Dominic Update #5

We weren’t really sure what sort of recovery patient Dominic would be. Easier to predict what it would have been like if all this had happened to Ella: she would have tackled it with steely determination, pushing the envelope of her mobility, masking the pain, and showing no weakness whatsoever. But D is thoughtful, sensitive, empathetic, emotional. And, God bless him, he doesn’t handle pain particularly well.

So it has been especially inspiring to see him confront his situation with true grit. Every day wants to try something new, pushing me away so he can sit up by himself, then stand up by himself. His right leg is still very sensitive and basically deadweight, but he has become adept at propping it up with his left leg underneath and shuffling it to where it needs to go, an inch at a time.

Recovery is going very well, better than expected, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t things to worry about as a parent; they get pushed further back. At first, after the initial shock, we worried about head trauma, or spinal damage. When that cleared we worried about the surgery. Then it was how on earth we would get him home and what things would be like there. Now that we’re there and it all seems difficult but entirely manageable, the worry horizon extends past days to weeks and months — once he starts what will certainly be a long course of post-recovery physical therapy, will any other issues crop up? Subtle distortions of his bodily alignment caused by the impact, unnoticeable until he’s moving around again? Will he walk with a limp? These possibilities are outliers — in all likelihood he will have a total recovery — but that’s just the sort of thing that is perfect fodder for parent-worrying. The thing that’s not very likely but possible. Like getting hit by a car crossing the street.

Even though he hasn’t gone out much, the past couple days have been busy with a consistent stream of visitors. It’s especially touching to watch him and his school friends when they come over to see him. A few different boys have come by, but the steps are always the same:

  • A concerned 12-year-old shows up at the door.
  • As they are let inside, they are hesitant, not really sure what to expect, bracing themselves for they-don’t-know-what.
  • Then, when they see that Dominic looks pretty normal and is in good spirits, their relief is palpable.
  • There follows a period of trying-to-talk-about-what-happened, replete with awkward silences.
  • But then they both realize that they can just talk about the things they usually talk about, and the awkwardness evaporates.

In their visits and their texts and calls, it’s great to see kids whose usual discourse is a constant stream of fart jokes, Internet memes, and MCU conspiracy theories pivot instantly to touching concern and emotional support for a friend. Hope for the future!