Monday, June 18, 2007

Our Not-so Humerus Birthday Party

Lillian's Broken ArmIf you recall, Valentine's Day 2007 was punctuated by a not-so-random snow boarding accident that resulted in a trip to the emergency room and a cast on Spencer's right arm for the next six weeks.

I figured I was good for the next 13 years. One broken bone every 13 years, that's not too bad. Ha!

I say it again. Ha!

It was Lillian's birthday and in the middle of the festivities she was standing on the chair that we prop next to the trampoline so the children can get on and off easily (without jumping off and breaking a leg is the reasoning). Well, she was on the chair and it tipped over. She fell and I heard the screaming even from my position at the kitchen sink.

It didn't seem like much of a fall for all the noise she was making but her elbow started to swell. So much for cake and ice cream to say nothing of opening presents. I thought I'd wait until the next morning to see if it was better but come daylight it wasn't any less swollen or painful.

I got into the pediatrician at 10am and 5 1/2 hours later--read that again people, 5 1/2 hours later--she too had her very own cast. The pediatrician sent us to radiology for x-rays, radiology sent us back with the films, they then sent us to an orthopedic surgeon where we waited for an hour. Apparently it was a bad supracondylar fracture of the left humerus.

Evidently young childrens' elbows often hyper-extend so that when they break a fall with their arms out the backwards compression breaks the bone near the elbow. The doctor would have to set her bones. Of course, who would expect an orthopedic surgeon to actually have painkillers on hand for that kind of a thing so we had to wait another hour as we went to the pharmacy, got the prescription filled then waited for the drugs to take effect.

By then it was 2pm. We finally got in for the actual casting and it was nasty. Nothing like seeing your child on the table looking up at you as the doctor pushes her bones back into place, tears streaming down her cheeks from the pain, to make you feel horrible. Just horrible. I would have taken the pain for her fifty times over if I could have.

Then more x-rays. And more x-rays. And even more. Six more sets to be exact bringing our total to 10. At $200 a pop you do the math--and we've had more since then as well and can expect to have another set each week as he wants to see her every seven days until it's healed. I'm starting to think that maybe Andrew should have gone into medicine.

But the good news is they've pretty much ruled out surgery and they haven't carted me away for being the World's Worst Mother. And to tell you the truth I was a little nervous about someone finding out Spencer had broken his arm recently--like they'd start to "look into" things or something. Luckily we had a different set of doctors and I was pretty vocal about mentioning the vast number of witnesses at the party that saw the accident happen. Nothing to see here folks, go about your business.

I'm starting to get pretty good with helping crippled children out--bathing children with plastic bubble-wrapped limbs and such--I'm hoping that I've used up my allotment of broken bones for the next couple decades.

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62 comments:

my4kids said...

So sorry to hear about Lillians broken arm! And at her birthday party even....what a way to celebrate! Hope it heals nicely and quickly.
I had similar thoughts when Izzak burned his leg only 2 1/2 months after breaking his arm. I was convinced I would be receiving one of those calls or something...

Anonymous said...

Last I heard, when a bone is broken they no longer put a cast on it right away. They make ya go home and go see the orthpedic later in the week...then the swelling has gone down and the ortho puts the cast on. No more putting-on-casts at the ER around here...So I'm mighty surprised to hear that Lillian got casted the very next day...Terri B.

la bellina mammina said...

Ouch - that must have hurt a lot - Hope Lilian is not in a lot of pain now though.

Robin said...

Oh no, poor Lillian, that must have been a bad break :(, and on her birthday nonetheless. My husband broke his elbow a few months ago and they wouldn't cast it at all, said he actually had to keep moving it for it to heal properly. That must have been a different bone or different kind of break I guess.

Best wishes to Lillian for a full and quick recovery, and an extra hug (or should that be a stiff drink) to mom for all you've been through too.

jchevais said...

World's Worst Mother? Excuse me?

Sorry lady, that ain't going to happen.

