A Flip Flop with a Side of Crutches

kneeIt started like any other Monday.

Laundry. Sibling rivalry. A quick breakfast. Us being late.

We scurried off to the kids’ bi-annual dentist visit. The kids got glowing reports, minus that chipped tooth of John Paul’s courtesy of his big brother. But before I was able to really give those two a good talking to, we had to jet home to grab the cooler and swimsuits for swim lessons.

I was set to head to Brownwood right after we finished the lessons to deliver Will to the Texas 4-H Center. He’s attending a three-day camp where he’s serving as a mentor for physically and mentally challenged kids. Man, it was going to be a great day.

That is, until “the incident.”

I was just moving a swim bag over to the chair, walking normally with Gianna in my arms. Before I knew it my flip flop hit a wet spot, my right foot went out from under me and in true momma bear instinct mode, I held G close with both arms and landed square on my left knee.

You know how sometimes you do something and you just know what happened but you talk yourself out of the reality? I knew, in an instant, I had broken my knee. But I did my darndest to talk myself out of it. At first, I didn’t say a thing to the kids and instead grabbed a cold water bottle from the cooler to ice down my knee. All while breathing deeply holding back the tears.

I’m totally fine. I’ll just swing by the house before we leave town, grab an ice pack and a few ibuprofen then we’ll be off to the 4-H Center.

[Moving my knee one quarter of an inch.]

Okay, maybe I should call to get an x-ray set up for after I get back. You know, just to confirm it isn’t broken.

[Quick call to the family doc who says he needs to see me before ordering the films.]

Crap. Well, maybe we’ll just swing by urgent care, I can be in an out in less than 30 minutes and THEN I can drive Will to his camp.

[Get up to walk. Break down in tears from the pain.]

Will looks at me and says, “Mom, you have to go to urgent care. I don’t have to go to camp.”

I cry harder and limp/walk/limp to the van. The pain is excruciating. I almost pass out. At this point, I still haven’t texted Scott because I know how high his pile of work is at the office. No need to cry wolf when it’s probably just badly bruised.

We pull up to urgent care and Will leaps out of the van, assuring me that I should stay put while he checks on the wait time. Less than 10 seconds later, he appears and tells me I’m next in line and the nurse is coming with a wheelchair.

Me and my six little ducks pile out of the van and into urgent care.

Will was a total rock star. I mean it. Calm, collected and a huge help. Honestly, I don’t know what I would’ve done without him there.

The next hour is spent parenting from a wheelchair, trying to keep everyone from spinning on the doctor’s stool and answering nurse and doctor questions. When the ER doc arrives, he’s just so kind, introducing himself to everyone in the room. I immediately ask, “So….how likely is it that I can fly to Charleston this weekend?” It’s only something I’ve been planning since LAST July. He peeks up from his paperwork and says, “What conference?” When I tell him it’s for moms, he smiles and says, “Catholic moms?” Sweet Lord, his wife is attending and he knows how much it means to me. Did I mention he has six kids and goes to the neighboring parish? Y’all. What are the odds?

Also, what are the odds that I break my knee cap at the pool?

Yep, the xrays confirmed a break of the patella. Not quite displaced and definitely not shattered. But, after a consult today with the ortho, we’ve decided to do surgery on Monday morning. He gave me his travel blessing and promises to mend me back to my old self on Monday. He drained a ton – and I do mean a ton – of blood from behind my knee cap and fitted me with a new leg brace. I am a new woman. That third spacing was causing me incredible amounts of pain.

There is a downside to all of this. I had to pass on my VBS stint next week due to the surgery and I am beyond sad. I love that ministry and to have to bow out this late in the game and leave such a big hole for the coordinator brought me great anxiety today. I’m trusting the Holy Spirit has this one all figured out. And, nursing Gianna the past couple of days has been tricky. Not impossible, but still an art form. Last night, it did not go well and as I lay her, screaming in her crib, I hobbled out of the nursery and completely broke down.

The reality of all of this finally hit me. No driving for at least two weeks, maybe more. Crutches. Dependence on other people. A summer, not at the pool. The pain, oh the pain. It was all just so absurd and ridiculous and sucky. Tears were all I had. Somewhere between sobs, though, I dug out my big girl undies and started finding solutions, seeing the grace and leaning into the generosity of others. It’s hard for this Type A momma to admit she needs help. None of us likes to wave the white flag, do we?

But it’s always in the moments of our brokenness that God’s light shines brightest. When our vulnerable heart cracks open, his love seeps in and takes over. While I am frustrated at this new 6-week bump in the road, I am grateful for many things: a clean break, two awesome doctors, a safe Gianna, helpful kids, a loving husband and so many generous friends and family. This #firstworldproblem just became a heavy dose of #godsgrace

Here’s hoping the rest of the week is as boring as possible. And also? Pass the beer and ibuprofen.


  1. Claire on July 7, 2015 at 9:14 pm

    Oh no! I am so sorry to hear this. Please be careful this weekend. Having an immobilized leg is a risk factor for blood clots, as is flying (I’m sure the doctor told you that). Prayers for an uneventful remainder of your summer!

    • Kathryn on July 14, 2015 at 3:42 pm

      I followed doctor’s orders and he was proud of me. Whew! I’m walking as much as the pain will allow and moving my foot lots. Thanks for the reminder!

