Friday, March 7

the one we missed

So Adam broke his arm (radius & ulna) in January.  I had been out of town when he fell off a kitchen stool and shot out his hands to break the fall.  I heard that night about how he said his arm was hurting, and how Dustin looked him over and thought his shoulder/elbow/wrist were fine.  The next day he was babying it (I'm still out of town) but the consensus is that he was sore, bruised, something - he'd still pick things up and play and such.  But by Sunday - he had fallen Friday evening - I was headed back home and Dustin says something is probably wrong with him and he's just not...right.  So I come home (first time I've left him alone, really) and he's all happy to see me.  I brought two dear friends with me and he was his charming little self.  But his arm!  His arm was just not right.  It was hanging funny and he cringed if you touched his forearm.  So it seemed entirely likely that it was, in fact, broken.

I took him to the pediatrician on Monday (after seeing the ER bill for Paige, we'd like to avoid that place).  She sends me a block away to a pediatric radiologist.  They xray him, and then I meet the radiologist.  Everyone knows you never meet the radiologist.  Yes, she says.  His arm is broken, both bones are involved.  But that's not all.  His arm has clearly been broken for at least two or three weeks.  Being that we are around this boy pretty much all the time, I was taken aback.  But I continue back to the pediatrician as my mind is rather frantically trying to figure out how this is possible.  So then (it was a long day) the pediatrician just happens to find a pediatric orthopedic surgeon that will check him out during lunch (I am also in shock at this point that this pediatrician doesn't xray or set bones in house?!)  Adam and I drive to the ortho, they take more xrays (long day), and then he comes in and tells me the reason we are actually there is because child abuse needed to be ruled out, as the break is definitely not 3 days old.  And even though I kind of wondered if that would be brought up, it was harder to hear out loud, truth or not.  I felt a little sick to my stomach, to be honest.  The doctor said it wasn't.  No questioning me, no asking Adam.  Just...nope.  I must have been pale by then because he started telling me stories about other toddler patients (man, I feel for those fellow wild kids' parents).  He got a blue cast and we were ushered into the fiberglass club with an appointment scheduled for 2 weeks later.

At first I couldn't boggled my mind to think that his arm had been broken for so long already.  I rejected this completely.  He has hung from monkey bars, been swung by his arms, and we always pull him up by his hands.  He plays and draws and throws.  Surely that must have hurt, right?  Adam adjusted pretty well to the cast all in all, but sleeping was a hurdle and he stayed out of sorts for a while.  We went back after 2 weeks, cast cut off, xrays, great improvement (I think the first photo is of this visit, and you can see the new shoots of bone growth on the sides), but new green cast for 2 more weeks.  I asked him how this was possible.  How is it even possible?  Was the break this big to begin with?  How did I not notice?  Why wouldn't I notice?  He nodded sagely and said lots of technical terms that I don't remember and said it was very likely that the initial injury was a hairline fracture and that the reinjury on the already weakened bones caused such a large, jagged break.  I can understand that.  He also said that young children have entirely different nervous systems than adults - developmentally speaking - and it could easily have not bothered him much, or not noticeably at all - like a bruise only hurts when you press on it.

But you know what?  I was bothered.  Our boy fell sometime (who even knows when) so hard that he cracked two of his bones.  And we missed it.  I felt really guilty, even though I couldn't change any of it - and would likely react the same way.  Kids fall down, have bumps, bruises, scrapes.  I just...I don't know.  We missed it.

He's all the way better now.  He wore his green cast for another 2 weeks and then we were sent home with a 1/2 arm brace for 2 more.  The brace has been added to the doctor kit and he is now The Authority on wrapping arms with the ace bandage "cast".  The PA who casted him both times was fantastic and Adam invited him to "come play with tools" after his last appointment.  He used this vacuum/sawzall deal called the Tickle Machine to get his casts off - Adam also asked Al if he could borrow it some time.  "I could borrow it.  And, you know, show all my friends the Tickle Machine.  I do really like it."  Resilience.

1 comment:

mirandagail said...

We have ALL had these moments!! You are a GREAT mom!!