Sorry to hear about Lillian's bobo.

If nothing else, she's building character. At least, that's what I tell myself each time one of my kids scruffs himself/herself up.

AuthorMomWithDogs said...

How to build birthday memories... I have a few of those. And a broken bone right before summer? Murphy's Law.

Hope both mom and daughter recover quickly.

Mary Alice said...

I waited two days and kept telling my son to stop being so dramatic about his wrist....oops. Nothing like waiting and being wrong about a break in your child's BONES to make you feel lower than a pile of dung. Awful. I still guilty 10 years later.

Hope she feels better soon.

Babystepper said...

She does look just a touch nervous in that picture. Poor Lillian. I'm sorry her birthday was so traumatic. She'll be able to use this for the rest of her life, you know.

"Kids, when I was little, I broke my elbow at my birthday party and it hurt so bad..."

Blondie said...

Well, I suppose it had to happen sooner or later. I broke my wrist and my shoulder in high school. Ugh. But I really must say, she looks adorable in that photo.

susan said...

Your family has luck like ours, well my husband anyway. There was the emergency appendectomy on the 4th of July, just days before our 2-week vacation with plane tickets and accomodations... Then there was the Christmas he was in bed high on demerol for the kidney stone, and the Other Christmas Eve emergency surgery for - well no need to give away all his secrets... you get the idea. He cringes at every holiday now.

I hope your little one emerges from this fine and dandy, with only stories to tell.

Melissa R. Garrett said...

Oh my goodness :-(

Don't you hate the runaround you get? When you're child is in pain, you don't want to have to wait forever and drive here and yonder. How terrible for everyone, and I hope she's feeling much better now.

I had a similar experience with Hannah when she was five - not with broken bones or anything. But she was very sick and complaining of bone and joint pain A LOT. The doctors couldn't figure out what was wrong and started testing for things like rheumatoid arthritis and leukemia. It took three nurses to hold her down to be able to draw blood, and she was kicking and screaming the entire time. Thankfully, it turned out to be just mono. But I know how you must have felt - watching Lillian cry on the table. ACK - heartwrenching.

dcrmom said...

OH NO!! But she's such a cutie.

Megan@SortaCrunchy said...

Oh, bless her heart! Bless your heart, too! A birthday party that no one in your family will soon forget. May her healing be far less painful and take less time than anyone imagined!

G's Cottage said...

Our daughter decided (at age 6) to practice cartwheels on her "silky blanket" because it was softer; she found out it was slipperier too. I was cooking dinner for a new mom at the time. I was within view of the family room but facing the stove when I heard the "oohh". She was uncrumpling on the floor and then next sight just about dumped my cookies. She could almost touch her elbow with her hand of the same arm. The day's newspaper had just arrived so I grabbed it and folded it to support the whole mess, taped it up and dumped ice in the 'wedge'. ER did not remove it they xrayed the whole thing. And yes it was new xrays and cast every 10 days for 4 months and then 3 months of a daytime guard.

Whoever says girls don't give you heart failure doesn't get it. Welcome to the club.

The decision to cast is no longer "automatic;" many more issues are taken into account and almost never is one cast left for more than a couple of weeks because it is bad for the skin and unsanitary (you don't want to know what's growing under there).

Julie Pippert said...

Oh poor little thing! Here's hoping for a swift recovery for her. Look at that brave face, even a smile.

chilihead said...

That's a bummer! I hate that helpless feeling we have to endure as mothers when we can't take the pain for them.

She's a doll, though. Just cute as can be. Happy belated birthday! Tell your mom Chili said you should get double cake and ice cream until your arm heals.

Leslie said...

Ouch! What a brave little girl! I hope she's feeling better now - and you, too.

Magpie said...

Poor kidlet! I can't believe the orthopedist had no painkillers - that's just nuts. Hope she's better soon.

Patois said...

I hope she's feeling mighty fine by now. And that you're doing better, too.

