Sunday Sermon

There is a Sunday morning quiet in my house today . I can hear the buzz of weekend cartoons being watched by my blanket-wrapped son in the other room , the rain is falling outside the screen door and I have no where in particular to be at this moment.  I’ve been struggling the past week with what to write here. Often an incident in my life will spur some inspirational piece or an overheard phrase will fit neatly into my life situation allowing me to expound upon it enough to seem coherent and relevant to the rest of you. There has been nothing like that the past few weeks; instead I feel that I can’t get a clear handle on my thoughts. So I guess I will just write about recent events.

The big news around here last week was my 15 year old son, Calvin’s, knee surgery.  It was odd and nerve-wracking to be on the other side of surgery for a change.  I did not like it one bit.  I did not like seeing my son get wheeled into surgery nor did I like seeing him coming out of anesthesia, loopy from morphine.  After getting a second opinion at Children’s Hospital from the renowned orthopedic doctor, Dr. Micheli, we opted to have the surgery done at Children’s instead of with the doc he was seeing at Excel Orthopedic in Woburn.  This doctor actually gave us attitude when we said we were seeking a 2nd opinion.  Imagine!  

He said “They aren’t going to tell you anything different. Dr. Micheli is old…in his 60’s.”  Imagine!  

Sorry but this guy Micheli works on the dancers at the Boston Ballet as well as having written 3 books and co-authored 15!  Neeedless to say, we went with him.  What Cal has is OCD and here is an article by his doctor on precisely how rare it is and exactly what needs to be done Article on OCD.  

Originally Dr. Micheli thought Calvin would need screws put in but once they got in there they realized that they weren’t needed.  What they did do, was drill through the knee cap (good healthy bone) through the back to the bone behind the knee which was dead, in hopes that the dead area would re-generate and start making new blood cells. There is an 80% success rate with this surgery and hopefully his knee will heal enough to get him back to sports by next winter.  He is on crutches for 6 weeks and then it is going to be a slow recovery with rehab. Cal has been out of commission since January and as I told him, it is going to be a long road back — not easy, since he has been inactive for so long and will need to stay inactive for a while longer — but with patience and perseverance he should be able to do it.

I think that it sucks being 15, a jock on crutches and in constant pain from knee surgery.  Any one of those things alone are bad enough, but roll them all into one and you get a level of frustration like trying to pick up mercury with a pair of tweezers.   “I need my life back,” he just said to me. He has his whole life, that is what he doesn’t know, to him this seems like an endless progression of boring days with nothing to do.  One good thing has come out of this though; around the 3rd day after surgery when the pain killers were making him needy and we were all still very patient with him, my usually narcissistic son said to me, “I wish that I had had my surgery before all of yours, then I would have known how hard it was for you and I would have been more helpful.”

It was a beautiful moment of self-discovery and empathy which I immediatly ruined by saying.” Right, like when you brought all your friends to the house constantly and asked me for rides everywhere, and had me cook you meals…is that what you mean?”

Sorry, Mother-of-the-Year here couldn’t let an opportunity to pile on more guilt slip through her hands while adding a little more salt to his very sore wound. So sue me.

In the midst of waiting on Calvin and getting him back to school and dealing with his physical and psycological needs –all these people that I know passed away. My friend’s Mom, died while laying out in the sun, another friend’s sister-in-law died in her sleep at age 43, and a classmate of Calvin’s 17 year old brother died while taking a nap. All of these deaths were blamed on either a heart attack or possible blood clot.  Both of these reasons are disconcerting to me and because of the Tamoxifen I am on which can cause blood clots in my legs and the whole business of my faulty heart valves, I am having a hard time getting to sleep.  It’s not that I can’t sleep, it is that I am actually afraid to fall asleep.  I find myself jerking awake just as my consciousness passes the threshold to a deep sleep.  I am having this freaky fear that I am going to die in my sleep.  I was actually going to ask my husband last night to please stay awake and watch me for 10 minutes to make sure I didn’t stop breathing, but since he was already sound asleep that didn’t seem fair.  No sense having us both awake all night.  Eventually, the exhaustion takes over and I unknowingly do fall asleep.  I am hoping this fear will lessen over time and doesn’t evolve into a full blown neurosis.

I am still training for the Pan-Mass although scheduling and weather have made it more difficult than I thought to get in the number of miles we need.  Susan and I are up to about 30 mile rides but we need to do so much more.  I am a little behind also due to a possibly infected knee cap which is very painful and swollen which occurred from a fall I took on Lansdown Street after  attending a Red Sox game with my 12 year old son.  I have never been considered graceful and as we bobbed and weaved our way through the crowd in an attempt to get to our car which was all the way at BU I took a complete header and  face-planted on the sidewalk.  The mortification and embarrassment was only exceeded by the seering pain in my right knee.  Through tears I told Aidan that I didn’t think I could make it to the car, but with his help and courage he got me there eventually.  Ironically, moments before the fall, I had tried to put my arm around my son and give him a hug in public.  “MOM!” he said while rolling his eyes “Don’t embarrass me.”

Right. Sorry.  I’ll just take a spill among thousands of people leaving a ballgame and push you down in the process.  That won’t be too embarrassing.  Not to mention that most people probably thought I was a low-life drunken mother out with her son.  And to think, only an hour before I thought that getting hit on and asked out by a 70 year old man in the seat next to was mortifying.

Luckily, I won’t be going to any more Red Sox games this year. 

So that is what is going on around the Kolenik household. There is actually a lot more but I have to go ice my knee and help Cal get upstairs, and find a therapist for Aidan.

Maybe tomorrow I will find something inspirational to write about.

PS> The Header photos, this one and the last, are photos taken by my 12 year old son, who has recently taken a shining to photography.

About francesbarrie

Cancer survivor,mom,triathlete,writer,jewelry maker, baker. Staying happy and healthy,living life and enjoying it one moment at a time.
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2 Responses to Sunday Sermon

  1. gina says:

    nice shot Aidan~yet another talent!

  2. John Marchihony says:


    I dropped my blogger’s pen down a deep snow-filled hole. Gotta find it and get there.

    More importantly, I’m really hoping to find you on PMC weekend and ride together for a bit. Tracking your experience here is driving me forward in another way. I’ll be thinking of you on rides between now and the PMC start, and then I hope I’ll be talking with you on the road.

    Where are you starting? I’m going from Sturbridge after three Wellesley starts.



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