Since last Thursday our lives have been a whirlwind of activity, I feel like I haven't had time to think, let alone sit down and right about The Event.
When I pick up the kids from school, I grab Fin first and then we walk over to the preschool to get Parker (they both get out at 11:30). Last Thursday we did the same thing we always did, but Fin decided he needed to climb on the tiny picnic table they have. When I say tiny, I mean tiny. The tabletop itself is no more than two feet off the ground. He slid across the top, sat on the bench, and when he tried to stand up, somehow fell. A foot. But his arm snapped behind him and I immediately thought, oh my god, he just dislocated his elbow. It was at such a weird angle. He panicked, I panicked. I'm trying to hold him and stop him from trying to climb up on me. Meanwhile the director of the preschool ran over and got him to sit down and move his fingers and arm, which he did just fine. Chalking up his reaction to typical Fin behavior (he's not known for his pain tolerance, especially when its a skinned knee). I ran and got Parker and we headed home. He didn't want to move his arm, but he kept saying it was because of the scratch (he skinned the inside part of his arm). I fed him lunch, gave him some tylenol and put him down for a nap. He was still whimpering, but went down just fine. When he woke an hour later, his arm looked a little swollen. I went back and forth with Sarah and Josh and finally broke down and called the nurse's line, who suggested I bring him in. While we waited for the doctor Fin and Parker happily played with all the toys in the waiting room, Fin ran around with a dragon being chased by Parker and a unicorn. He didn't use his arm, but he was so happy I thought, oh man, they are just going to tell me he bruised it and send me home. I honestly almost left. But we got in, and the doctor sent us downstairs for x-rays. It took me almost ten minutes of cajoling, coaxing, and lying to get Fin up on that x-ray table. After the first one was done, he looked at me and said, oh. That's it? *sigh* We finally got the x-rays and ran upstairs to show the doctor. By this time is was after hours and I had to bang on the door to get someone to open it. No one told me anything at the x-ray place just handed me the x-rays and told me to "follow up with your doctor." As we waited for the doctor in the room, the nurse wrapped Fin's arm in an ace bandage and put it in a sling. Still at this point I'd was convinced they'd come in and say, oh he just bruised it, keep it wrapped for a few days and he'll be fine. So when the doctor came in and said, "Here's the card for the orthopedic surgeon, your appointment is tomorrow at ten and hopefully you can have the procedure that afternoon..." I must have looked dumbfounded, because she stopped mid-sentence and said, "Didn't they talk to you downstairs?" I said, "No! They told me to follow up with you." "Oh." She dropped her voice. "Umm, well it is broken. His elbow is dislocated and he has a small fracture on his humerus and the orthopedist says he'll need pins in it." My jaw just about hit the floor. "Pins?? Like he'll need surgery?" I hissed. "Yes." I glanced at Fin and saw him staring at me. I pulled myself together and forced my voice to be cheery. "Alright then."
I held it together till Josh showed up and I made the call to my parents. Just saying the words, surgery, pins, and fracture made me break down. If it was a matter of setting the bone and putting a cast on, I think I would have been fine. But the thought of surgery. Of anesthisia, of IV's and intubation and hospitals just threw me. We have been extremely lucky, our kids have never needed to be hospitalized for any reason. We went to CHOC hospital the next day, straight from the appointment with the orthopedist. We left our house at nine in the morning and did not get back till six that night. Fin was terrified of "going to sleep." I don't know if we made a mistake telling him that, but what could we do? Once we were in our room at CHOC though, he settled down a bit, thanks to their awesome staff and a Wii. He played tennis with one arm and played with the remote for the TV. It wasn't until they brought him some "liquid courage" that he broke down again. It took Josh and I almost ten minutes to get him to drink his medicine. And then they wheeled him away crying and trying to climb out of his bed. An hour later we were admitted to the recovery room where he was still coming out of the anesthesia. He was sobbing and tearing at his ivs and cords. He kept yelling, "I don't want to go to sleep! I don't want to go to sleep!" and then he'd fall back asleep. Seconds later the whole thing would repeat. I tried to hold him in my lap to keep him from thrashing. This continued for about twenty minutes, but it felt like four hours. Josh was only allowed to stay for ten minutes. I don't know how parents with truly sick kids do this. I can't imagine my child having to go through more than one surgery. I couldn't look in the eyes of the parents at that hospital with infants coming from surgeries in incubators, crying infants who they could only console with a pat on the back. We have been infinitely blessed with two healthy children and that is something I will never forget.
He's doing fine now. Running around, trying to climb on things, driving me crazy. This first week he's supposed to really try to keep it still. And about every forty seconds I have to tell him to STOP RUNNING, DON'T PUSH, YOU CAN'T CLIMB ON THAT, GET OFF THE STAIRS! When he sees someone who hasn't seen his cast yet, he holds it up, silently points to it with his other hand. Nonchalant and dramatic all at the same time. He proudly tells everyone that it glows in the dark. We've put pins on his sling, partly to hold his arm in better, and partly to make it more fun to wear. At my show this weekend he got two new pins. Someone commented on his pins and said, "Yeah. Got these two here. Had these ones." and shrugged, like no big deal, happens all the time...