Chris said...

Ouch! I had tears just reading that. That's a tough one for Mommy.

I think everyone worries that the doctors think the worst. Kids get hurt. That's what kids do.

I knew someone who took her kid to the hospital after she fell off a slide. Mom took her- b/c kids want their Moms- but she hadn't seen what happened. The Dad did- he was home with the other kid. They gave her a hard time about it. "Why didn't he take her, etc?" They made her really nervous. Luckily, the girl was old enough to tell them what happened herself.

Daisy said...

Oh, my! Best wishes to Lillian -- and to you.

Jenn in Holland said...

You had me at "bad super condylar fracture of the left humerus"
Nobody says it like you can!

Sorry about the 'nother broken bone. At our house it is head injuries, 2 big ones each for each of the big kids--lotsa blood and grossness. So we've reached our limit and I have declared our family a head injury free zone. Go ahead and stake your claim for no more broken bones... I am sure you'll get your wish.

Lots of love to Lillian! Speedy healing!

Marie said...

I broke both my arms falling off a hourse when I was 10. Not a fun summer. I hope Lillian is able to still make the most of the long warm days.

mayberry said...

A birthday to remember! Hope Lillian is doing OK today. And you too!

girlymama said...

Poor Lillian! (And poor mama!)

She was very brave!!!

Heather said...

Ohhh, poor poppet! And she looks like she's being all stiff-upper-lippy about it! I'm dreading the day one of my kids gets a cast. My teenager fractured her wrist the day before my due date with my son, but the hospital told us it was fine. 3 weeks later, her doctor called and said it should have had a cast - nice. Then my son had hip-to-toe casts every week for seven months after he was born and that royally sucked, but at least I knew he wasn't in pain for the most part.

Imagine a hospital having drugs on hand for things like that? Wouldn't THAT be a concept?

Jessakah said...

sorry, this is off topic, but i just came across ur blog...

LOVE the pic at the top!! WOW

Stie: My Favorite Things said...

Oh, I've had to have broken bones set, and there is no pain like that. Gimme childbirth without an epidural before you set my broken arm again, thank you very much.

Poor baby! What a crummy way to start the summer!

Peggy said...

We have yet to experience broken bones with our kids - I have a feeling it will be #3 who sends us to the ER. It will certainly be a birthday to remember.

Scribbit said...

I think you're right about not casting bones right away, that was Spencer's experience. I think this one was bad enough that they wanted a loose cast around her swollen arm so save her the pain. They actually cut it along the bottom and wrapped it in an ace bandage as a kind of splint. Then when we went in to have it checked the doctor said that it was looking good enough that a new cast (i.e. new pain and pushing) wasn't necessary.

An Ordinary Mom said...

Poor Lillian! What a way to celebrate her birthday.

She certainly has a brave face on in that picture. Poor little girl. I would have lost it, too, watching her cry in pain.

Tendrils said...

Poor Girl! :( That'll be one memorable Birthday Party....I'm sure it'll be brought up often as she gets older!

janet said...

Ouch! Poor girl.

Sign her cast for me and give her my wish for a speeding recovery. :)

Cagey said...

Poor thing!

On a serious note, you had a valid point about being concerned with what the ER docs would think/say since you were just in for broken bones. It's sad that when children have accidents, one of the first things we think about is what the doctors will say. I can't but think it either every time my kid gets a bruise.

kddub said...

wow, poor thing!

Marie N. said...

Oh how agonizing to watch. Hopefully the painful part is overwith.

I put my parents through a wringer - at 5 I broke my wrist imitating a gymnast cousin. At 8 I gave myself a hernia imiataing an acrobat/dancer cousin.

Corrie said...

Sorry about the broken arm and the medical bills. Ouch and just in time for summer.

They have water-proof casts now. My hubby had one for his leg. It makes it easier for showering.

Loralee Choate said...

