Thursday, 8 September 2016

Broken Bone, mending minds

My daughter, (above), was happily bouncing on a trampoline a couple of weeks ago, when she landed awkwardly after landing a little half-bounce...not even a big jump; no fall onto the ground - just a little jump. She heard a loud "click" and then had lots of pain. I didn't know about the big click she heard until she mentioned it in the emergency department, but until then, I had assumed it was a soft tissue injury, as I couldn't see any obvious signs of a broken limb, and the swelling went down with some ice packs, rest and pain relief. She even managed to hobble a bit.
This has been haunting me ever since. I had assumed that it was a soft tissue injury and as I know my daughter very well, I also assumed that as she has a low pain threshold, that she was feeling panicky about being in pain. So although I was sympathetic to her pain and helped her, I also asked her to try to relax and enjoy the rest of the day, as we were at a party.
 As the hours passed, she settled down but then awoke in more pain, so I did take her to the emergency department where her leg was x-rayed, and yup...there it was, plain as day: a nasty fracture. For my daughter, the moment where the surprised staff told us the findings - surprised, as they initially thought the same as I did - validated everything she had already feared and all that I had not been prepared to consider. It hurt her that I hadn't believed her.
So the last week or so has been spent getting to grips with what's happened, what is going on, and wondering about the future. We have all cried, laughed, hugged and supported each other to accept what is going on. We have no idea how the leg will heal, as it is a nasty break, so we are preparing to consider how things might look for my daughter in the future. It feels like grief in a way. We are facing a different view to the one we were looking at before the accident, but we are also living a different life now, too. A wheelchair is her best friend. She has started at secondary school, coming in on day one with a bright blue plaster, in a wheelchair, on crutches and having to learn about a new building, new classrooms, new teachers, students, friends, rules, and all the while in a vulnerable position, sat down in her chair with her leg stuck out in front of her! The school have been fantastic at supporting her, and her friends have been keen to help her get to classes and at break times.
I am so proud of her achievements, because of the extra pressure she has been faced with. She has dealt with it so well. She has been strong and determined. I have been doing lots of mindful work with her, as well as with myself. In the end, what it comes down to is this: learning to adapt to a new situation brings positives out of negatives. The pain, the frustration, the inconvenience, the fear over what might be. My guilt, my willing her to get better and to mend fast, my love for her which dissolves any fear for her. My sadness for her, which comes in waves, and which I allow to come up, feel it completely, then let it go, is healing in some ways. Her anger, her cries of "it's not fair" when she can't pick something up from the floor, or get through a door, or when her leg is hurting, or when she wants to just get up and run around with her friends, she sees as a motivation for getting better, rather than to pity herself. She has a strong, bright spirit that is teaching her resilience, patience, determination, and strength. My mindfulness work with her is helping her to tap into these positive qualities, those of which she did not know were there and are so strong, and which are helping her to cope with these big changes at the moment; and she is able to talk about her frustrations, fears, worries and the negatives, which we are paying attention to but are not allowing to consume her. We are looking forward to drawing inspiration from watching the paralympics, too. For me, I am learning resilience, determination, patience and that my love for her goes far deeper than I ever knew. I am learning from her that the more she is held back, the further she will fly when she is free to leap...just as long as it's not on a trampoline...

Nikki is a Connected Kids™ tutor and apprentice trainer. Contact Nikki at