  2. Natalie on July 7, 2015 at 9:43 pm

    Kathryn, so sorry to hear about this! Touching to read about your oldest helping you get the care you needed. Take care.

  3. Maureen on July 7, 2015 at 9:54 pm

    Hi Kathryn,

    My thoughts and prayers are with you. I arrived in florida today to visit with two of my brothers. God bless all!


  4. Lori on July 7, 2015 at 11:14 pm

    Prayers for God’s grace for you and your family.

  5. Laurel on July 7, 2015 at 11:32 pm

    Ow! Prayers for quick healing and recovery!
    Glad you are still able to make it to Edel. 🙂

  6. Kammi on July 8, 2015 at 1:43 am

    Maybe God’s way of making you slow down and just “be” for a bit. I had something similar happen to me recently, and I was so mad at the timing and the inconvenience of it all. I eventually decided that it may have been just what I needed. (could have done without the pain and uncomfortable ickness of it all, but hey. )
    Sending many many blessings, love and light for a speedy recovery and prayers for a safe surgery!

    • Kathryn on July 14, 2015 at 3:40 pm

      The first few days after the fall I was very frustrated. But now I have no choice but to lean in and bask in the love.

  7. Bonnie on July 8, 2015 at 6:10 am

    Ah, you poor dear. God bless Will and I’m so glad you still get to go to Edel. Have fun, K!

  8. Ann-Marie on July 8, 2015 at 7:11 am

    Ouch, ouch, ouch. I am so sorry. Prayers for a swift recovery and a great weekend at Edel.

  9. Beth (A Moms Life) on July 8, 2015 at 7:18 am

    I’m so glad you can still make it to Edel. Praying for a smooth surgery and a quick recovery for you. And Will sounds like such a great kid!

  10. Mary Lee on July 8, 2015 at 8:12 am

    Ouch! I spent the last 4 weeks in a boot and soft cast… 30 weeks pregnant and with a pre schooler and toddler in tow…. So I feel a fraction of your pain! Hang in there mama, 6 weeks will fly by!

    • Kathryn on July 14, 2015 at 3:39 pm

      One week down, five to go! YOU are a rock star.

  11. Nicole on July 8, 2015 at 8:43 am

    That mama bear instinct is real. You must be so thankful that she isn’t hurt, that Will is a rock star, and that you are surrounded by people that love and care for you. I am sure you will be off to a running start in no time! Take care of you, and listen to doctor’s orders. 🙂

  12. Catholic Lawyer Mama on July 8, 2015 at 8:46 am

    Oh my! Praying for you!!! Gosh, you poor thing. As someone who is also a very Type A, very scheduled type of person who hates asking for help, I can only imagine how difficult this is for you. Prayers. Get well soon!!!!!!!

    • Kathryn on July 14, 2015 at 3:38 pm

      It is hard, but the love of everyone who wants to help is such a beautiful sight. That makes it easier 🙂

  13. Verdina on July 8, 2015 at 12:46 pm

    Oh, my gosh! All I can say is thank God for Will and his ability to take charge! I know he did get to camp because I saw his picture on FB there. Try to relax and bask in the love.

    God bless you and your family!


  14. Madeline on July 8, 2015 at 4:15 pm

    How neat the doctor’s wife is going to Edel! That’s amazing. I will pray that your travels are safe and your surgery goes as well as possible!!

  15. Connie on July 8, 2015 at 10:44 pm

    Oh my! So sorry his happened to you. Will is as amazing as Scott was at his age!
    Hope you heal quickly and pray you have more help than you need! Love team Whitaker!
    Love, Connie

  16. Railey C on July 10, 2015 at 7:13 pm

    Hi Kathryn,
    I’m so sorry to hear about your injuries. I am also in a be patient, rest and heal season due to multiple foot fractures, ligament tears and soft tissue damage I recieved while on a mini vacation with hubby to Oxford. I missed the last step off the train completely on day one of our long awaited trip. We have 5 children:) I have been slowly learning that healing takes a lot of energy so rest as well and as often as you can, it’s necessary and good. Be kind to yourself and don’t minimize the pain or situation. Open your arms and heart to the sweetness and blessings of the care of others. It won’t be the way you do things, but things will get done. I will pray that your surgery goes smoothly and you heal completely(read more patience required)
    God will reveal so much to you as you rest and wait on Him!

    • Kathryn on July 14, 2015 at 3:38 pm

      Oh, Railey, that sounds so painful! It is very hard for me to ask for help. I always feel like I’m inconveniencing someone. There are so many gracious people in our life and I’m learning to lean into that love.

  17. Lew on July 11, 2015 at 2:59 pm

    Sorry about your fall. I teared up reading about how awesome Will was. Good job raising helpful, selfless, responsible and compassionate kids.

    How crazy that the doctor’s wife was going to Edel! Have a great time. I hope you met her at the conference.

    • Kathryn on July 14, 2015 at 3:36 pm

      We did meet and she was just so gracious. Small, small world!

  18. Amanda on July 11, 2015 at 4:50 pm

    Oh no, that stinks! Flip flops are dangerous things, our local schools all banned them sometime halfway through high school and the tripping hazard was the biggest reason.

    Your son Will, aw, be still my heart! He’s so sweet to take care of his mom like that! I hope you feel better soon and are able to enjoy Edel.

    • Kathryn on July 14, 2015 at 3:36 pm

      I enjoyed every minute. Thank you!

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