ACK! Poor, little mite! With the amount of bad luck and medical drama I have had in my life, I have never broken a bone and I am really afraid of it.

She looks like a trooper.

(And OUCH! On the medical bills!)

Amy said...

Lillian knows how to start her birthday with a bang. Poor thing! That sounded like a nightmare for all of you!

Rebecca said...

Bravo to Lillian, and you, for being so brave. Hopefully she'll have fun getting the cast signed... which could be a good opportunity to teach her the merits of positive thinking and silver linings...!?

The Wooden Porch said...

Poor little thing. I know what you mean about standing by and watching your sweet child undergoing something awful at a doctors. I hope she heals quickly and the insurance will not give you grief.

sara - The Estrogen Files said...

Poor poor baby. I hope she's doing better. What a rotten present.

Char said...

I hope she is feeling better soon! I broke my arm on my 6th birthday - playing around in the backyard.

Ally Bean said...

Poor babies-- you and her. A birthday to remember.

Michelle A. said...

Wow, what a day for her and you. I know what you mean about takin the pain for the, if only we could. Take care of yourself as I know you'll take great care of Lillian!

K T Cat said...

Poor poppet! So sad to break a bone on your birthday. Luckily she's got great parents to see her through. Give her a big hug for us.

Jen said...

Oh NO! Poor Lillian! And you had a much worse experience than J and I did this week. Is she feeling better now?

Schelle said...

Oh dear! I'll pray it heals quickly and well...

kailani said...

Poor thing! And at her birthday party! Hope she's not too uncomfortable!

subarctic mama said...

Best wishes for fast healing. Happy belated birthday too. I'll keep my fingers crossed for you on future holidays.

Poppy Fields said...

That's one birthday Lillian will remember, poor girl.
My oldest broke her arm near the elbow when she fell off the computer chair. I tried to make her go to bed thinking that it coudn't possibly be broken from such a short fall, but at midnight we ended up going to the ER when it was obvious she was in too much pain.

chelle said...

Oh looking at her in that photo ... she is so totally trying to be brave! Terrible! Sending quick heal vibes!

Amy W said...

So sorry to hear about her elbow...very scary I am sure.

And I would have wanted to take her pain away as well...

Stephanie said...

Um your kids may not play with mine. It might be contagious! :)

Poor baby! At least mom is experienced this time!

Damselfly said...

You should be absolved of all trips to the hospital until 2024.

:: Suzanne :: said...

yikes.

My kids are always doing things that make my parents give me the "aren't you going to stop them, they could break something" look (which is pretty rich considering how my Dad got hurt). I usually say, "hey! they could break something falling out of bed or off a chair! - I'm resigned to a few breaks!"

Now I have a real story to back up my 'falling off a chair' line.

What a sweet smile she has.

:: Suzanne :: said...

humerus


har-har

JAM said...

First of all, I'll get the important stuff out of the way. What beautiful child!

Now, to business. I love the proud look on kids faces when they have their first cast. Once all the screamin' and cryin' is done, then they start to plot the impending signatures.

You need to buy her one of those new little Sharpie permanent markers that has the string to wear it around her neck. "Hey, can I sign your cast? No, darnit, I don't have a pen." Your daughter, "That's OK, I just happent to have a Sharpie right here around my neck!"

Also, she's lucky too, that with you as her mother, she won't have any trouble getting her pipe lit.

(Am I going to have to go to the hot place for that last remark?)

Lisa Milton said...

Hope she bounces back fast - poor thing!

And I hope you bounce back too. It's tough managing a cast when it's finally nice outside.

eve said...

look at her! such a tiny thing with a big cast! horrible. we had to wait 4 hours when my sond appendix burst. He was only 3. They really need a faster system for hurt and sick children. That's just torturous.

Anjali said...

Oh, poor baby. Hope she has a speedy recovery!

Christie said...

ohmigosh!!!! two children with broken bones!!! my my my you're getting some experience! i'm so sorry!! hope she's feeling better!!!!