“Are we there yet?”, Stuart asked for the nth time. “Almost there sweetheart”, I answered. In the midst of all the drama of leaving Oreo and Miffy, his pet beagle and tuxedo cat with the neighbour, my three-year old son finally stopped his tantrum when I told him we were going to visit his dad at the Colorado Neurological Institute, a neurotherapy institute.
Stuart misses Nick, my husband, a fireman, who got injured in one of the fires in our area three months ago. A burning pole hit his leg causing third degree burns and fractured his shin. He was lucky his partner was able to drag him out of the burning apartment building before it was no longer possible to go inside it. He will soon start physical therapy as well as occupational therapy. He had injuries to his back as well.
My son, who looks up to his dad, was most affected because he was used to spending play time with him. They walked Oreo together, and would do some DIY stuff in our backyard. Nick liked to do carpentry and some gardening, something that he got from growing up in a farm.
When he’s off work, he would take Stuart to the dog park and teach Oreo dog tricks. Other days Nick would grill meats at our outdoor kitchen, which he himself built last summer. Or put some in the smoker that he made out of old metal drums.
I work full time as a nurse at a local hospital, so I also do shifts. It’s tricky with our schedules as we always have to plan ahead. Nick spends time with Stuart outdoors when he can. I, on the other hand would usually spend the day resting after I knock off work. I just do not have the stamina that Nick has.
The past three months have been hard on both Stuart and I. I had to look for a sitter to watch over nick each time I went to work. Sometimes, I would drop him off at my sisters when I am assigned to the ICU or the emergency room. He misses his dad, while Nick endures the pain of going through treatment at the burn unit. Now that his wounds are healing, therapy begins for him.
For a while there we were worried that he might have to retire on disability. But the doctors are saying that there’s good chance that he would make a full recovery without having to rely on pain medications. Jonathon, his boss, however assured him that they will find something for him. And they did! If the doctors don’t give him the medical clearance needed to get back to work, the fire department might assign him to do some office work.
Our struggle is far from over, but we will get past this. Maybe today will be a beautiful day for Nick. Stuart always cheers him up and I know our son misses him more than ever. Let’ leave the not so good news for later. I see the CNI up the road and it looks like it’s a nice day to be out. We’ll see.