To Be or Not to Be… Broken? The Saga of Annie’s Arm

Last Thursday evening, as we were getting ready to head out to a school carnival, Annie came into the house crying and covered in dirt from the top of her head down her left side.   

“What happened?” I asked her.

“I fell off the trampoline! Head first! And my arm hurts!”  

Not exactly the words a mother ever wants to hear from her own kid (or any kid, really…)!

“You fell off?  How?  Through the NET?” 

“Yeah! I fell right through the net!”

So much for net safety.

I got her cleaned up and had her lay down on the couch with an ice pack on her arm.   (Flashbacks of broken arm pain came rushing to me as I inspected her arm.  I’d broken my left arm when I was little, from falling off a swing set.  Never mind that I was doing flips off the top bar.  Sorry, Mom and Dad.  And sorry, Uncle Bill and Aunt Marla–who were visiting from out of state and were just getting ready to leave for home but had to stay and watch my sisters while my parents rushed me to the hospital.)  Annie was able to move her elbow and wrist, so her arm didn’t seem broken.  And as long as she wasn’t moving her arm, she wasn’t in pain.  So I figured it was probably just a sprain.  

Morning came, and her arm was swollen and hot.  I called my doctor’s office to see if they had an x-ray machine but no luck, so they referred us to a walk-in clinic.  So we went, and sat and waited…and waited.  Finally, they called us and we went for x-rays.  The x-ray technician had Annie sit at a table and she wanted her arm to be turned over on its backside, but Annie was not able to turn it to the right position (in hindsight, that should have been the first clue that her arm was probably broken if she wasn’t able to twist it).  We spent the next 45 minutes trying to find a position that would allow for clear x-rays.  Finally, Annie had to stand up and I held her arm so that it was exposed enough for pictures.  

“I don’t want any more x-rays!” Annie declared through tears.  

Me neither, child.  I had my own tears too. No fun watching your child in pain! 

After waiting some more and meeting with the doctor, it was confirmed that Annie’s arm wasn’t broken, just sprained and swollen.  The doctor said the x-rays would be sent to the hospital for further analysis just in case, but that we were good to go.  

Whew, what a relief–Annie won’t have to wear a cast after all!  

We went home and Annie rested on the couch with an ice pack and Ibupofren in her system to help with the swelling.

Several hours later, I got a phone call through video phone.

“Anna has an appointment with the orthopedic on Monday at 2:15,” was the Sorenson Video Relay interpreter’s first statement.

HUH!? was my first thought.

“Why does she have an appointment with the orthopedic?” I asked.  Which I’m sure the receptionist probably thought was a very dumb question.

“Because Annie has two broken bones near her elbow,” was the reply.

“WHAT?!”  

“Yes, so she will need to see the orthopedic on Monday to get a cast.  Please go back to the clinic and get a sling for her to wear over the weekend.”

“She has to wait until Monday!?”

“Yes, she will be fine–just keep her arm in the sling and don’t let her move it.”

Oh sure, no problem.  Piece of cake.

As soon as I hung up, the phone rang again. This time, a different person and a different interpreter.

“Hi, we need to refer you to an orthopedic because Annie has a broken arm.”

“Uh, we already have an appointment for Monday.”

“Oh!  Well, they didn’t tell us that!  Okay then.”

Uh, okay ?

After hanging up with them (and I kid you not), the video phone rang a THIRD time.  This time, it was the doctor from the clinic. But I had stepped out of the room to get ready to go get Annie’s sling from the clinic.  When I came back, there was a video message from the doctor.

“As it turns out, Annie does have a broken arm.  You need to call us immediately so we can set up an appointment with the orthopedic.”

Uh yes, I think I got that memo already.  Unbelievable! 

Thankfully (and thanks to the prayers of family and friends), Annie didn’t have much pain over the weekend.  

Monday finally came, and we were off to the orthopedic.  After a long wait, we were shown to our room.  Annie’s x-rays were displayed on the computer screen.  My mom was with us, and we peered at the x-rays and saw where it looked broken.  I snapped a few pictures with my phone (probably against office policy, but hey, we did pay for those x-rays so we should at least have a picture of them, no?)

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After a few minutes, the orthopedic came in, walked right to the computer, jerked his head back, and the first words out of his mouth were, “Why didn’t I see this earlier?  This is not good! She needs surgery!”  

Surgery?! 

My mom and I stared at each other in shock.  Annie burst into tears. I went to comfort Annie as the doctor showed us the radius bone that had twisted out of place.  

He explained that he would do a closed surgery where a pin would be inserted to hold the bone together and then she would wear the pin and cast for a couple weeks.  Then he left to schedule the surgery, and the assistant came in to put a temporary cast on Annie, who had stopped crying and was feeling better.  

 

We joked that she was a half mummy.  

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“It’s so fuzzy and soft!” Annie exclaimed. 

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Not quite so fuzzy and soft anymore.

 

The earliest they could schedule Annie for surgery was Wednesday morning, almost two days later.  More waiting.  But with her temporary cast on, her arm was secured.  Annie still had only very minimal pain.  

Thank You, God!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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