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Son broke his back. He just wants to lie in bed. Advice please.

(55 Posts)
ErnesttheBavarian Sat 27-May-17 11:31:54

Ds, 16, broke his back last Saturday mountain biking. He was released from hospital on Wednesday, with a back brace, which he's been told to wear all day, so from getting up in the morning to going to bed. He's been told not to remain in the same position, so stand for a bit, sit for a bit, lie for a bit etc. Shouldn't sit on low (normal) chair, only lean against a highish stool.

So, he finds sitting uncomfortable, feels like an idiot standing, and basically just wants to lie in bed. He is a very stubborn teenager.

He is supposed to be going to school on Monday. They have organised a high desk for him. But I don't know how that's going to work out, or even taking his bag to and from school.

I'm also concerned that lying about is going to be bad for his back. He is way taller and heavier and more stubborn than me. How do I get him off his bed, other than explaining, which I have done, and how do I best support him? He has 1 more week of school before 2 weeks holiday.

Feeling very frustrated.

Leavesandburies Sat 27-May-17 11:36:53

Bring him to meet some paraplegics and see if he 'gets' it then! He's been so so bloody lucky. Thank God.

Does he not have a physio? Is there a spinal injury unit you could book him into for a session with one to discuss his recovery and what he needs to do to protect his back? 16yr olds can be stubborn but I've a family member who died at 17 with a broken neck mountain biking. He needs to grow the fuck up and look after himself properly. He might be a bit down, no? In that case I think he needs some regular appointments with someone who can work with him during his recovery. Doctor, physio, counsellor?

ErnesttheBavarian Sat 27-May-17 12:08:46

I'm not sure showing him paraplegics is going to work. I am totally stressed out be this.

I am supposed to be organising physic for him - 2 times a week, but I misunderstood the doctor and didn't do it on Wednesday, Thursday was a bank holiday and everything was shut. I had to take him back to the hospital on Friday to have his brace adjusted, and when I called the doctors mid-morning, they had already shut, so it's been a week, and still not got anything organised sad on top of that, we are away on holiday for 10 days (hospital has said he can go) but that means another 10 days with no physio.

And he just wants to lie in bed all day. He has only been outside once (yesterday) since the accident.

He is totally negative about everything I suggest, the chair is too high, too slippy, the table is too wobbly, he can't stand up, he doesn't want to go out, he isn't comfortable, he can't do his homework, he can't do xyzzy. Everything I suggest. sad

I am stressing about him lying down so much, and being so negative about everything. He is definitely embarrassed at all the stares he gets from people, so dunno how school will work out.

yoohooitsme Sat 27-May-17 12:16:03

With the best will in the world 'come and do your homework in discomfort is probably not going to cut it' smile

Make it about something other than his health or what he has been told to do.

Set him up a safe area that lets him do as advised but in as nice and distracting way as possible.

e.g. Place the ipad there, pop to shop and buy him an iTunes voucher and his favourite treats, let him know where they all are, remove his phone (or at least his charger) from his room to the same place.

Perhaps when he gets bored he'll get up.

P1nkP0ppy Sat 27-May-17 12:26:00

As pp says plus no food in bed, he has to eat with family?
He's not doing himself any favours, the longer he lies in bed the more his muscles waste - FIL ended up with drop foot from refusing to get out of bed when he had shingles (he was 60) and had to have an intensive exercise programme before he could walk again (took months too)

SafeToCross Sat 27-May-17 12:29:29

I would actually be getting back to the gp and hospital as he is at risk of depression as well as not making a good physical recovery. Can you get a private physio or even OT , or a personal trainer type who is good at motivating (only with very clear instructions, obvs) involved in the short term - maybe some will be advertising with mobile numbers and around this weekend, for the right price. Anyone else who can talk to him and back you up, come and chat to him or do something with him while he stands.

