 45 and 90 degree angle to the left. To quote a popular Youtube video, I was injured- injured bad.
I fell out of the door, catching myself on the adjacent bookshelf and throwing myself forward to rescue my son, who I had scared to death with my pained, motherly Amazon war-cry. He was running as fast as he could down the hall, totally out of harm’s way. When he reached the bedroom at the end of the hall, he turned in horror to see what terrible, rabid animal was chasing him. That would be his red-faced, screaming, crying mother whose piggies were now purple sausages. At 15 months he mastered the “Oh, that is SO not my mom” look. I don’t blame him; I was hopping on one foot, trying to get my pants to their upright position,and gasping through pain. At under 30 I was the only adult in the house, pot-bellied-pregnant, in charge of a 15 month old, unable to walk, and at the top of stairs. I single footedly began the market for bedazzled life-alerts.
I managed to pull up my pants, relieved that no one was home to witness one of my least graceful moments. I turned my attention to my toes, grabbing them and assessing the damage, trying to determine the source of the blood and if the bones were indeed broken. I had no doubt that the foot could not be saved; it had to be amputated. After a few more screams and crunchy resetting of toes, my terrified son came to me; I carried him down the stairs on one foot so I could reach the phone and call for help. Once I knew help was on the way, I did what every pregnant, seriously injured mother does- cried hysterically. I eventually called my sister, who is an athletic trainer. I was in horrible shape; through my sobs I confirmed the severity of my status; pedicures were no longer possible. What a world, what a world!
Once he returned home, my father in law taped my foot in a criss-cross pattern so that I ‘looked like a ballerina’. How cute is that? Thankfully, my certain amputation was not necessary, my larger bones were not broken, and my blood loss was that of a slight knife slice. My dislocations are healing quite nicely, and no one will comment on foot swelling to a woman obviously in the second trimester. My happy dancing will have to be a tribute to Lisa Turtle’s “The Sprain” from Saved By The Bell for a while, but the happy dances will continue. As for my son…about an hour later I couldn’t see him from the sofa where I was elevating my foot. I discovered he was no longer playing with the Ninja Turtles behind me—he had silently climbed the entire flight of stairs and was now smiling at me through the bars of the second floor landing. Ah, heart failure…just another pain of motherhood.