Wednesday, January 09, 2013

Boxer's Fracture

One of the challenges this fall was my older son underwent treatment for a boxer's fracture of his dominant hand. We had added medical appointments to tend to (which hindered his brother's ability to do schoolwork, when I'm busy running to the orthopedist for consults and more x-rays). Of course this negatively affected my older son's impaired ability to do his schoolwork independently. Some of his work stopped completely. You cannot do a touch typing program without two hands, for one thing. Some subjects were so laborious thanks to the hand injury and the splint that it wasn't worth the effort.

My son really screwed himself by his choice to punch that wall, because no matter how much he dreads chemistry homework, he made it impossible to do his favorite thing: his sport. By his limitations, he also discovered that he took little things for granted like turning a door knob and putting something in and out of the pocket of your jeans.

A boxer's fracture, if you don't know, is what commonly happens when you punch something with your bare fist. In this case it was fist vs. wall stud and the wall stud won the fight. My son was so angry that no damage was done to the wall after that punch, that he socked it a second time. Then he quit it, saying it didn't hurt, but the swelling immediately started. He then sat down on a chair and fell asleep, when he woke up hours later the hand was all blown up.

This was a rage that happened when I caught him lying on a Sunday afternoon, he said his chemistry homeschool co-op homework that was due the next morning's class had been done two days prior when in fact I discovered that it was never done at all. Upon this discovery, my husband and I told him he had to do his homework that day (since class was about 18 hours away). He blew up before we even could discuss any kind of consequence or discuss the issue of the lying. I believe that he was angry that he lied and got caught. He wanted to go fool around on his laptop such as watching a TV series via Netflix that he is glued to.

My son had almost five weeks of restricted physical activity and treatment of the hand. As I write this he is back to full activity. The good news is the fracture was not too serious, it did not require surgery, the displacement angle was low, and it seems to have healed without permanent disfigurement. Whether he will have arthritis aches and pains is something he will wait to see about, the doctor said. I was grateful we had access to high quality healthcare services and to a well regarded hand specialist orthopedist (even though it was not all free of charge, we have to pay 10% of the charges as a co-payment).

I am grateful that chapter in our parenting journey is over and we are all working together to look at the bigger picture to see if the family harmony and a better group dynamic can be restored. The visits to the psychologist counselor seem to be helping. One hint of something else we're looking into is whether my son is having food sensitivities or allergies that are negatively impacting his mood and behavior (he has had that problem in the past). That's highly probable. Sometimes it is hard to figure out what is typical teenage boy in puberty behavior and when something else is factoring into the equation but with the help of health care professionals we are trying to solve the puzzle. This story is not one I'm prooud of, I'm not bragging. Sharing it with you is something I'm doing to keep the story of our parenting and homeschooling journey real.


Deborah said...

Hi Christine,
I think this kind of thing is fairly typical of teen sons...I know that people of prepubertal kids are often very judgmental about the apparent loss of control of the surly and defiant teen sons of others...but those of us who have been there done that understand completely. (I'm thinking of a mom of 4 sons under ten who was horrified when my son indulged in an Unauthorized Art in Public Places was clear to her that there is something terribly wrong with our parenting...we ARE the parents, after all: why did we not keep our son "under control"? dh said grimly that he can't wait until their kids are a little older and we see how well that Patriarchal Parenting works when the kids are testosterone fueled enough that they realize that they can fight back.) I know that some girls engage in the same kind of boundary testing, but for most, including us, teen girl stuff has been confined to dark looks and the occasional "I'm through with you", a sentiment apparently forgotten within an hour. (In fairness I have to say that we dropped any pretense of carrot and stick parenting following the complete failure of it with our son...we pick our battles VERY carefully.) Of the teen boys who have lived in my neighborhood (educated middle class, all with at least one science/engineering geek parent) since I moved here, ALL have been at odds with their parents in some expensive way: drinking and wrecking cars, not making adequate progress toward a degree (and lying about it), etc. etc. etc., while only one of the daughters in the same age range has had any issues at all, and she (unlike the boys) has mental health issues. If your kid escapes this turbulent age with only the aftermath of a "boxer's punch", he'll be doing well. All that misdirected energy will eventually go to doing things of real value. My kid makes A's in college, gets along with his sisters, is TV station manager at his school, repairs his car, fixes things around the house...I would not have predicted this when he was 18...and 18 was so much better than 15 or 16. You're doing a great job, and the fact that you include the messy side of parenting/homeschooling in your blog can be helpful to others who might be feeling that they are parenting failures because only their kids seem to be going out of their way to test every boundary.

ChristineMM said...

I will post a second blog post more on this topic. Thanks for all your feedback.