Tuesdays are usually our date nights and on 2 March 2021 we sat in the office at around 5.30pm trying to decide what we would be doing that evening.
Do we tackle this deadline that’s looming?
Do we go home, sneak into the house and lock ourselves in our bedroom with a bottle of wine?
Should we go to our favourite restaurant?
We seemed unrushed but restless.
Hubby’s phone rang with a phone call from our domestic, Marori.
Silence. His face goes cold. Eyes go wide. He scrambles for the car keys.
“What? What’s happening?” I almost scream.
“Ojwang Aunty?” He speaks into the phone trying to mask fear and panic.
“What happened?” I ask again… I can now hear not only Aunty’s panicked voice and the other two, Mikaili and Malik screaming in the back.
“Morgan is hurt. Aunty says It’s bad,” Hubby says as he scrambles unable to decide whether to pack his belongings and run… a lot is playing in his head and mine at this point.
A parent’s worst nightmare hit us. It feels like the moments you always think of and fear when someone calls you from home and you hear panic in their voice, but immediate calm comes over you when it’s just about bread that ran out.
“Just run to the house, I’ll lock up.”
Hubby ran out, practically sprinting. He arrived home which is about 600meters away from the office in no time to his worst fears being realized.
In my husband’s words “on the long but very short drive to the house, I had to choose between being a dad or switch to emergency service mode. I had to be a paramedic in that moment because there was so much going on. Mikaili is screaming ‘I don’t want Morgan to die’ and Malik is crying about Morgan bleeding. It was all a mess and there was so much blood.”
Hubby scooped up Morgan and put him into the backseat of the car and proceeded to the hospital.
Back at the office, as soon as hubby had dashed out some kind of grief overcame me. I collapsed into my chair in the boardroom and pleaded with God and our ancestors. I pleaded with the ancestors to talk to God for Morgan. I had no idea what the magnitude of it all is, but I understood that all things are purposed. I immediately spoke to God and said, “I know that this child has so much purpose so if this is a lesson for myself or Neo, help us see it. But please not my child.”
I picked up the phone to call Hubby who should be at the house by now, he was already in the car on the way to the hospital.
“Love, it’s bad!” Was all he could say.
“Bad where? How?” I needed to know what we were dealing with.
“His leg love…” At this point he seems distracted… “…Morgan stay awake… Morgan can you hear me…”
My heart sank. I locked up the office, booked an Uber and on my walk to meet my Uber I was praying. I was a mess.
I was pretty much prepared for anything at this stage.
I’m thinking everything…
‘Okay so it’s the leg… is it crush? Is it broken? Also… my husband is a hypochondriac so when he says ‘bad’ maybe he’s being dramatic. He’s also trying to keep him awake… is he in that much pain? Is he losing blood?’
Many scenarios played in my head and I was ready for anything on arrival at the hospital.
As I stepped into the emergency at Waterfall hospital, I was scared but also ready. I greeted the familiar faces of the administrators, the nurse at triage and mentioned my son’s name and that he was already inside. They mentioned that due to COVID19 regulations, only one parent was allowed in at one go, I mentioned that I just want to see if he’s fine then I’ll come back out. They let me in.
I walked in the front door after COVID protocols were all done and into emergency operating room. He was dripped and drugged. The doctor asked me what happened, and I felt like such a useless mother with the response of “I don’t know.” Hubby didn’t know either, but my child’s leg had a 23 cm sever that cut through to the bone. Main nerves and veins were affected and he needed surgery pronto. He had also lost a lot of blood.
Morgan was unwilling to speak. Trauma. We understood.
But he was adamant that he didn’t want his mommy to leave his side.
I knew then that what was to come would be a long road. We rushed back home to collect some clothes and toiletries for a minimum 3-day stay.
On return, I did a COVID test and we were ushered into the holding ward as we awaited our COVID19 results. For night one, he would be morphine up and bandaged.
The next few days would play out like a miracle.
Hubby was a mess.
He returned home to a quieter house, our eldest and youngest sleeping. Marori sobbing from the shock and trauma. He says he couldn’t unhear the kids’ screams. His own childhood trauma kicked in and the trauma of losing loved ones. They played out in him watching himself through the eyes of our children.
Man, do we actually ever really fully heal, or do we need some traumas to actually make us see the traumas we haven’t dealt with?
We were told Morgan would most likely go into surgery at around 9am in the morning, so no food past 10pm. This would also depend on the arrival of our COVID19 test results.
The surgeon arrived at around 7am in the morning.
Surprisingly, I managed to get a bit of sleep that night on the hospital bedside. She scheduled him for surgery at 3pm and gave him the go ahead to have some breakfast but no eating after 10am.
Our COVID results returned negative and we were wheeled into the paediatric ward to settle into our temporary space as we awaited surgery and the outcome.
I felt positive about the injury and so was the surgeon. I was a little in denial, I think, of the extent of the injury. To this day, I do not want to see the images. And I think it is a big contributor to keeping Morgan positive and on the mend.
When he woke up that morning, Mikaili stumbled into our main bedroom in a defeated sadness. To find only his dad there.
“Dada, Morgan is dead right?”
“Morgan’s going to be fine my boy.” Hubby responded
“Dada you don’t have to lie to me. Morgan is dead.” He said in tears.
