November 17, 2007

he chose a green cast...

So here's the story to go with the two previous photo posts.

On Friday a little after noon, Sam fell from the monkey bars. He was swinging and lost his footing on the landing platform (about three feet off the ground) and fell backwards, landing right on his elbow. Thank goodness he didn't hit his head.

We took him to John Muir, one of the best trauma centers in the area, and they took one look at the x-ray and pawned him off on Children's Hospital in Oakland. By 4 p.m. we were checking into the E.R. at Children's. It wasn't until about 6:30 that we met the orthopedic intern, who told us we'd like not get it fixed that night, and Sam would have to stay overnight but that they could probably get him fixed by 8, maybe 9 a.m. This was to be our first lesson in timeframe expectation setting and hope dashing at the hospital.

All this time, Sam was given morphine. Now, the only two things I know about morphine are that they gave it to dying soldiers in World War II (at least in the movies), and that my father-in-law had it during his final days of cancer. Neither of these is a real confidence builder, so I tried to ignore the whole morphine thing. But anyway, poor Sam was drifting in and out, and his arm looked like that point in the train tracks where the switch has the track jogging a whole lane to the right. It wasn't a Theisman, but it definitely looked unnatural.

About 7:30, we were excited because they said they had a room for him upstairs in surgery admitting, and we could get out of the noisy, busy ER room we were in. What we didn't realize was that surgery admitting is a big barn of a room with the nurses' station in the middle and eight beds separated by curtains only. Each bed had room for approximately one Barbie-sized backpack and half a fold-out chair, so Maria and I had to share the chair, which was roughly fourteen inches wide. But at least it had solid arms on the sides so we could be nicely squished together like those pop-n-fresh cinnamon rolls in the commercials.

Sam managed to sleep OK even if we didn't. (All this time, Ethan was staying with his friend Chris.) He woke at 6:30, and so did I. At 8 a.m. we naively awaited the doctor. At 9 a.m. we saw the intern again, who had come to tell us he did not know when Sam would be fixed. At 10 a.m. we met the orthopedist who came to tell us that there was an appendectomy ahead of us and he didn't know when Sam would be fixed, but we'd likely be done "this morning." By noon we were counting the minutes and wondering where all the doctors had gone. At 1 p.m. I finally piped up and asked please please please could they call the doctor and find out any kind of time frame... Sam had not had a bite to eat in 15 hours (they said NO food after midnight), and he was beginning to come unglued from the slipping schedule and not being able to move for now 25 hours and Cal's horrible football game losing to Washington on the TV next to his bed. Oh, no, wait, that's why I was coming unglued. Sam was just ready to be done with the hospital by then.

Finally at 2 p.m. they started his procedure, and by 4:15 p.m. we were out of the hospital on our way home. By 7 p.m. he was eating normal dinner and watching Star Wars, and by 8:30 p.m. he was changing himself into pajamas for bed. 27 hours waiting for a 2 hour procedure. Tough on the little kid.

His procedure consisted of knocking him out with general anesthesia, then pushing the bones around until they were in the right place, then firing three pins into the bones. (They did not have to make any incisions.) The pins stick out and get integrated with the cast (Sam picked green). We go back in a week for a checkup, then he gets the cast off three weeks after that.

So that's that. It means he couldn't finish the tryouts for winter soccer today, and he'll miss the makeup games for the end-of-season tournament, and he couldn't go to his friend's rock-climbing birthday party today. On the plus side... well, we'll figure that out at some point.

2 comments:

Patois said...

What a terrible ordeal for your little guy. Green, though, is a cool color for a cast.

And let me just say that, having shattered my elbow and fractured my wrist on the dreaded monkey bars when I was 7, I hate those things. Have ever since.

writtenwyrdd said...

Rotten ordeal, but good he didn't need to be cut open. Makes healing a lot simpler.

That you had to wait so long is appalling, though. No excuse for putting a child through that.