Monday, November 4, 2013


G had her surgery last Friday. She looked so frail and shivery when we got her back. So sad and scary to see her like that! When I held her, she seemed to settle a bit and warm up.

She made it past the riskiest 24 hours post-surgery, and we all breathed a little bit easier. Until Sunday morning. Her urine was thick with blood, and she cried. Even on the narcotic, she cried. I packed her up and spent all morning at the pet ER. They gave her fluids under the skin and sent us home with antibiotics.


No sooner had I settled her into her cage and grabbed a drink of water when I heard screams from outside. Horrible, awful screams that you never want to hear from a child. It was e.


E came running through the door, saying something about how he had told her not to do it. She copied him too much, he had told her not to do it. The clock read 12:20pm.


C carried e into the living room, telling me it was her elbow and did it look dislocated? I took one half-glance and scooped her up, yelling for E to bring my shoes to the car. We made it out the driveway so fast that our neighbor, who had seen/heard it all from her yard, didn't even have time to run over and offer to keep E.


The 8-minute drive to the nearest ER seemed to take forever. They wheeled her from room to room to room on a bed, thankfully not moving her, but nobody could seem to come up with pain medication. Even when she cried and I begged. She screamed through the x-rays. She asked me if she was going to die- otherwise why would Mommy be crying? Finally the dr splinted her arm and explained to us that she had indeed broken the long bone in her upper arm just above the elbow. The short piece left attached to her elbow then flipped out and dislocated. She would need surgery and a cast. e freaked at the idea of a cast, and someone finally showed up with Tylenol with codeine. We could see it swelling. While we waited for the ambulance that would transport her to the nearest military treatment facility (MTF), she was FINALLY given an IV port and a bit of morphine.


The ambulance medics were very kind. The driver found her favorite cartoon (Peep and the Big Wide World) on YouTube on his phone for her to watch while we waited for paperwork. Then finally, finally she was loaded into a pink ambulance. Pink. I kid you not. The medics asked E if he wanted to push any buttons or ride with us, but he declined. The poor kid was about 3 hours late for lunch by that point and pretty freaked at seeing his sis in pain.


The ambulance ride was bumpy and everything swayed- how do they manage to treat people in critical condition with all that motion? e was solidly strapped onto the stretcher, but I had only a lap belt and was trying to hold the phone steady above e for her to watch. A bit of a lost cause. The medic gave me a lot of advice on casts...what to request, how to care for, etc. Her brother broke a bone every summer as a child.


The MTF staff moved quickly. More x-rays, a parade of at least 5 drs and a handful of medics. Again transported through hallways in her bed. A big bed for such a small child. Finally they left us in a room with a tv and e watched Sid the Science Kid get a flu shot. Sort of. More drs and medics paraded through. C and E arrived with food, so C took over with e while E and I went across the hall so I could eat. I didn't want to eat in front of e; she was so hungry but labeled NPO.


Eventually it all came together and we walked with e in her bed up to prep for surgery. She was scared. C told her how he'd been scared for his surgery (appendectomy) but it turned out to be the best sleep ever! E promised her ice cream later. By now it was after 6:30pm. e chose her cast color (pink), mask flavor (watermelon), and the medic put a pair of grippy socks on her feet. They asked us a lot of questions, started e's IV, and wheeled her away.


C settled in to wait. E and I headed home to get food and supplies for overnight. We stopped at Target to get applesauce and some goodies. E took it upon himself to read labels, coming up with safe fruit cocktail and berry applesauce. Not foods he'd ever had, so he thought it would be something special. He also chose a balloon, glow sticks, and Halloween socks. We gave G her antibiotic, held her for a bit, told her to get better, then quickly gathered food/clothes and headed back. C had just texted that e was waking up at 9:30pm.


Remembering that the ambulance had gone though the tunnel (which had been closed many weekends for repairs), I didn't look up an alternative route. Mistake. I passed a sign saying 'tunnel closed 8pm Sunday- 9am Monday' and knew I was in trouble. The GPS, when I pushed the detour button, kept routing me to yet another on-ramp for the same tunnel. Over and over. Around and around. For over an hour and a half. I got so turned around that I had to call C to look it up on his iPad. By the time we got to the hospital, e was settled in a room and fully awake.


E and C went home around midnight, and then it was just e and I. She looked like she had been through the wringer. Her shirt was only still attached by one sleeve, so I cut it off and promised to make a doll blanket from the sequin heart. I explained the IV drip, and why her throat was sore. We watched the Enson set up a make-shift thing with ace bandages and Popsicle sticks to elevate her swollen arm, wondering how it would work. (It didn't.) Lying beside her, I managed to turn her arm and prop it upwards with pillows after she fell asleep. Enson took turns with a few doctors coming in every 45 minutes. Vitals, cast check, pain medicine, measuring urine... Are patients really allowed any sleep in a hospital? I did learn that many of the pediatric patients were ortho, so that Enson had been floated from the orthopedic ward to give more specialty care here. She told me she wished they had also sent some specialized equipment with her as well (as she took down the failed ace bandage contraption).


But the other pediatric ortho patients were not here just overnight like us. There was a boy who had broken his back and cracked his skull and will never walk again. A few kids and babies with bone infections. A baby born with half a brain and a too-small skull. Several children with skeletal deformities. As I cuddled with my sleeping e, I thanked The Lord that we were only here with a broken arm and prayed for those other children and their families whose road to recovery stretched much longer than ours.


Then at 5am e was wheeled down to x-ray in a gigantic wheelchair. She was terrified, remembering the pain of the first sets of pictures. The nurse took her back up to the fourth floor for Enson to give her 'roxy', a pain med that made her sleepy. After that, the x-rays were a cinch. A half hour later, the parade of drs resumed and ended at 9:30am with loading e and her cast into the car and heading home.


e's cast is sliced lengthwise on top and bottom, with spacers to keep it spread. When we brought her home, her arm was so swollen that it looked like muffin-top near her shoulder and sausages for fingers. We had to keep asking her to wiggle her fingers to check her circulation! Now, a week later, her cast is so loose that her sleeve slips down into it. Tomorrow she gets her 'real' cast. I'm a bit frightened... I don't want to see the pins when they remove this cast. I don't want her to see the pins. I like not having a visual for the full extent of her injury.

Guinea survived through all this as well as she could. She needed medicine and syringe feeding and holding as often as I could manage. She peed blood again yesterday... She had quit drinking! We've been syringing water into her mouth a lot and she is mostly back to normal now. The vet today says G looks great, keep forcing water. Silly piggy...drink your water!


No comments:

Post a Comment