Thursday, February 25, 2016

LOOSH, and our broken Ethan

The big news story is that Ethan broke his arm. He broke it Monday, was splinted by the Orthopedist that evening, had surgery Tuesday morning to put in pins, and was put in a cast from his hand to his shoulder, where he will be recovering for 4 week.

So, apparently he jumped to his own demise. He jumps off the stairs every day, 3 or 4 stairs up, and lands and rolls - no big deal. He jumped off the stairs the minute we were unloading ourselves from picking up the boys from school Monday, so nobody saw HOW he jumped and landed, but it must have been all wrong because he started screaming. I ran to his side ... ok, that's a lie, I walked over after I finished writing some school events on the calendar. If you know Ethan you know he screams about everything, so I figured he had mildly bonked his head but was convinced it was a head-injury. But there he was, crumpled on the floor, and ever since Caroline broke her arm I check arms first after falls - it was obvious from the way he was screaming that he was in pain, the way he was holding himself that it was his arm, and the way his allow stuck out at a funny angle that something was amiss. I took it for a dislocated elbow - c'mon, the elbow was in the wrong place, and there's obviously no way you can break your elbow by jumping down 3 stairs! Right? So we loaded right back into the van that we had literally JUST piled out of, I buckled him up as best I could, and we went to Urgent Care.

Urgent Care looked like they would be less than urgent, their waiting room was PACKED. Our pediatrician is in the office right next door down the hall, so we walked in there hoping there might be a pediatrician who had a second to correct his "nurse's elbow." THEIR office was packed, and all Dr's were booked solid, so we were sent back to the Waiting Room of Doom. I signed in Ethan and the lady at the desk informed me there were 7 people ahead of him, so I sat down to fill our paperwork and Ethan did his job of screaming. Have you heard Ethan scream? It's loud, it's incessant, and it reaches a pitch that physically hurts your eardrums, so I did not even attempt to shush him because I WANTED TO BE SEEN. Sure enough, I hadn't even filled out the second paper in the stack and we were called back to be seen! The nurse rolled up his sleeve to inspect the dislocation, but she said, "sorry, we won't be able to set this, you'll have to drive over to Pueblo West to Dr. Hanson's Orthopedic Center." BOO. I didn't want any more piling in and out of the car, it was excruciation for Ethan, and meant another waiting room, but it was our only hope and it was thankfully just down the road. 

Dr. Hansons's office was, in contrast to Urgent Care, empty. They took us back right away, the team of nurses and assistants took a quick look and said, "that's not dislocated. It's a blahblahblahblah-long-name fracture" We had been out of the house for over an hour at the point, and I was stunned! BROKEN? Ok, let's let that sink in while they take x-rays (and meanwhile understand what the nurse at Urgent Care said about not setting his arm there - I knew they didn't set broken bones there, and I wondered why you'd need to set a dislocated joint... denial was strong with me, I guess). They brought x-rays back, along with Dr. Hanson, who explained that Ethan had broken off the bottom edge of his humerus, and it got shoved out (THAT'S why his elbow looked out of place! it WAS), and had twisted so that he couldn't set it there in the office; Ethan would require surgery to twist is around and scooch it back, then he would pin fractured-off bone disc back to the main bone. SURGERY? Ok, let's let that sink in while the good doctor write up a prescription for some hopped-us Tylenol. 

We left the office with Ethan in a splint, which kept his arm in place but did absolutely nothing for his pain (as opposed to Caroline's break, which was much more comfortable once it was splinted).  We headed straight for Walgreens, our regular pharmacy for filling prescriptions, and it was worse than the urgent care waiting room! The drive-through line was not one or two cars, it was at least TEN! Fortunately there is a side lane for prescription drop-offs only, so we whizzed through that in comparison to those 10 cars, but it meant that the inside pharmacy was ridiculously slammed. Sure enough, the prescription wouldn't be available for TWO HOURS. We grabbed some dinner from Wendy's and went home to put on a movie to hopefully distract Ethan during these miserable hours. Joe came home from work and got the full story, plus some sobs from me - I didn't feel responsible for his accident by any means, and I didn't feel particularly bad about mis-diagnosing it as a dislocated elbow instead of a break because I did as good as I could, but I was just really overwhelmed by the amount of crying involved (it's really hard to listen to your kid in so much pain and not be able to do a darn thing about it), and we've never had any of our kids have any kind of surgery, so I was pretty scared. 

The night was long, even once the overdue prescription was picked up. Ethan was most comfortable in my arms, in a sitting position, so Joe piled pillows around me to be as supported as possible. Ethan's only 3 1/2, about 35 pounds, but that weight becomes impossibly heavy after only a few minutes, and we'd passed the minute mark HOURS before - my arms were aching long before bedtime. He couldn't have food or drink after midnight, and pain meds on an empty stomach just make you feel sick, so we dosed him as best we could before midnight, and he finally fell into a deep sleep around 12. I encouraged Joe to ignore any crying he heard because he wouldn't be able to help anyway, and one of us needed better sleep so the other could go to the hospital in the morning. Ethan's deep sleep only lasted until 3, then we were back to 15-minute intervals of crying - he never quite woke up, but it certainly never let me sleep. Check-in time for surgery was 5:30, so Joe took him in and I was able to get another hour of sleep from 6-7, then get the kids ready for school and drop them off before going to the hospital to meet with Joe.

The hospital was an exercise in patient waiting. 7:30 surgery turned into 8:45 surgery (and no pain meds for Ethan, since he was still not eating), a 45-minute surgery turned into a 90-minute surgery, a 30 minute recovery turned into a 2-hour recovery, so we were finally discharged at 1:00. Ethan's grogginess continued through the day and he slept on the couch while watching movies. The doctors encouraged us to keep him in meds around the clock, which keeps him comfortable ahead of the pain. He is also supposed to be basically immobile with his arm supported by pillows to encourage the swelling to go down. We thought it might be difficult, but his arm is more comfortable when elevated and he's made the connection between the nasty medicine and his arm not throbbing, so even our 3 1/2 year old is on board with his treatment plan! 

The evening was spent at our friend's house because we had house showings, but that's another story for another blog post...

Meanwhile, our doctor friend loves hearing tales of broken bones so Joe was describing the accident and he said, "oh, a LOOSH! It happens all the time - enough that it has it's own name - Landing On Out-Stretched Hand. Ethan must have stuck out his arm to land, which knocked the bottom of the humerus so they had to pin it." So now you know. Ethan is a LOOSHer.

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