On Friday, March 6th Ana was out playing on the trampoline. And she fell off. But before you get all high and mighty about how unsafe trampolines are, she wasn’t even being wild or dangerous. She was walking backwards and thinking she was closer to the center than she was, stepped off the side. She landed on her back but managed to break the fall with her right arm. It could of just as easily happened stepping off a curb. She was more shocked than anything else and barely cried. Simeon sent her inside to take a break (poor choice of words, in hind site) and before too long she was back to playing as if nothing had happened.
Then about an hour after we put her to bed she came downstairs crying. Thinking she had a nightmare or woke up disoriented, we comforted her and tried to get her back to sleep. We tucked her back in and gave her water (as parents do) and it wasn’t until that moment that she mentioned her arm was hurting. As we had gone through all the “wiggle your fingers,” “does this hurt?” “can you bend it?” like we see on movies or TV and everything checked out ok, I figured it was simply bruised. Maybe sprained. But since it was now close to 9:30pm the doctor’s office and Urgent Cares were all closed and the only option would have been the ER. None of us wanted to spend the night in the emergency room, so we gave Ana some Children’s Tylenol and put her to bed explaining that we would see how she felt in the morning.
The next day, Saturday, she got up and went about her day as usual and didn’t mention her arm once. We figured that was the end of it.
Sunday morning I took Ana to her sacramental prep class and I went to mass. Then we decided since it was just the two of us (Simeon and Hadley were at home) to run by the mall and do some shopping. She was happily picking out clothes to try on and it wasn’t until she was sitting on the ground trying on jeans that she tried to push herself off the ground with her right arm. She dropped to the ground, wincing in pain, and started to cry. It was then I realized that maybe it was more serious than we realized.
After a few frantic texts with Sim, I called our pediatrician’s office. They have Urgent Care hours on the weekend by appointment. Until noon. I looked at my watch and it was 12:10pm. Naturally. So I called around to the Urgent Care’s in the area to see if they had imagining. The last thing I wanted to do was take her somewhere only to be sent somewhere else for X-rays. Luckily Scholls Immediate Care was just down the road and they had imagining. It wasn’t until I walked in the door that I realized it was the same place I took Hadley for her broken leg. Ana was very nervous but they were amazing. Before we even finished checking in they told us they were ready for Ana in X-rays.
The X-ray tech was awesome. He explained everything he was doing as he went so Ana would know what was happening. Then he asked her if she wanted to see her bones. Who would ever turn down that offer? So he showed her which bones made up her arm, her wrist, her finger, etc. I snapped a picture with my phone and sent it to Sim. He instantly replied back “Great! Nothing is broken!” But I replied that I didn’t know how to read x-rays so I wasn’t getting my hopes up.
Then we were taken into the exam room and they took all her vitals and asked a bunch of questions. The doctor came in, looked at me, and asked Ana if she brought her fan club. I explained that I was simply the chauffeur. Then she pulled out the X-Ray and I instantly noticed the little arrows she had drawn on the paper. I uttered “Uh oh.” and Ana’s eyes opened wide in panic. I said, “Do you notice anything that wasn’t there before?” Then Ana saw it too. So the doctor explained (to Ana, since she was the patient, after all) that children’s bones aren’t hard like adult bones. They are soft because they are still growing. And since her bones were soft, they can break and not be as obvious as a crack or line on an X-ray. In Ana’s case, she pointed to the little “bumps” on the outside of her radius bone (one of the large bones in the forearm) on the X-ray, her bones were leaking microscopic amounts of fluid. They consider this a fracture. Since it wasn’t a severe break, all we needed to do was to stabilize it with a splint or a cast. The doctor was incredible. In my experience, people tend to dismiss children and talk over them. But she talked TO HER and explained everything so Ana knew what was happening. She didn’t dumb it down or talk down to her. She just told it like it was. It put Ana at ease and I was very impressed with the doctor’s bedside manner.
Then we were given instructions to follow up with a orthopedic specialist but until then Ana needed to wear a temporary splint. A nurse came in and wrapped Ana up.
Ana smiled and giggled through the entire process.
We weren’t able to get an appointment with the doctor until Tuesday afternoon. The splint was cumbersome and left her right hand nearly useless. Ana had to do everything (eating, writing, etc.) left handed. Let’s just say, we were very anxious to see the doctor.
Since we had already taken X-rays we just had to wait for the orthopedist to make a decision about what to do next. He came in and talked with Ana and explained that she would need to wear a cast for one month. It would stabilize her arm and allow it to properly heal.
Now it was time for the fun part! She got to pick out the color cast she wanted from a bright necklace of cast samples. Ana quickly decided on purple. She declared it was a lucky cast color.
The tech slid a sleeve over Ana’s arm and proceeded to apply the cast material, shaping and molding as she went. Hadley and I got to just sit back and watch the show.
We had to admit, the purple cast was pretty badass.
After wearing that wrapped splint for several days, Ana was thoroughly impressed with the increased mobility the cast offered. The tech purposefully applied it low on/around her hand so she would be able to use it. As soon as we got into the car, Ana put it to the test and happily reported she could write with her right hand again!
Our next stop was Fred Meyer to pick up some Sharpie’s (metallic colors, since the cast was so dark) so her friends could decorate her cast. This girl was feeling the love and every single inch was filled with friends wishing her well.
Skip ahead to one month later (and numerous skipped baths) it was time to get her cast off! We had the same friendly tech who, upon seeing Ana’s nervous expression, explained that it was a special tool that just vibrated enough to cut through the cast but NOT skin. She even demonstrated on her own arm. It was loud like a vacuum and made Ana giggle through the entire process. Before we knew it, the cast was off! And Ana was free…to wash her hand for the first time in a month! She promptly washed (twice) and was feeling much better!
Then she was sent off to take another set of X-rays to make sure everything was better. So we waited for the doctor to come back with the verdict.
He came in and proclaimed Ana’s arm healed! But he said she still needed to take it easy for awhile longer. He wanted her to wear a brace for the next month when she was at school or playing, simply as a reminder to her–and her friends–to protect her arm. But she was happy to hear she could take it off to shower and sleep.
I was very impressed by the whole situation. It could have been so much worse and we really got off easy. I’m mostly impressed with Ana for being so brave and handling it all like a rockstar.