The Year of Nate

Are you a fan of the TV sitcom “The Middle”? We’re huge fans in our family. If you’ve never seen it, just know that my family can relate way too much to the Heck family living in Indiana, working their tails off, raising a family, paying the bills, eating too much fast food, and all the dysfunction and shenanigans that go along with those things. The daughter, Sue, is the most optimistic teenager who ever existed. She always looks on the bright side and knows things will always get better and declares the new year “The Year of Sue.” It’s all very funny, I promise. And they all love each other very much, and I cry at the end of every episode.

Anyway, the first time I watched the show it was already a couple of episodes into the first season. A friend told me I just had to watch it, because these characters are just like us. Well, first of all, I gathered they’re the Heck family. Hello, Heck/Eck…ert. Then the mom called the dad Mike. Excuse me? Mike Heck/Mike Eck…ert? If that mom’s name was Amy, I was gonna FALL OUT! Nope, it’s Frankie, but she and I could eat some nightstand cookies and have a good conversation about the state of the world…or where we lost our car…or the time we left the snack bag behind again…or whatever. But anyway, such good memories of the family watching the show together through to the final episode.

“It won’t cut you you.”~Nurse Brittany

So, back to The Year of Nate. Mike Heck, er, um…Mike Eckert and I keep referring to this year as The Year of Nate. It’s a long process for the flat feet. The poor guy is such a trooper. He has now been through the first surgery, ten days of the half cast, hard cast #1 (blue) for two weeks, hard cast #2 (orange) for two weeks, and now he’s finally in the walking boot for two weeks. After that, it will be four weeks in a sneaker. Next step is to start all over with the other foot.

Just hanging out at the library

When this whole thing started I wanted to get him a knee scooter. He insisted he wouldn’t use it, so I didn’t spend the money. I’m no dummy. I know when a hard headed thirteen year old says they won’t use something, they won’t. Take their word and keep your money. Then it rained incessantly. That makes it difficult to go anywhere on crutches. The last thing we needed was a fall. Once it quit raining a bit, we began to venture out. That’s when he realized just how sore you can get on crutches and that maybe that knee scooter wasn’t such a bad idea after all. Late on a Sunday night we ordered one from Amazon and had it Tuesday morning. He was so excited and put it together himself. Rock and Roll!!

It feels funny! Can’t wait for a BATH!
The new digs

I misunderstood the gravity of the time frame of this thing. I thought it was a three month ordeal. I had wondered how you go from not using one foot to that foot becoming the primary, weight bearing foot so quickly. Well, it’s not that quickly after all. (It truly IS The Year of Nate.) That’s where you insert the four weeks in a sneaker …oh, and TWO weeks in the boot instead of the one week I was thinking. In true Frankie Heck fashion, I can think only so far in advance with all of this life stuff and #FullTiltBoogie swirling around me at all times. One day at a time, sweet Jesus. Or at least one step at a time. At this point I know the next step is to go back and see Dr. Brazis again after two weeks in the boot. Whew! Well, the best news is he hasn’t had any pain since the first few days. He has had some pains on Day 2 of the boot as he’s adjusting to putting weight on that foot again for the first time in nearly six weeks. For the most part though, he said it feels good to walk on it and he can feel his Achilles tendon stretching. Goals, my friends. That is what we want and need. We’re setting and crushing goals. That’s how the Eckerts roll.

Working Our Way Out of a Job aka Parenting

The goal of parenting is to raise good, independent adults, right? We are supposed to work our way out of a job. Sometimes we wonder if they’re actually learning or listening to any of the things we say. Well, let me tell you a good way to gauge their burgeoning independence; have them hobble around on one foot for a while. The whole world is made of lava to the other foot. Absolutely NO touching the ground allowed!

His surgery was last Tuesday, and there has been a lot of lying around on sofas, fluffing pillows, rotating ice packs, dispensing of meds every three hours around the clock, water refills, snacks, and lots of helicoptering by Mom. This is the part where I realize how much he does do on his own. It has strangely been a reminder of what it’s like to have a baby. It’s been a while, y’all. He’s 13 now, and under normal circumstances he actually does do a lot for himself. I know for sure, because right now I’m the one doing all the things. So, I have reassurance that I’m doing something right!

On Friday we had the first post-op follow-up. The dressings were removed, incisions were examined, and that Achilles tendon…oh, Lord, help me!…that Achilles tendon was stretched [insert into this moment a passing out mom who was playing it cool]. A new half cast was formed to his foot with some flexion. I’m not even sure I can talk about that process. Ouch!! Next Friday will include x-rays and a new hard cast. I know I’ll be less of a helicopter mom when that foot is encased in plaster…or whatever it is they use these days.

I have to say how very proud I am of my son. He has been very strong, especially knowing he’ll be doing it again to the other foot in a few weeks. After all, now he knows what he’s getting into.