As a family, we’ve been fortunate enough to avoid any broken bones. I never even broke a bone (except for that one time, junior year in high school, where I “kinda” broke my finger, but it didn’t really hurt and all I cared about was that I got out of P.E. for a month). We also haven’t spent much time in the Emergency Room.–once when Maddie had a concussion and another time when Luke had a fish bone stuck in his throat.
But that all changed a few months ago.
It was a Monday and I was teaching my classes when during my 4-5 class, i noticed Jessie, the woman who picks Luke up from school for me once a week, had called. I stepped out of class and called her back. “Luke fell on his elbow and it wasn’t a bad fall, but he keep crying and I don’t know if he’s faking it because he just wants to go home or if he’s really hurt,” she said. Well, if there’s one thing consistent about Luke it’s that he never cries when he falls down or gets hurt. Yes, he’s a emotional crier. But he’s taken tumbles that make me wince and he gets up just fine. Knowing this I canceled the rest of class and went immediately to get Luke.
As soon as I saw him, I knew we were going to the Emergency Room.
And of course, the emergency room was packed. But they did get us in rather quickly, and as soon as the doctor saw him, he knew he had broken his elbow. An x-ray confirmed this. And as soon as the doctor removed his shirt, I knew it: his elbow was bruised and didn’t even look like an elbow. The doctor was pretty sure he would need surgery as well.
Luke was in so much pain–expect when they gave him morphine–then he was pain free and hilarious. But they couldn’t send us home with morphine so they sent us home with a referral to an orthopedic surgeon and some other meds (I can’t remember the name).
Sadly, the meds they sent us home with didn’t really help and in fact, made him throw up for about 6 hours. So on top of being in terrible pain, he also threw up. His nights were terrible: he couldn’t get comfortable and every time he moved, his arm hurt (it’s amazing how much we don’t really think about how connected our arms are to everything we do). It was a terrible experience for him, and as his mother, because there was nothing I could do to make him feel better, I felt just as terrible (well, emotionally terrible, not physically).
He spent most of the next few days lying around, uncomfortable while we waited to see the doctor about his surgery:
We did get to see the doctor rather quickly and surgery was scheduled the Thursday after it happened (they have to do the surgery quickly as they want the swelling to go down, but not the bones to set).
Luke had no idea what he was in for, so at first he thought the whole per-surgery thing was kind of exciting:
The surgery was supposed to last about 1/2 an hour, but instead lasted almost 2 hours. I guess the damage was more extensive then the doctor first thought and Luke needed 2 pins put through his elbow to stabilize the area.
And Luke waking up from recovery was a NIGHTMARE. He’d been put to sleep once before, at about 2 years old, for some dental work, and he woke up pretty violent then. The same thing happened when he woke from this surgery. He was thrashing and screaming and confused and nothing could calm him down.
The nurses were incredibly nice and the anesthesiologist came twice to give Luke more meds, but nothing worked. Plus there were other people in recovery and Luke was just ruining their experience. I’m pretty sure that no patient has ever been kicked out of recovery faster than Luke. At first they told us he’d be there for about 2 hours, then they said he needed to drink a box of juice before he could leave just to make sure he didn’t throw it up, but when he wouldn’t stop screaming at the top of his lungs, the nurse told him just to take a sip of juice, waited about 30 seconds, said he didn’t throw it up, and then helped me and Luke’s dad get him dressed in record time, while everyone else worked on our release papers, and then we we’re practically pushed out the door. But, believe me, I don’t blame them one bit.
After the surgery, it was back to square one: not sleeping because of the pain, crying all night, having a difficult time even walking around. All this lasted for about 3 days. It’s a good thing I have a pretty flexible work schedule because i had to take the entire week off work. And while that put me way behind, nothing was more important than being there for Luke.
Finally, about 2 weeks after the surgery, Luke got his cast on:
Once the cast was on instead of the splint, his arm was more stabilized and unable to move as much, and so, he could move and play as usual.
The cast stayed on for 3 weeks and then finally, it came off:
His elbow is healed and his arm is tiny, but I’m as happy as is he.
Luke finally got to take a full bath without a plastic garbage bag around his arm and he was beyond thrilled:
But I knock on wood and send out prayers to the universe: “No more broken bones, please. Please, no more broken bones.”
And although I know the chances of Luke breaking another bone are high, I never, ever want to see him go through so much pain again. It broke my heart that there was nothing I could do about it.
The saying–“when you have a child it’s like your heart goes walking around outside your body”–is so true. And the heart breaks more easily when it’s not inside my own chest.