Last week I feared that my preemie’s sickness would land us back in the hospital, but it was my 5 year old daughter that ended up hospitalized.
Saturday, as we were just about to walk out the door to go to a local foodie festival, Ruby ran out the door early, as usual. A minute later I heard her come running into the house sobbing.
I handed the baby off to someone and ran to see what happened.
As soon as I scooped her into my lap, sitting down on the foyer stairs, I knew something was very wrong with her arm. It seemed a few inches too long, her elbow puffy and soft like one of those gigantic marshmallows.
(Check out this image for an idea. See the arm-way-too-long thing? Yeah.)
I yelled for my husband to call 911. “She needs go to the hospital!” Then I mouthed to him so she wouldn’t hear, “Her arm is broken.”
At this point she was whimpering and as white as a sheet, but fortunately completely still in my lap. A few minutes later the firemen arrived and gave her a once over while the ambulance came.
I couldn’t believe how quiet she was at this point, knowing that she must be in terrible pain. I think she was in shock. When the EMTs arrived I carried her to the ambulance and carefully laid her down on the stretcher. (The worst part for me was having to leave her back there with them while I sat in the front. Stupid rules!)
She often swings and hangs on the tree in our front yard, and evidently the branch she was holding on to broke. She told us this later and we also saw the branch in question, snapped close to the tree.
That night an orthopedic surgeon put her upper arm back onto her lower and secured it with pins, then covered it with an open cast, which will be closed in a week. In two weeks the pins will come out (I don’t even want to think about what that entails, although the Doctor says they come out easily.).
For the first few days she was in a lot of pain, sleepy from medication, and not willing to move much, but yesterday afternoon when she heard some of the neighborhood kids in the yard, before I knew what happened she was walking out the back door.
At this point she needs help eating, using the bathroom, and moving off the couch, making me feel as if I have two infants instead of one. But thankfully she stopped needing pain meds yesterday (those “liver damage” warnings on the box are scary).
I’m loading her up with calcium, magnesium, Vitamin D3, pineapple (which, according to my nurse-sister, is supposed to be eaten with cottage cheese, but so far I haven’t been able to get that combo in her) and gelatin.
Who knows, this broken arm may be the best thing that’s happened to her social life.
(As if I didn’t have enough kids already, there are always 4-8 extra kids in my front yard when school’s out.)
Ruby has a tendency to be very goal-oriented, focused and determined, and that sometimes means she doesn’t slow down enough to consider other people’s feelings. Having to sit on the sidelines and watch other people play, or figure out how to involve them in her (sedentary) activities is forcing her to slow down and think about others, and that can’t be a bad thing.
For the first time since having kids, I wish I had a pet to help keep her company. A neighbor brought her dogs over and while the kids jumped on the trampoline (with Ruby just watching), the dogs loved on Ruby.
The worst part of this is that Ruby won’t be able to keep up her usual busy, climbing, swinging, jumping, active schedule for another two months, at least. The conversation with the Doctor went like this:
“After her cast comes off, she’ll be on limited activity. You’ll have to keep her away from scooters, bicycles, playgrounds, trampolines, things like that.”
“You just described our backyard.”
Which means by the time we can take her to a playground again, it will be winter. In a word, that sucks. We usually spend lots of time outdoors this time of year. And she just learned how to ride a bike (she skipped training wheels!) last week. I’m not sure how to entertain her and keep her away from the siren call of screens while also respecting “limited activity”.
Incidentally, she broke her leg when she was 2 and has no memory of it. I showed her the photos and she insisted they were of her little sister.
Aaaand a virus is making its way through the family. Fevers and coughs and aches, including mama. This too shall pass!