Now that we’ve come out of the day-to-day difficulties relating to that injury, I thought I’d recap some of the lessons and give an update on what has happened in the aftermath.
First, the medical bills are not as catastrophic as we thought they would be. They never reached the $20,000 mark, stopping just short of $15,000, although there is still one bill we think we’re supposed to get, but since no one is contacting us about it, forgive us if we don’t volunteer to go get it. We have some negotiating room left as well, and all our sources have indicated that the bargaining will go better if we have cash to pay off whatever the final figure is. More on that in a sec.
Second, Gabriel is fine. By “fine”, I mean that he shows no detectable physical effects from the injury. His skin healed very quickly and he is in no pain. He does have a hitch in his giddy-up, but you can’t tell that unless you are intently watching him and knew what he could do before. He jumps on the trampoline, runs about all over, generally behaves like you’d expect a 2-year-old to do. There will obviously be no lasting physical damage from the experience, and of course he can’t remember it. For this we are extremely grateful and conscious of the fact that we are blessed.
That said, there are a couple of non-physical remnants of the cast. Gabriel does not sleep through the night any more. One day we’re confident he will, but at this point, he still wakes up at least once every night. We disassembled his crib during the six weeks of the cast, because we couldn’t lift him into it without hurting him, so he sleeps in a bed now, which means he can get out of it at will. We find him standing next to our bed at many a 2am. Generally, he goes back down pretty easily, especially for Dad, but we dream of the day he won’t get up at all.
He drank a lot from a bottle when he was in the cast, because of the no spilling and ease of operation, and now he wants a bottle practically every minute of the day. We can deal, though it’s annoying. But the worst of it is that he was once potty-trained, and now he isn’t. At all. As in, he has no desire, at all, to use the toilet. No curiosity, no interest. Nothing. When he originally did the potty-training, he was very quick to get it, as he has a volume of examples in front of him to imitate and he is a social child. But now, nothing. We’re not forcing it – he’s not even three yet – but it does make us occasionally look wistfully back to early February when we didn’t use up five diapers a day.
In all, we gained significantly more than we lost from this, as I tried to indicate in this post. Our huge number of new and intensified friendships, all by itself, would have made the experience worthwhile, but we learned tremendously ourselves, and we’re still learning and growing and improving. It has made us more patient as parents, more unified as a family, more aware of others that have and will have similar and greater challenges to overcome.
And there’s one more thing I’d like to bring to your attention, though I feel a little funny doing it. As I mentioned many times along this journey, we don’t have medical insurance, and paying out $10-15,000 for doctor bills is a bit beyond our resources. Some good friends have stepped in and put together a fundraiser to see if we can eliminate the debt overhang from this. It’s on June 4 in Lehi at the Legacy Center (Main and Center), and goes all day. There will be a garage sale (for which we desperately need more items to sell, those of you that are spring cleaning and getting ready to de-clutter), a bake sale, a silent auction, whole rafts of things (tickets here). There’s a family dance, a pool party, and I’m not sure what all, but Jill Peterson can tell you if you email her at email@example.com. We will be absurdly grateful for anything you could do to assist. All proceeds go to defray medical expenses (and give us negotiating leverage), and if we raise more than we need, all of those additional proceeds will go into a permanent fund for assisting other families in similar difficulties. We’d like to make lasting good from what was a freaky bit of bad luck, and we hope very much that you’ll be willing to help us.