When Joe was in the hospital three weeks ago, I remember thinking that the whole thing was like a roller coaster. There were high highs like “We’re going to do this one little procedure.” and low lows like “He’s having VT, so we probably can’t do the ablation.”
It was mentally draining. When he came home from the hospital, we both slept for most of a day. It had just been too much.
Friday was draining in the same way.
Grace woke up too early. I tried to keep her mind busy without keeping her legs busy (a hard task when the patient is 2) until we went to the orthopedic surgeon’s office. Once we arrived there, we sat in the waiting area for a little over 90 minutes before our 90 second consultation.
The doctor was casual and outgoing. He asked me to put Grace down on the floor and have her walk. She declined, so I walked away from her, and she scrambled after me.
The doctor looked at her x-rays for a moment, said “It’s a miracle!” and told us that Grace’s leg wasn’t broken. “It’s probably sprained,” he said, “just one of those things. You can give her ibuprofin or Tylenol for pain as she needs it.”
And that was that.
Probably sprained. Definitely not broken. Fine.
I was confused and irritated. I felt patronized, as if he’d patted me on the head and told me that I was overreacting.
I used my last personal day from work to stay home with Grace and her broken leg, to take her to the orthopedic specialist who would evaluate the severity of the break and put a cast on. But she’s fine? And her leg is definitely not broken?
On the way home, I realized that I needed to call Grace’s pediatrician. It was impossible that the leg had been broken on Thursday but not broken on Friday. The radiologist and the orthopedist were looking at the same x-rays.
“That doesn’t sound right at all,” the pediatrician said. “Let me make some phone calls and find out what’s going on.”
About a half hour later, she called back and explained that she’d talked to a different orthopedist in another practice. “I read the radiology report to him,” she said. She went on to explain that his opinion had been that the injury did not warrant a cast.
I was okay with that. I just wanted to know the whole situation.
Apparently, because the fibula is not a weight-bearing bone and the fracture has not severed the bone into pieces, using the leg normally poses no risk to the healing process.
I’m glad Grace doesn’t need a cast. I’m glad we won’t have to go through the hassle of baths with a cast and the terror of cast removal.
I asked some questions this time, and I found out the details of the injury. It’s a Salter II fracture (which means that both the growth plate and the long bone are cracked), and it is at the bottom of her leg, just above her ankle.
It turns out Grace doesn’t know what that thing between her foot and her leg is called. I asked if her ankle was hurting, and she said no. So I asked her to show me her ankle, and she held up her hand. So her sore knee was either radiating pain or a miscommunication.
Today, Grace ran and played and jumped on our friend’s couch. She seemed fine, totally normal. When I asked how her leg was doing, she told me that My booboo feel better, Mommy. Daddy’s booboo all better, too.
But then, almost exactly every 8 hours, she became whiny and miserable. It was time for ibuprofin. It became clear that it hurts more than she can communicate, and she needs the ibuprofen.
She also needs to sit down and relax, and that’s a tough order for a 2-year-old.
Fortunately, young bones heal very quickly, and the pediatrician expects her leg to be feeling a lot better in a couple of weeks.
© 2009, Tara Ziegmont. All rights reserved.