Daughter had her fracture clinic follow up this afternoon. I had called this morning to book the appointment only to be told it was already booked and it was in a few hours.
Say again? No one from the hospital called us, it’s only been 5 days since she was seen and yesterday was a holiday, so how can she be booked already?
Sigh. Thank goodness her dad is at home. I called my mom to see if she could come over to watch the baby and then called daughter’s school advising them that she was being picked up early. Husband texted me from the clinic that it was busy and he would be late picking up our son from preschool. I re-arranged my patient bookings so I could pick him up and take him home.
As I was about to leave to get my son, I received this text from husband.
I hated that I wasn’t there for my daughter. I called husband and told him my plan of getting our son, taking him home to my mom and then coming to the hospital. I was going to cancel the rest of my day. I spoke with my little girl and she was obviously crying, “I don’t want surgery, Mommy.” I tried to be as calm and upbeat as I could telling her that the doctors weren’t sure yet and we needed to wait to find out what the x-rays showed. Hubby then took the phone away and said they were going for the x-rays and hung up.
I got home about thirty minutes later and anxiously waited for news. I kept telling myself that its not a big deal if she needs surgery, after all husband had a similar fracture when he was 12, they would have matching scars! But the thought of her being put under a general anesthetic and having her skin cut open and her bones screwed back together – ugh, it was awful.
Finally, I got service back on my phone and a flurry of texts came in.
“New cast for 2 weeks.”
And then … “Done and coming home.”
I gave her the biggest hug when I saw her and her fancy new cast.
Thank you for the wonderful job you did yesterday changing my daughter’s cast but we, her parents, didn’t really appreciate being completely ignored. In the future, both my husband and I would appreciate you also explaining cast care to us because although the patient, our daughter, may appear to be listening to you and nodding her head, you have to realize that a 5-year-old has the attention span of a newt and she isn’t going to remember anything you said.
Thank you for seeing my patient, however, how you managed to confuse a brain tumor with a skin condition is beyond me. Your consult note says my patient had a brain tumor removed a few years ago. Really? Are you sure it wasn’t a basal cell carcinoma? Suddenly my patient’s weakness and dizziness takes on a whole other thing when you write that she had a brain tumor. She did not have a brain tumor removed. When she pointed to her forehead and said she had a cancer removed, you should have asked her to be more specific. Getting a patient’s medical history is the first thing we learn in medical school!
I suppose it was bound to happen the way she swings around on those monkey bars. Last Friday after school I got a call from my husband that she fell off the monkey bars and probably broke her wrist.
You know that sudden feeling in the pit of your stomach you get when you know something is wrong? That’s the feeling I got when I heard my husband’s voice. He is not one to panic or think the worst so for him to say he thought it was broken I knew it was serious and I knew he was probably right.
I’ve never broken a bone so I have no idea how painful it is but I know it hurts. I’ve seen both adults and children with broken bones. When I got home and saw my daughter’s tear-stricken face and the tell-tale swelling of her little wrist my fears were realized. She was cradling her arm so carefully and refused to allow us to touch it or put it in a sling. My heart broke for her. I never wanted her to experience that kind of pain. What parent does?
The six-hour wait in the ER was long. She wasn’t allowed to eat in case she needed conscious sedation to set the fracture. It took two hours after the x-ray to see the doctor who ushered us into the orthopedic room where the casting supplies were. The ER doctor was a lovely young female resident in her second year of training and she was very calm and comforting to my daughter. I asked her how many casts she’d done that day and she smiled when she answered. She’d done five including my daughter and all were children who’d suffered injuries on the playground. My little girl was so brave and admittedly scared when the cast was being applied. She didn’t want anyone touching her arm because it hurt. Thankfully the doctor ordered some Advil and Tylenol to take the edge off a bit and it seemed to work.
She suffered what appeared to be a greenstick fracture of her distal radius.From www.kidshealth.org – a greenstick fracture is a partial fracture in which one side of the bone is broken and the other side bends (this fracture resembles what would happen if you tried to break a green stick). It is a common fracture in kids and is considered an incomplete fracture as their bones are softer than adult bones. Children’s bones are more likely to bend than break completely.
She was put into a thumb radial gutter cast because she had a bit of tenderness in one of the wrist bones as well so the ER doctor wanted to make sure to immobilize the thumb in case there was a second fracture that wasn’t visible on the x-ray. It is a temporary cast and is open on the ulnar aspect of her arm in order to allow for swelling. In a week or two we will go to the fracture clinic where she’ll have another x-ray and likely be put into a fiberglass cast for a few more weeks.
I’m thankful that she landed on her left arm as she is right-hand dominant and loves to draw. Within 12 hours of the cast being put on she had already started decorating it.
My little girl is one tough little cookie. While I never want her to experience physical pain ever again, my husband reminded me that this was an important lesson for her to learn. She is vulnerable and can get hurt. I hope she is a little more careful the next time she climbs those monkey bars again but I realize that every time she falls off, she will be determined to get back up again, even if I want don’t want her to. If I had my way, she’d never climb those monkey bars again! 😉