As I mentioned a few blogs back, my eight-month-old son, Ryan, suffered a spiral fracture of the left femur around the beginning of November. Because of this injury, he was originally sentenced to four to six weeks of confinement in a body cast that began just below his chest and ended at both ankles. Because of his medical condition, lack of mobility, and constant confusion at being unable to move his lower half, I decided to take a long stretch of family medical leave, stay home with him, and make sure his recovery went as smoothly as could be expected given the circumstances. My wife, Joyce, and I knew it would be a hard and rocky road, both for Ryan and the entire family.
Luckily, the road turned out to be less rocky and lengthy than was first forecasted. On a routine follow-up visit at Ryan's orthopedic doctor the day before Thanksgiving, the x-ray taken of his femur looked so incredibly wonderful that everything was taken off of him and he rode home (a good fifty miles from Nashville to Brush Creek) in non-confining comfort... a free man.
The doctors are utterly amazed at how swiftly the fracture healed... so much so that we've nicknamed him "Little Wolverine". I must say, Ryan's new attitude following the absence of his restraint is equally amazing. He is much happier now and seems more friendly and outgoing. Before the accident, he was very suspicious of adults, even of relatives such as his grandparents, and overly clingy toward his Mama and Daddy. But he seems much more willing to put his trust in others now. In that respect, I believe this adverse experience has helped him quite a bit. Physically, he is beginning to use his left leg and is pretty much learning to crawl all over again. The various Christmas trees we've decorated around the house, as well as the brightly-wrapped gifts underneath, have served as a great motivator at getting him moving again. I expect him to climb to the top of the living room tree and give the angel on top a big sloppy kiss before Christmas Eve rolls around.
This past Thanksgiving, we had much to be thankful for and many people to thank personally. I'd like to thank several here publicly. First, Dr. Jordan, the pediatrician who first examined Ryan, as well as the emergency room staff at Vanderbilt Children's Hospital in Nashville, who did all in their power, through expertise and compassion, to make that long Friday night/Saturday morning hospital stay as painless and bearable as possible. Thanks to Dr. Greene and his orthopedic office staff for being friends as well as doctors, nurses, and x-ray technicians (and for getting us in and out of the office as swiftly as possible). A big thanks to the Smith County Sheriff's Department and Ashley at Tennesse DHS for their investigation into this incident (perhaps some day we will learn the real truth concerning November 6th). And an extra big thanks to MetoKote (my workplace) for their patience and compassion, friends and family, and my church family at New Middleton Baptist Church. During that long month when we only had one income coming in, you made all the difference in the world. The entire Kelly family is extremely grateful for each and every act of kindness that was bestowed upon us.
Now here it is Wednesday afternoon and I can't help but feel a little sad. Next Monday, Ryan is off to a new daycare provider and I return to work (Gloom, despair, and agony on me!) It is sad that my "bonus time" with my new son is coming to an end, but we did some solid bonding during that four-week period. What was once a dyed-in-the-wool Mama's boy is now somewhere inbetween. His cheerful cries of "Da-Da-Da-Da!" can be heard ringing through the house. And I can't help but beam a big, sappy smile because of it.