Floralnomad Sat 27-May-17 12:31:05

How is he going on holiday if he won't move about , very little point in taking him if he's just going to be in bed but somewhere different . How are you getting to where you are going ?

yellowbumblebee Sat 27-May-17 12:37:43

There's a bit in Bear Grylls (sp?) autobiography where he talks about breaking his back - I thought it was quite inspirational- although I'm obviously not a teenage boy!

ErnesttheBavarian Sat 27-May-17 12:48:46

He comes for food, eats, and returns to bed.

He has a really important maths test on Wednesday. Doctor said he could already go to school on Friday, but I thought I'd at least allow him the week to recover (as Thursday way a BH, so only 1 day) and anyway, as it turned out I had to take him back to the hospital anyway on Friday. I can't put school on hold or sign him off for 6 weeks or however long it takes. We are flying, it's about a 1.5 hour flight. The drive from the hospital was about that, so I know he can do it, but he will be uncomfortable.

He said he will go out when we are on holiday.

I am worried about muscle wastage and his MH and his schooling - here if you fail the year, you have to repeat. He is in grave danger of failing the year. He HAS to do well in this test, it could literally make all the difference. And he won't do anything. He just wants to lie down.

I will be at the doctors 1st thing Monday and will do my best to organise a physiological for Monday too.

Slimthistime Sat 27-May-17 12:50:24

OMD you mean broken verterbrae?

Why does he have to go to school, I was signed off work for at least a month!

I was told it was fine to lie around generally but I needed to change position. I didn't get given a brace. Well it was optional but I was toldit would make it harder because muscle structure would go. I did a little indoor walking in the first two weeks, then a slow plod outside for two weeks.

I can't get over that he has to go to school. I know every injury is different but I'm a bit concerned he got a crap doctor.

Also has he got painkillers? I slept about 14 hours a day and I needed it, but couldn't stomach the painkillers which didn't help in dealing with pain and tiredness.

Physio and walks vital when ready. I wonder if the standing advice is because he's got a brace. Just going to the loo or making a cup of tea uses all those muscles. Well my breaks were bang in the middle I my back.

I really feel for him.

PotteringAlong Sat 27-May-17 12:50:25

Cancel the holiday! Physio is far far more important in this scenario.

LIZS Sat 27-May-17 12:53:41

Does he think he's still going on the holiday or staying behind while you do. Is this the same ds who has had school issues before? Are his friends calling or visiting? How did he injure himself, could that explain his reluctance or worry.

Slimthistime Sat 27-May-17 12:53:54

X post
Is this a GCSE? Can he take it and have any extenuating circumstances?
Tbh after a major injury is repeating the year that bad, I mean how does he feel?

Does he want to go on holiday? I think stay here, sleep, rest, do physio when allowed? Physio was brilliant for me.

ErnesttheBavarian Sat 27-May-17 12:57:27

slimthistime, thanks for that. It's actually reassuring. I was surprised that the doctor said he could go to school - his sick not for the hospital was only Mon to Wed, and I already bunked him off an extra day.

I am going to make an appointment with an orthopaedic doctor. Hopeful I'll also get one on Monday. I know a good an, but am torn cos it's a longish journey. There's another one much closer but not as good.

BertieBotts Sat 27-May-17 13:02:01

Are you in Germany? I find the ringing round hundreds of doctors totally stressful!!

I had to find a physio not long ago and they were all booked up for weeks and weeks but I happened to find one locally to me just by walking in. Complicated again by the fact that most of them don't seem to have websites.

Let me know if you need any help with the admin side of this because I had no idea what I was doing, but I have a better understanding now.

Slimthistime Sat 27-May-17 13:03:59

I'm astonished tbh.

Unless it's tiny fractures but it can't be from what you've said?

I saw a doc twice in the first couple of days because A&E didn't really have time to deal with it, plus when I was there I was in shock so kept saying "I can walk, it's not that painful". Then I saw my GP for alternative painkillers and he said "there's no way you'll be fit for work in two weeks" which is what I was originally told. Luckily my boss had been astonished to hear the words "broken back" and "two weeks off" so immediately planned for me to be off longer! I rang her from the second appt with proper sign off and she said "thank goodness, I was worried about you".

