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Go Ask Mom

Amanda Lamb: Gobsmacked

Posted October 19, 2014
Updated October 23, 2014

During a regular week, our family calendar, which hangs in our kitchen pantry, is full of red Sharpie scribbles that are eventually transferred into an email schedule that is sent to everyone in our family as well as the babysitter and our carpool partners.

It's like a complex puzzle, pulling the pieces together every week and plugging in the holes with help from friends getting kids to and from school and activities. It literally takes an army to make it happen — so, when you're down one soldier, the ripple effect can be dizzying.

My husband fell off a ladder and broke his humerus bone in his arm last week. It’s a very painful injury with a long recovery period that has basically rendered his right arm useless for the foreseeable future. The good news is that even though it was a serious fall, he didn’t have more serious injuries to his head or back — it’s just an arm.

But, the flip side is that it’s an arm. Anyone who has been down one arm knows that an arm is quite necessary for a lot of important things — things like dressing, bathing, driving, feeding and typing. There are no holes in the weekly calendar in between carpool, school, work, dance and sports that take this new situation into account.

"Husband has one arm" should be the blanket statement on the calendar that will explain why certain things will not be happening as planned. According to the doctor, this declaration could be in place for as long as six months.

We’re adjusting one day at a time. The girls are stepping up to the plate and helping their father with the simplest of tasks like getting him a glass of milk or typing something for him on the computer. I’m pulling my hair out trying to figure out how to get everyone where they need to go with only one driver in the family.

I’ve also taken on all the chores he previously did with two arms that now fall to me — feeding the animals, taking out the trash, carrying heavy loads of laundry up the stairs. I even bought paint yesterday at Lowe’s (did you know there are multiple choices to make besides color?).

Like every setback in life, this too will pass and surely we will learn something as a family from the experience. No one wants him to heal and regain his independence more than he does. But, for now, he will have to settle for being waited on and catered to by three women who definitely don’t know when to use semi-gloss paint or how to back the riding lawnmower out of the garage.

But, somehow we will survive. I’m sure of it ...

Amanda is the mom of two, a reporter for WRAL-TV and the author of several books including some on motherhood. Find her here on Mondays.


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  • snowl Oct 20, 2014

    Ouch! I also know of someone who broke that bone on her arm falling from a high place. I wish him a speedy recovery, it is painful from what she told me, and it does take many many months to heal with physical therapy... But the up side is that you will have more stories to write about....;)

  • andreanicole686 Oct 20, 2014

    Be glad it is temporary. Many people have spouses who are on permanent disability. I hope it makes your relationship stronger.

  • Killian Oct 20, 2014

    10 years ago, I had an "easy" arthroscopy on my knee. Untreated MRSA followed, necessitating life-saving surgery in the middle of the night, and more surgery for scar tissue after that.

    A simple, no big deal procedure is now a permanent disability. Getting hit by something like that definitely knocks a family's normal functioning for a loop. But this is a chance for your entire family to adapt and adjust, and learn that while life isn't fair, it also doesn't come with a warning label.

    I was lucky enough that my kids rose to the occasion, taking ownership of tasks beyond their years in order to help. We took those back as soon as possible, but the lesson that "family is everything" was reinforced in all three. They are still my biggest protectors.

    Best of luck in your husband's recovery - tell him ice cream helps the pain! =)

  • lec02572 Oct 20, 2014

    Its a test. It will make you stronger as a person and as a family. You may even laugh about it in later years, but for now it is a pain. At least the yard cutting season is almost over. Hopefully, the healing will not take a full six months.

  • CricketGayle Oct 20, 2014

    I feel your pain (and your husbands!!). I rolled my ankle at the end of March which resulted in a severe sprain and a broken foot. I am just now getting back to a normal activity load. I am very thankful that my husband and son stepped up to help me out when I was not able to do my normal chores and activities.

    It is a struggle, but you will look back on it and be surprised at how things did manage to somehow get done. Praying for your husband as he heals and for the family in the midst of the unexpected chaos.

  • AMazeder Oct 20, 2014

    Prayers to you and your family for healing, coping, and loving in the midst of these challenges.