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Yucky Mummy is the antithesis of the post-Supermum Yummy Mummy. Read about ‘real’ parenting where the only rule that applies is “whatever works”.

Armed and dangerous

October 15th, 2007 by Terri

Broken-arm boy
First the fall. Then the bike crashing. Then the pained cry. Then the fear flashing across my husband’s face. My walk from one side of the park to the other turns into a run. Welcome to your offspring’s first broken bone.
Last Sunday we were enjoying a leisurely play in the park. My son was riding his new bike, with training wheels, along the pathway. He is not an experienced two-wheel bike rider (being only four!) so I usually follow pretty closely behind, or jog beside him, when he’s riding. After a while he was getting more confident and a little less wobbly so I hung back a little. I was a a bit nervous every time he went down a slight slope in the path but I reckoned if he did fall off, we could cope with a scraped knee. When my husband joined us at the park I relaxed a little more as my son showed off his new riding prowess to his Dad.
I’m pretty vigilant about looking after my son when we’re on our own as is my husband. But perhaps both of us relaxed for a minute because the other one was there. And whammo! A bent little forearm was the result.
My husband seemed to know straight away the arm was broken. I wasn’t so sure but I could tell from my son’s pallor that something wasn’t right. We managed to turn his T-shirt into a makeshift sling, holding his arm close to his body, bundling everything and everyone into the car. I was surprised that not a single other parent at the park came to our assistance nor even seemed concerned, despite the fact that there was something seriously wrong with our son (Perhaps they thought we were over-reacting? I hope we run into them at the supermarket!)
My husband then sped (something he NEVER does) in the direction of the hospital while I held my son in my lap (something I NEVER do). He seemed pretty calm and while uncomfortable, was not in yelping pain. The greatest challenge we had was keeping him alert – he seemed to want to drift off with the shock of it all. (Boy can parents talk a lot of crap when they need to.)
Like the good North Shore residents we are (NOT!), we decided to take our boy to the local private hospital in the hope queues wouldn’t be horribly long. They weren’t but we also weren’t exactly ushered into a room quickly either. We waited for about 40 minutes and then saw the triage nurse who sent us to X-ray, which was several rabbit warrens away. Eventually we got to see a doctor who started quizzing us about how long it was since Jay had eaten (bad sign!!!) This is when I really started to get nervous. Who said anything about an operation? Does that mean it’s really broken?
As it turned out the orthopaedic surgeon wasn’t available that night so we could (somewhat) relax for the time being. The emergency doctor bound our son’s arm up in a nice little cast and sling and the nice nurse gave him an Icy Pole. They probably say this to all the little kids but they told him he was their star patient because he didn’t cry and cooperated nicely. (He certainly didn’t fully understand the consequences of a broken arm and was quite enjoying having several people fussing over him.)
After a night that was surprisingly not too uncomfortable for him, my son wasn’t keen on going to the doctor’s the next day. (“I already saw the doctor and she fixed my arm – look!”) Just as well we are great believers in the power of bribery (“After the doctors we will go to the toy shop.” Pathetic, I know. Soon he won’t get out of bed without a spoonful of sugar first.)
The orthopaedic surgeon told us the fall had bowed one of his forearm bones (the radius or the ulna, I’m not sure which) and he had to be under a general anaesthetic in order for him to bend it back the other way, so that hopefully it would go back in the middle, where it was supposed to be (ouch!) He cautioned that the operation may not work the first time (double ouch!)
I think my son slept quite well that night but my sleep was disrupted with worries about arms being bent and reactions to anaesthetic (I kept recalling the shakes and the vomits I’d had following my last op – lovely!)
The morning of operation day passed slowly. I learnt that my son, who never cares much for eating and drinking, actually does get quite hungry and thirsty if you deprive him.
He was given lovely care at the day surgery hospital complete with very sympathetic nurses, a pint-sized gown and the movie Happy Feet to watch while waiting. I went into surgery with him and experienced what was the worst part of the ordeal for me. First they give children some laughing gas, to relax them, then other gas, which puts them to sleep. The “other gas” (don’t know what it is – gee, we put a lot of trust in the medical profession, don’t we?) is strong smelling and when it is first inhaled the natural reaction is to try and get the mask off. So I was ushered out of the operating theatre with my son squirming, pulling his little blue shower cap down over his face. Awful.
My husband and I tried desperately to read as the minutes of the operation ticked by in the waiting room. And then before we knew it, we were called in to see a little boy with a new cast looking a little sleepy but more or less happy. Phew. His recovery has just been up from that moment and he hasn’t looked back.
We’re yet to go back for the post-op check up but the doctor was quite confident the surgery was a success. Apparently the bone moved back to his normal position without too much encouragement (good, Bone!!)
Now our greatest challenge is keeping the cast, which stretches almost the entire length of our son’s arm and keeps it in a permanently bent position, dry when washing. And also trying to slow him down enough to stop him breaking the other arm!!!!
I am keen for my son to get back on the horse, so to speak, but we will wait until he can use two arms again. And this time I’ll be running with him, and – you guessed it – I won’t be letting go.

Posted in Little boys, Health |

4 Responses

  1. Melissa Says:

    Terri you poor thing! And poor Jay!!! Charlotte had her first bad injury ever yesterday too, she fell out of a shopping trolley at Coles, somersaulted actually, and landed face first on the wheel. Her forehead blew up to the size of a golf ball and she resembled a character from the Munsters. Very scary. I rushed her straight to the Medical Centre in the shopping centre, applied ice, waited 45 minutes to see a doctor, and by the time we waited the swelling had gone down and she was running around again… I felt so sick the whole time and so emotional, I’m sure us parents feel it worse than the kids. Maybe not my dad though, as I broke my arm when I was seven, dad told me to stop whinging and go to bed. Mum came home from work later that night, heard me crying in bed, saw my arm and went out screaming at my dad that I’d broken my arm, how could you leave it etc etc.. I remember being in a hell of a lot of pain and wondering how Dad could be so heartless. He just had no idea. It definitely pays to be cautious…

    Oh, and nobody came up to help us either, in a busy supermarket with a child with a massive lump on her head. I was also quite surprised, so I know how you feel. I hope Jay recovers well and is back on the bike soon.

  2. Leone Ofori Says:

    Hi Terri, sorry to read about of Jays broken arm. Hope it mends well and he is back on his bike in no time. It is scary stuff, I worry with anaesthetic I have a fear of never waking and so far have avoided it. When the oldest Wesley was 3 he had an op on his toes and I was allowed in the recovery room straight after surgery, it wasn’t a big op, but he had this thing called a laringospasm where a couple of times stopped breathing, this actually put my fear of anaesthetic into overdrive. Mind you Mr 18 is soon to have his wisdom teeth removed going under and is not at all concerned himself. I haven’t told him of my fear for him but have mentioned to the surgeon and no doubt as a worried mother will be letting the anaesthetist know. We worry for our kids even as adults.

  3. Melissa Uptin Says:

    Hi Tezz - finally made it onto your website & facebook all in one week! Poor Jay - although poor Mum an Dad too - Sometimes I think its just as bad if not worse for parents! I hope he is recovering well - kids do seem to “bounce” back better than adults. Neither of my girls has ever had a broken bone - I think their lifestyle is too sedentary. Its pretty hard to break a bone playing Nintendo Dogs or shopping in Supre!.

  4. Brittany Says:

    Wow! It’s been a few months since I read your blog, and look what happens! We heard that Jay broke his arm, but we didn’t get all the details. What a fun experience that must have been - not! I’m really glad he’s doing better now, though. Say hi to everyone for me!

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