They had to ring us via Facetime that afternoon for him to believe Morgan was okay.
As he saw Morgan’s face on the other side of the phone he exclaimed:
“Morgan. Oh my gosh! You’re alive! It’s you! Morgan, how does it feel to have died and to be alive?”
The room of 2 other moms and myself in the paediatric ward burst into a loud laughter.
But there was a lesson here. I won’t delve into it now. But children are special, man!
We arrived at the paediatric ward and I gave Morgan lunch at around 11am… He had had about two bites of pizza and an apple juice when a nurse walked in and asked “Hayibo, is this guy not going to surgery at 3?”
I was so disappointed with myself.
Surgery had to now be moved down along the day.
Morgan was eventually wheeled into surgery later that afternoon.
It was meant to be quick. About an hour the surgeon thought. It was 3 hours but felt like 5 hours.
The paediatric surgeon had opened the wound and realized that the extent of the injury would require an orthopaedic surgeon instead. By God’s grace, the orthopaedic surgeon available at the hospital at that time happened to have just wrapped up and was on his way out. He made an about turn and into the surgery room.
“He (the orthopaedic surgeon) did a marvellous job. That was quite the injury!” She said (the paediatric surgeon).
We were told that the surgeon did his best but there would be a 50/50 chance of Morgan walking and having full functioning of his leg. This would be a long journey.
“50% chance” … cool there’s a chance.
“There’s a severed vein. We repaired it but we need to see if blood can flow through it.”
“The muscles will need to repair, and we need to work them.”
I sobbed the entire first night after the surgery. I cried because I was still in denial. I clung to only the good. But then the numbers and the extent hit me like a ton of bricks.
When I was done crying, I put the “I’m gonna be the mom focused on the full recovery” mode on.
Because I did not have the initial injury in my mind, I pushed past what the negatives were. I saw each time a nurse would walk in and look at the file, they would feel pity and empathy. It would remind me “must have been bad”. But I told myself if I was to find out, I would want to baby him. He wouldn’t want to walk.
The trauma was still fresh in his mind to. He didn’t want to talk about it at all. He didn’t want to talk about the incident. In fact, he didn’t speak for 2 days straight after the incident either than to say “Mommy”.
On day 1 after surgery, we were choosing between crutches and walkers and navigating the new pain he’d be in. I was monitoring his pain threshold and how often the waves of pain came. I was gearing up for the road ahead.
“It could take anything between 9 months and a few years for him to have full functionality in that leg.” His voice drifted the more he spoke.
Hubby issued a message to the entire family notifying everyone of what happened. Prayers were streaming in and my mentor called and said the words that would change my entire life:
“You speak power to this. Whatever you believe will happen, will happen. You choose what words you will speak into this situation. Nothing is bigger than my God.”
The same God I pleaded with. The same God I asked my family and ancestors to plead for me to. Of course, nothing’s bigger than him.
I told my hubby “It is well”.
I asked Morgan “Do you want to walk now, or do you want to lie in bed for a while and have a long recovery?”
He responded with “Now Mommy”
“We are going to be positive and work on it. You have to be positive and push through.” I spoke.
The first few days of therapy were traumatic and emotional.
At home the journey was going to be long. But the psychological impact of an injury hits everyone differently. Everyone that was privy to the extent of the injury were so afraid of pushing him and basically were okay with him lying in bed, with no movement. But those were not the doctor’s orders.
I, being the only one who was not privy to the initial injury, followed doctor’s orders, but with a mom’s love. We had to work on the mind first and the healing of that in the journey.
We’ve had to look into therapy for everyone in the home and work on our healing. The entire family rallied around us during this ordeal. Morgan, who was not speaking from trauma, spoke and opened up sharing what happened with his cousin. I overheard this and assured him it wasn’t his fault.
They were playing in an area they shouldn’t have been in in the yard, he jumped from a platform and into a glass frame, inflicting a serious injury.
Mikaili was with him, and realizing something was wrong with Morgan, as well as the sight of blood, he rushed to call Aunty/MaRori who would carry Morgan into the house and keep the wound covered with towels until Hubby got there.
We can testify that 3 weeks later, Morgan – to the shock of doctors – is walking and 80% recovered. He is a living miracle. The extent of his injury dictates he should still be on crutches and in physiotherapy. We are now working on the muscles and the mind. There are moments I think he remembers the extent of his injury and the pain, and in those moments, he doesn’t want to do the work.
But that’s the journey, right? We have to remind him he’s got this.
I am grateful now more than ever for family and close friends. For those that saw me out and asked how I was and when I said I’m fine, asked again “How are YOU?” and teary eyed I said, “tired, but grateful”. I’m grateful for those that help space for my family especially my boys. There was a time I was so exhausted from the night terrors and the pain Morgan was going through. We had temporarily emptied my closet and moved a bed in there so we could attend to his needs. But it was so exhausting. I got tired of it and got tired from it. My husband helped us all together during this time.
Not many of us have the benefit of going through journeys and finding the lesson in a span of a few weeks. I do not take this for granted. But, I pray that you at the very least heal. That your traumas don’t catch up with you when you are not ready to meet them. I pray you have kindness around you and a balance between those that understand, empathise and are set on reminding you how bad ass you are. I also pray you will be ready to receive healing and goodness in the same way our beautiful children are.