Yesterday our son Andrew participated in his fourth Surfer’s Healing event at Doheny State Beach. It was a gorgeous day, made only better by the beautiful sea of smiles from the kiddos riding the waves with the pro’s.
When we arrived and Andrew realized what day it was (SURFING DAY!!!), he was so excited! He flapped for a solid hour and a half while watching the other children ride the waves as he waited for his turn.
When Andrew’s turn came, he didn’t have to be told twice! He headed out to the water with his entourage, ready to get on that board and go!
My husband and I had debated whether to bring Andrew at all yesterday. He has had a cold all week and we were worried about making him worse, but this event is just something you don’t want to miss!
Soon Andrew and Peter caught their first wave!
Waiting for the next wave is one of Andrew’s favorite parts of the experience. He gets to lay on the board, surrounded by his favorite element, soaking in the world around him. This is what makes this day so special for him.
Doesn’t Peter make it look so easy?? I could totally do that.
Except I couldn’t.
Their last wave.
We dried off, packed up our stuff, and headed back home. Andrew fell asleep within minutes, wiped out from all of the fun in the sun and surf.
When we got home, we noticed that he was rubbing and scratching at his left foot, and thinking that it was a sensory issue with the leftover sand, I gave him a bath and put lotion on his skin. He kept touching it and even put my hand on his foot, but since there was no visible sign of trauma I didn’t think too much of it. Andrew went to bed as usual, and I hoped he was gliding on his very own surfboard in his dreams.
Upon waking up this morning, he was unable to bear weight on his foot. I noticed him struggling to get to me and got up to check him out. That’s when I noticed his foot:
I’m no doctor, but it doesn’t take an expert to know that there’s something wrong with this picture. I called my husband and told him I was taking our kiddo to our local children’s ER.
Andrew was in great spirits despite the fact that he couldn’t walk. Meanwhile, I was submerged in total mommy guilt. Having a non-verbal child with autism and significant cognitive delays means you often play the guessing game when trying to locate an injury. Andrew had shown us his foot was bothering him, but because of his higher pain threshold, he wasn’t screaming or crying, so we didn’t think it was a big deal. I still feel bad, but it’s also the nature of his diagnoses, and a reality he and we live with every single day. He couldn’t tell us where it hurt, we couldn’t see anything “wrong,” and so we figured everything was okay. Luckily his body responded to the injury with swelling and bruising, which made it more tangible and allowed us to get him help.
This is one happy kiddo considering he’s at the ER at 7:00 a.m. I think it’s because he knew his injury was from surfing, which officially makes him a badass. I almost had the same injury on Tuesday night from tripping over my laptop cord. No cool factor there. But Andrew? He’s legit.
We were in the ER for a little while when my BFF Heather texted that she was on her way and asked if I needed something. In fact, I did:
“Cup of coffee, deodorant, and grated cheese. But it has to be white. The cheese I mean.”
For anyone else, this might seem like the world’s most random list, but Heather has long ago stopped questioning “why?” and just goes with the flow. This makes it easier for everyone involved.
The doctor told us he’ll likely be put in a cast for six weeks.
This kiddo, in a cast, for SIX WEEKS?
Somebody hold me.
Tomorrow we see the Orthopedist to determine the next course of action. I’m going to offer him a kidney in the hopes of negotiating some kind of deal. It’s a toe; we ought to be able to figure something out, right? Right?!
Andrew is home now, resting on the couch, while I try to distract him from focusing on the ginormous splint on his foot. This is a child who cannot tolerate a band aid. A cast should be all kinds of fun.
Regardless, if he’s gonna get hurt, this is a pretty awesome way to do it. Surfer’s Healing is a wonderful organization that give our children the opportunity of a lifetime. There’s always a risk when you participate in extreme sports (or walking near a laptop cord apparently) and the most important thing is that Andrew is safe and on his way to healing!
And while I’m bummed Andrew got hurt and has to deal with this crappy broken toe, I can’t help but smile at the memories of yesterday. I also know that if he could, he’d tell you he’d do it all over again, despite the injury.
And he will.
Thanks to Surfer’s Healing, our son will ride the waves once more.
Except this time, he’ll do it with a little more swagger. He’s earned it, after all.