Monday, February 09, 2009

I got "The Call"

You know how when you're a mom, you dread "the call." It's the kind of call that might come in the middle of the night, telling you that something is wrong. It's the kind of call that makes your heart drop for a second. You know the kind of phone call that I'm talking about.

So there I was, merely getting my eyes dilated at my eye doctor my cell phone rang. It was M. "I need you grab some clothes for me and R and meet me at the hospital. If I were a betting man, I'd say his leg is broken." The call. Now, picture me, dilated eyes, driving on a bright, sunny 19 degree day, praying the whole time that I wouldn't hit anybody when I turned into the sun. Yeah, I had those flimsy plastic dark glasses on behind my regular transition glasses, but there were times when everything was a shadow.

But, I digress. This isn't a story about me, it's about my poor baby boy who loves to ski and is very good at it for his young age. It's about how he took a spill and has a spinal fracture to his tibia. M handed the phone to me, telling me that T wouldn't be able to talk to me, but he wanted to hear my voice. On the phone, I heard my boy, whimpering for the most part, then crying out in pain every now and then. I reassured him that it would be okay...that we were going to the hospital and they would fix him up so that it didn't hurt so much.

I arrived at the hospital half an hour later and saw M and R sitting there in their ski clothes zipped down, with bright red faces (from the wind and heat.) T was in a wheelchair, facing away from them, holding his head and quietly whimpering to himself. He was facing away because he didn't want to look at anybody -- he was quite angry at the world while he was in all of that pain.

He was triaged before I arrived and we saw a doctor about an hour later. I was concerned that NOBODY would give him any pain reliever before a doctor saw him. Apparently, they thought that there was a chance that they might have to sedate him to set it and he couldn't have anything in him for that. He was just in tons of pain. If anybody touched his leg at all, he'd yell in pain -- a blood-curtling yell that made my bones shake. It was at this point that the doctor recommended morphine.

So, they gave him one unit of morphine. What a wonderful drug. His face immediately relaxed. He relaxed his Superman grip on my hand. He even cracked the tiniest of smiles for a brief moment. It was a pleasant environment until they wanted to give him some more morphine before they put on his cast. I was in full agreement with this idea of giving him more of the wonder drug.

Now, when they ask if your child is allergic to any meds, I always answer "I don't know." After all, how many meds has this healthy boy had in his life? Not many. Certainly not morphine.

I was looking at T's IV site as they were giving him his second dose of morphine and I could literally (I swear) see a rash creep up his arm starting from his IV and moving up his arm, over his shoulder, and then up his neck and down his chest. It looked like little fingers creeping up his veins and over his body. I think that I actually shouted, "Stop! He's allergic to it!" The nurse looked over and immediately stopped the IV. Then she ran and got some Benedryl. Luckily it didn't affect his breathing at all and the rash disappeared after the morphine was stopped. Whew! Another emergency diverted.

We proceeded with the putting on of the cast. T squeezed my fingers the whole time and I'm happy to say that they finally have feeling back in them. He was a trooper. After they put on the long sock (from top of thigh to toes) they put the fiberglass cast on. Then, after all this work for a beautiful cast, they took a saw and cut it up the inside and outside of his leg. They didn't cut through the top or bottom, so it still was tight. The doctor wanted to give his leg room to swell.

Speaking of his doctor, about five different people said to me, "you are so lucky that Dr. G is on call tonight. He's the best doctor." or "Great. You'll have Dr. G -- he's a fellow in foot and ankle issues." We saw Dr. G's two residents and they conferred with him before they put the cast on.

I've never had a broken bone. I assumed they'd get the cast on him and send us home. Nope. We spent the night. And then we spent another night. We thought we were just spending the one night. Both M and I wanted to stay with our boy, but I "won" because of two reasons. 1) I'd fit better on whatever makeshift bed they'd have for parents, and 2) we didn't have M's sleep machine. So, at 10:30 pm, R and M went home while T and I went up to the Children's Hospital unit.

T wasn't hungry until we got up to the ped unit. They offered chicken noodle soup (I think it was cup-a-soup) which T said was the best soup he'd ever had. The tricky thing was figuring out how he could eat it. T didn't want to adjust his cast at all to scoot up in the bed, so I tore a Styrofoam cup down and he drank it.

T was switched to Tylenol with Codeine (a good med, but not as wonderful as morphine for killing his pain). He could have it every 4-6 hours. The nurse and I quickly realized that every four hours would be needed. T had "breakthrough" pain at about 3 1/2 hours. That extra half an hour was quite challenging for both T and I. I had to figure out how to distract him, which wasn't easy given his painful mood, and of course, he had to deal with the pain.

