The Worst Part of “Non-Verbal”

Braxton fell yesterday.

I didn’t see how it happened.

It’s not the first time he’s fallen and I didn’t see it.

But, this time it was different. Only I didn’t know it.

Today I got a call from the school nurse.

Nurse:  “Have you seen Braxton’s foot!? ”

Me:  Panic sets in.  “His foot?  Um, no?  Why?”

Nurse:  “He hasn’t been wanting to walk today -”

Me:  “Oh yeah, I told his teacher that. He’s had a sinus infection and we think his balance is off, he’s been a bit more wobbly than usual.”

Nurse: “No, I think something is wrong. His foot is swollen, he won’t bear weight, and he cries when we try to move it.”

Mommy guilt immediately sets in.  How did I not notice?  He had therapy this morning, none of us noticed.  How in the world did this happen?

Oh, right,  Braxton fell yesterday. I didn’t see how it happened.

He fell, I heard a thud followed by a cry. I jumped up from the couch to check on him.  He was sprawled on the floor with his head against the wall.  I thought he hit his head.  I checked for bumps and bruises. I checked his eyes.  No vomiting or loss of consciousness, we’re good.

I didn’t check his foot. I didn’t even think to check.  He had no words to tell me to do so.

This morning he had therapy.

He didn’t want to climb the stairs.  In fact, he stiffened his leg and planted his feet.

We thought he was just being stubborn as he often does.

In hindsight, I remember thinking he has  sure been crawling around more than usual.

I remember realizing his balance was off, more than usual.

I remember seeing him drag his foot as he walked.

I saw it but didn’t Piece it together.

I should have noticed. What kind of mother doesn’t notice?

The kind of mother with a child who cannot express hurt and pain.

This. This is the hardest part of having a non-verbal child.

The part where they can’t tell you where it hurts.

The part when the doctors look at you like you’re a terrible mom when you say “my kid hurt himself but I don’t know how or where. something is wrong, please help me. ”


The part where your child’s pain tolerance is so high he doesn’t flinch when the doctor tries to see where it hurts.

The part where they end up taking 10 X-ray’s to check out the whole leg because he can’t tell us what part hurts.


The part where I feel helpless.

The part where I feel like I failed my child.

The part where the doctor says “Well, we didn’t find anything. Just keep him off of the foot.”

The part where I can see there is something more, but he can’t tell me and the doctors.

Of all the things I wish for my child, the one I wish for something fierce is a voice.  Words to tell me when he hurts. Words to tell me when something is wrong.  He’s not proficient with his talker yet, so that can only help so much.  Days like today are frustrating.

I wish I could say I’m glad it wasn’t worse, but what if it is and we missed it?   Braxton is clearly in pain when he  tries to walk.  His foot turns outward and he kinda drags it behind him.

But the doctor says nothing is wrong. All they saw on the X-ray is a hip issue we knew about where the hip joint didn’t fully form.  Is that why he is limping now? Did the fall somehow exacerbate that?    I don’t know. The doc thinks so, but can’t say for sure.

I wish Braxton could tell me. I wish I could make it better like a mom is supposed to.  This is the only part of my son’s condition I regularly wish away.

 

 

/// Post Update:   A few days after writing this we noticed a bruise on Braxton’s big toe. We had already scheduled an appointment with our Orthopedic Doctor. When we went for the appointment I let the doctor know we saw a bruise and some swelling at the big toe. He took a better look at the x-rays and found that Braxton had a small buckle fracture in the big toe. There was something and we almost missed it completely. He’ll be in a boot for 4 weeks.  We also found some other congenital anomalies that we did not know about before, but there is not anything we can do about them now, we can only watch them and be prepared should this happen again.

3 Comments

Filed under Family

3 responses to “The Worst Part of “Non-Verbal”

  1. Joann Buselli

    I can feel your pain as I too have a specials needs child who is non verbal. He was progressing well until two years ago. He started hitting his head over and over and after a year of doctor visits where only psych mess we’re being prescribed I became the problem parent. Finally we ended up in ER and after a four week hospital stay surgery was performed for a chisel malformation. Fluid blockage in his head and spine. We had three months where things were looking up and then boom it all disappeared and things are worse than ever. No smiles no desire or interest to do anything. My son is I recognizable and he appears possessed due to the level of pain he is in. I couldn’t work and care for him anymore and after 24years had to step back and let his biological father step into help. Guilt is awful. No answers are very painful.!i can’t figure out why things are he way they are. As you can see I can totally emphasize with your pain. I feel for our kids it is so unfair. God Bless to your son and you and your family.

  2. cath young

    https://www.facebook.com/Uncom… There is also the blog itself. The little girl Maya has congenital issues causing delays. The AAC has made a huge difference in communication

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