Posted on September 30, 2006 at 04:21 PM
Jean is a Mother of 7 children whose son Jake has OI. They are a big family, but they know how to "roll with the punches" that OI delivers. Here are her words:
Our son Jake was born with severe OI. He had several breaks before he was born that healed incorrectly and several new breaks during the birthing process. We have a very large active family (7 kids). Adding a newborn with very brittle bones to this crew was a challenge. The first year he spent several months in the hospital due to respiratory problems. It seemed like every time we picked him up, we broke something, but often did not know where the break was. We just knew he hurt and screamed. We learned early that we would have to deal with the breaks and make them a part of our everyday life, or we would have to change our whole lifestyle.
We did learn to live with OI, we embraced it if you will. We did not let the frequent breaks change what we did. Often we were late for a party or appointment because Jake suffered a break as we were putting his coat on. BUT, we learned to give the pain meds, splint the break, softly load him up and go on with our life. There were times OI was the boss, but the family rolled with the punches.
For the first three years, it was not uncommon for the older kids to come home from school to a note that said, "Jake is in the hospital, pop in a frozen pizza. Love you, MOM" The whole family pitched in and life went on. We did get cell phones so we could always keep in contact with each other. I vividly remember standing in a checkout line on Dec. 23rd and getting THE phone call. "Jake is broke, you need to come home now." I asked to speak to Jake who was 3 years old. I asked him if he was broke a little bit or bad. He told me pretty bad. I asked if he needed to go to the hospital or if he needed Advil or if he needed valium. He told me between sobs that he needed valium and a splint. I judged that it was broke, but not too badly, so stayed in the checkout lane with my precious last minute gifts, and directed Dad to give the meds needed and not move him until I got there to splint him.
Twenty harrowing minutes later I walked through the door to a fairly calm house, splinted a broken arm and dressed for our party. We arrived in our Christmas togs, smiles (though Jake's was a little 'dopey') and great Christmas spirit. This is when I knew we had succeeded in incorporating OI into our family.
Our son still breaks several times a month, but he does not let a broken bone stop him from doing what he wants to do.
Thank you Jean for your story.