Also the mental impact is awful.

ErnesttheBavarian Sat 27-May-17 13:04:52

no friends have been round sad but he is on his mobile 24/7. He doesn't seem to be very sociable.

No lizs, this is ds2, the one you mention is ds1, and still a handful hmm he was mountain biking in the also, air lifted to hospital, the whole shebang.

slim, not GCSE - we're not in UK, but his whole school year could well hinge on this 1 test. And he has done absolutely nothing at all for it. Says he can't sit, hasn't got a table to study on, etc etc

I was wondering about buying one of those ironing stools. Anyone with back injury knowledge know if I'd be wasting my money?

BertieBotts Sat 27-May-17 13:06:24

Which health insurance company are you with? Feel free to PM if you'd rather not go into details publicly.

LIZS Sat 27-May-17 13:08:33

You don't have access to a stokke triptrap seat by any chance? Or maybe Red Cross or similar can lend you a suitable height seat.

ErnesttheBavarian Sat 27-May-17 13:09:27

I guess I'm also concerned about my work. He can't ride a bike now, and how is he going to get to all these appointment? My boss was great, letting me have 2 days off already, I'mm stressing about the whole situation.

Slimthistime Sat 27-May-17 13:13:23

If he's done nothing then I'd just go in for the test in case he passes, but no other school, let him rest.

I don't know about the stools but I could only sit for very short periods, it was stand up or lie down.

I think seeing a specialist is a good idea but I never had to sit in a car for more than 20 minutes at first. I didn't have a brace though.

As for not sociable, no, I wasn't either. If the doc hadn't doubled my dose of antidepressants I would have barely said a word to anyone.

Slimthistime Sat 27-May-17 13:14:51

X post
I had to cab to my appointments but I only had two.

southchinasea Sat 27-May-17 13:19:26

I fractured vertebrae in my neck in a horse riding accident and have made a really good recovery and now fully back to normal activities, work and sport but it's taken time.

I was signed off work for at least 6-8 weeks initially and for longer in the end. I'm a teacher and there's no way I would have felt safe in a busy school environment at first, and wearing a neck brace my movements and range of vision were restricted and I imagine the same with a back Brace. You need to be able to rotate, bend and stretch for everyday activities much more than you realise. Even having a conversation in a group, trying to read the paper, sitting to eat meals or watch TV were all tricky at first. You can't help but feel a bit self conscious at first too.

Poor boy, especially if he's used to being active and sporty. By 2- 3 weeks I was able to go for little walks, building up to longer ones by 6 weeks. I'm sure I spent longer lying down initially. You do quite quickly improve and feel stronger but he's probably still in shock at the moment.

Physio, plates, walking and generally moving were all great for me. Being aware that just because I could feel sensation in muscles didn't mean I was doing harm by moving. I tended to scrunch up my neck and shoulder and make it worse, sort of protecting it from movement. Getting back to school and friends and possibly getting back to mountain biking etc will all be really motivating for him in a bit. But it all takes time.

BertieBotts Sat 27-May-17 13:20:27

You need to ask either your Hausarzt or the Orthopaedic (or the unfalls-chirurger or whoever is managing his treatment overall who is not the hospital, because a hospital can't write this) to write YOU a Krankmeldung which gets you out of work because he is sick and needs care. You can take up to 20 days per year as you have two children. It's paid by health insurance, and it's worth taking if you need it. I'm surprised your boss hasn't suggested this, to be honest. The Hausarzt would just need to see some kind of proof that he's had this operation.

Wallywobbles Sat 27-May-17 13:25:51

I can't get my head round any of this. This is a very rare case where I'd cancel the holiday. Surely his physical recovery takes priority?

And you really need to sort the rest out. So getting signed off from work. Holiday insurance for cancellation. Talk to school. Get physical therapy in place - will they come to school - they would in France etc etc.

Sorry but it really sounds like a class A fuck up on the making.

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