We flew home early last Saturday morning, Oscar on tylenol and advil, me just on edge. Dr. C had gone way out of her way to see Oscar the day before and to check on his wound, which reassured me, but my mind was still spinning about the flight. Would he be comfortable? Could he manage the restroom without help? And the crazy one: What if he did have a pneumothorax—would his lung collapse? Dr. C. had reassured me about that too—pressurized cabins and all—but I kept forgetting that at 3am. In the end, aside from some anxiety about not having a pillow for his back and a little spat with Ruby over the iPad, he was completely fine.
So fine that we wondered whether he could manage an A’s game the next day. Oscar’s face lit up when he overheard us considering it. “I wanna go! I can do it!” he insisted. Three and a half weeks post-surgery, I kept thinking. Are we nuts? Paul had learned a new parking trick that would cut down on walking, and we’d bring our lunch to reduce standing time, a pillow to make the seat more comfortable. And we made an escape plan: if Oscar was uncomfortable I’d drive him home early and the others could take BART. But we didn’t need that. Aside from the A’s loss it was a spectacular afternoon, and another inch closer to normal life.
So then Oscar started school, part time, a week ago. I went with him that first day and many others since, to figure out a routine during this recovery period. His academic classes are all before lunch, so most days I brought him home after World Literature. We learned (the hard way) that it really helps to lie down during his free period, and that he does need extra medication to manage all that sitting. By Friday he was ready to stay the whole day, but Paul drove up to school early and worked in the parent lounge, just in case. And I brought him home early today since his last class is PE and he won’t be able to participate for a couple of more weeks.
We’re getting by, taking things slowly, riding the ups and downs of recovery. We’re weaning him off the Tylenol, and still managing wound care. He’s walking up hills, sometimes easily and sometimes with great effort, and still lying down whenever he can. He’s persevering through his classes and homework and only loses it occasionally. (Like when his teacher caught him reading Warriors news during Lit.) We’re tying his shoes, carrying his backpack, drying his legs after showers, and reminding him not to bend. We’ve started PT and are folding nightly stretching into the routine. His voice is still soft, his words still slightly slurred, but he’s moving more quickly, joking around, and high-fiving when the A’s get a hit.
His spirits are high, except for the darn chest tube wound — he’s tiring of the nightly bandage changes. “Man, I hate this! Will it ever end?” he asks every morning and every night as I poke saline-saturated gauze up into the hole in his side. Who wouldn’t get tired of that? As Dr. C said in her text to me yesterday, he is a trooper!