Tuesday, August 7, 2007

Empty Nest + One

A few more days and my eldest will be heading off to college. Time has flown by so fast. I remember when he was 9 years old like yesterday and my husband and I commented that this was the halfway point, my son would be leaving in another 9 years. Now that moment has arrived. I really haven't had much time to fathom what it would be like not having him at home. Just lately he has been really sweet, doing all his chores without complaint and cleaning up the dishes without being told. He has been making an extra effort to be nice to us and I have appreciated it since we have been preoccupied with my younger son's health problems.

We almost lost my son his junior year. A very good football player on an equally good team, he was playing in the state quarterfinals against a brutally physical opponent. He was a receiver and was going up for the ball when he got hit by another player and that player came down on him. # 20 outweighed my son by 80 lbs and when it was over, I knew he was hurt. But he didn't come out of the game, he continued to play for 7 or 8 more plays. Then the coaches removed him because he wasn't able to keep up with his man.

Afterwards, I wanted to go to the hospital, my husband and son wanted to go home. I pretty much had to throw a tantrum and said we were going to the hospital and that's it! When we got to the ER, my son almost blacked out. I had to insist that the nurse look at him right away. I had an inkling that it might be his spleen ... more on that later. Anyway, they found his BP to be dangerously low. He was wheeled into the back and a CT scan was performed. Next thing I knew, the surgeon was called in and my son had to go into surgery ASAP. He was bleeding internally and his spleen was shredded. So 10 minutes later, my oldest was undergoing major surgery to save his life.

He made it through very well and recovered in 6 weeks. He had to watch his team, from the side lines, play in the state championship game without him. The team came in second. Then came 5 or 6 months of intense fighting. My son wanted to play football again, I did not want him to. My husband had agreed with me but then went to the other side and backed my son. Our fights got so heated to the point where I felt we needed some counseling. No one would go except me.My son ,who was in the top 5% in his class, began to let his grades slide. I started to see his future with college go down the drain.

It was a very difficult time. The problem was compounded by the fact that this was the second injury due to football. He was also hospitalized his freshman year for a spleen injury. The doctors were able to save his spleen that time but it took 3 months for my son to recover. It was the same scenario where my son and husband would not go to the hospital after it happened. My son wanted to go watch film with the team. I was having a cow but no one would listen. When they finally went to the hospital, several hours later, my son had been bleeding internally the whole time.

To make a long story short, after a lot of soul searching on my part, my son did play football again. The coach got him heavy duty protective gear that only hockey players wear. My son who was playing offense and defense before , was limited to playing cornerback. He ended up having a very successful senior year, his team came in 3rd in state, he won a lot of football honors and he graduated in the top 10% of his class. I knew that if I didn't let him play, there was going to be a rift between us that I was not sure could ever be healed. It was one of the hardest decisions I ever had to make (my husband deferred it all to me and refused to be the bad guy ). I still carry anger about that but I am just grateful to have my son healthy, happy and alive.


BetteJo said...

Sigh-h-h, and now he's going off to college. My daughter did that last year, college, not spleen injuries, and my biggest thrill was when she would come home I could see how responsible and grown up she was becoming! On the other hand I would still get emails saying "Mo-o-o-o-ooooom! Why haven't you called me???"

They grow up, but they stay attached. Well, girls do anyway. :)

It's one of those big stepping stones - the big leap out of the house.

It's what we do it all for - to send them out into the world prepared properly and knowing how to wash their own underwear!

I understand some parents actually go into a period compared to mourning when their kid goes to college. My daughter is wonderful but she's a slob - so I picked that part of it to enjoy. There's always something. :)

palette48 said...

bette jo,

Yes, I am hoping this experience will help him grow up in a lot of ways. I am very excited for him as I remember my college days and even though it was hard at times, it was one of the best experiences of my life. Taught me a lot. So yes, I am anxious for him to begin his new life.

BetteJo said...

Here is something I just found - it's a big hit here at work!