My mother told me that the pain is necessary so I wasn’t praying right to want it gone. She wasn’t rude about it; she didn’t interrupt my prayer, but gently nudged me when I was done. The pain will keep her safe, Mom said while I sat on the edge of the desk next to the bed where my daughter was waking up to the day.
I had just finished pleading with God to please remove the pain that was pulsating in Grace’s left ankle where she’d landed hard on it the night before while warming up for volleyball. We’d iced, medicated and elevated what we thought was a sprain. Twelve hours later it hurt her worse and she couldn’t bear to stand on it. Tears pooled in her eyes and I wanted her pain gone. The recommended treatment hadn’t shown any signs of giving any relief.
Thank God that my mother had been listening in and that she prodded me to listen to her granddaughter’s pain rather than sending her off to school to make the best of her day and let the sprain gradually heal.
I told Grace what my mother, her Granna, said and she didn’t blink an eye, but nodded, accepting this truth. The unrelenting pain let us know that we needed to get all the facts and not wait for time alone to heal her wound. Instead of being mad that she still hurt, Grace got up and hopped on her right foot down the hall to get ready while I called the doctor.
Two hours later, with the x-ray lighting up the small computer screen in the exam room, the physician turned from looking at the skeletal image of her foot toward us, “I’m sorry for the bad news, but this is not a sprain. It’s broken.” He pointed at the image where the radiologist had placed an arrow near the undeniable fracture.
While the x-ray showed her broken ankle, her tear-filled eyes revealed her broken heart. My girl loves the game of volleyball, playing it year-round in school, clubs, and summer camps. She aspires to play in college someday. I’m biased, but she’s good, good enough to swing up – the term for playing the next level up – in her case, from junior varsity to varsity.
Grace has jumped hundreds if not thousands of times as a volleyball player through the years with nary an injury. Why on the one night when the high school coach has her dress out and warm up with varsity – a big accomplishment for a freshman – did her ankle fail her? In one split second she went from being jubilant and proud to in pain and sad beyond words.
We have since realized that it could have been worse if we had ignored the pain and put off getting the test that gave us the correct diagnosis. My mom was right because the pain kept Grace safe from further injury. Now that we know what we’re dealing with, we can pursue the proper treatment and remain hopeful that the pain will go away as Grace heals and returns to the court. That’s my prayer and I think Mom’s too.
When we got home from the appointment I emailed her varsity coach an update. He sent a message back that he felt guilty for having had her swing up. Without hesitation, Grace responded with a vehement, “No! He made me the happiest person on earth when he asked me.”
Her ability to say that, albeit while her foot is in a splint and crutches are at her side, made me the happiest of saddest mommas around. But that’s my girl, seeing the silver lining to a bad situation, just like her Granna used to when she was alive.