We made it through the night and T was excited to "order room service." At first I laughed and told him that hospitals weren't like hotels, but I was wrong! He had a menu to choose from and he chose a cheese omelet, apple muffin, peaches, and milk.

Before his breakfast came, we were visited by our three doctors - the two residents from the night before and Dr. G himself. I nearly fell in love with Dr. G -- not in a romantic way, but in an I-can't-believe-we're-so-lucky-that-you're-our-doctor way. He was so personable, so patient, so kind to T that I felt a smile spread across my face. Here's an example of his great bedside manner.

Dr. G - So, T I hear that you're seven. But, tell me, when is your birthday?

T: Feb 26th

Dr G: So, you are seven-going-on-eight?

T: yeah, I guess so.

Dr G!: That's great! I can't believe it! Seven-going-on-eight is the BEST time for your bones to heal. When you're seven -going-on-eight, your bones just get right down to business and heal. As a matter of fact, they started their healing last night. If you were as old as your mom, those old bones would take a lot longer to heal. This is great news, isn't it.

T: with a bright smile on this face: "yeah, it is great news."

He asked T if he had any questions and T asked how the bones actually heal. Dr. G told him that his brain tells the broken parts of the bones to get a bit soft and sticky, then they stick together and get harder and harder until you can't tell there was a break at all.

Pretty cool doc, I tell ya.

When T got home after two nights in the hospital, he said "it's a miracle to be home." We came home with a lot of paraphernalia -- a wheel chair, walker, and crutches. He's good at the wheel chair, can do the walker okay if the pains not too bad, but hates the crutches. We have to get him comfortable on the crutches so that he can go to the bathroom by himself, which will mean that he can go back to school.

Well, T's been home from the hospital for a week now and is doing okay. He still is in a bit of pain and is back on the heavy drugs (the Tylenol with Codeine). But we're hoping that tomorrow, plain old Tylenol will do the trick. He's going to stay home next week too, with the exception of attending the Valentine's Day party at school on Friday. R's bringing homework for him to do, which T doesn't really like too much. He watches a lot of tv, plays video games, draws, and is reading his first chapter book. But, he can't wait to get back to school because it's "boring when you have to stay on the couch all the time."

Here is T earlier in the day, doing quite well on the skis. (I love the flaps of his furry hat flying in the wind.)

Here is is yesterday afternoon, playing video games on his throne (I mean the couch that is now his bed, desk, and dining table for the most part.)

He goes back and forth on whether or not he ever wants to go skiing again. He says that this season is over for sure, but maayybee he'll try again in a couple of years. I hope he does. He sure loved it for a few years.


grandmaonthelake said...

Sooooooooooooooooooooo Sorry to hear T broke his leg. Happy to hear you found the best Dr. ever!
T looks pretty compfy on that couch. Is he wearing glasses?
Luv the very blue, cool cast.
Great blog, thanks for keeping us updated. xoxoxgrandma&grandpa

jennavar said...

Ahhhhh... tears in my eyes after reading this post. I truly know how it is to get "that call". Very scary and to have your eyes dilated "too boot"... (just exactly where did "too boot" come from??) Anywhooo... I'm glad that he is settled down and comfy in his home. He was too funny talking about the "fancy soup" at the hospital. He seemed so happy about that soup. I love him! He wasn't too happy talking about physical therapy. How is that coming along? How long does he stay in the cast. Poor honey.

I'm glad Dr. G was at the hospital too. I love his bedside manner.

I hope he enjoys the Valentines Party and seeing all of his friends. Give him our love! We wish we were there to sign his cast. I'd draw my puppy dog picture for him.

CaliforniaGrammy said...

Fabulous post . . . thanks for the detailed story, so well written indeed! And I love the last picture especially, it's on my desktop right now. We just hope the healing process will happen fast so that the pain is gone soon. I know he'll be back on skis again, you can tell how he loves it by the smile on his face.

And the Valentines Day party will bring smiles too . . . we love that boy too!

A.J. said...

We love our T and send him all our love and best wishes for a speedy recovery so he can get off that boring couch. We are glad to hear all about it, and see the great pictures.

Aunt Patty said...

Yes, we all love our T and feel so bad and sad that he broke his leg! What a nice looking cast it is!! Please tell T that UH and AP are thinking about him and praying for his leg to heal really fast. That doctor does have a great bedside manner!