The title of this post makes me chuckle, probably because I have a 5-year-old’s sense of humor. Oh well.
What a month we’ve had! Four weeks ago (Oct 16) Jack was walking behind me and stepped on a toy and broke his leg. One week after he began walking without holding anyone’s hand!!! The best we can figure his left leg was planted on our wooden floor, he stepped on a toy with his right foot (Tj and I heard a toy skitter away). His left leg twisted and he broke his thigh. The doctors say that’s the biggest bone in the body, and the hardest to break, and the only way to break it is twisting. Even being the largest bone in his body it was pretty small, but what a lot of trouble it caused!
I turned around when I heard him fall and saw him face down on the floor. His legs were splayed, but his joints are a little loose from the DS so I wasn’t immediately alarmed. I held him for a few minutes, but his cry was different from any I’d heard him cry before. I knew he was really hurt, but we didn’t yet think hospital. He stopped crying but just held on to me. Tj took him and held him a little bit, and then I took him back. He’d stop crying when he was still, but every time he moved he cried again. I laid him on the bed and moved both of his legs and they moved without resistance, but he was acting so strange. Then Tj and I thought he’d dislocated his knee or hip so Tj said we’re going to the hospital. I was so glad he was there to make that decision. And to help load up.
We were so smart (ha ha)…I’d only been to the ER one other time (when Tj was overseas), but we both immediately started listing all the stuff to take. Tj said we should take two cars, he drove with Jack and left me with the car he’d run out of gas! I’d just said to him we should always have at least 1/4 tank of gas and his empty light came on as he pulled into the garage so you know I gave him a hard time about that. :-) We packed snacks, jackets, movies etc. and left. I called my mom, sister and a guy from church to pray for Jack.
About 3/4 of the way to the hospital (it’s a half-hour drive) we both started wondering if Jack was seriously hurt, or if the whole thing was a product of the fact that Jack still doesn’t talk, and doesn’t understand enough for us to ask him questions about his pain. I said when we got there Tj should stand Jack up and see if he would bear any weight on his leg. Tj said he’d already thought of that. I wondered how silly we’d feel if he was fine, and I’d already made those calls. Heh.
We got there and signed in and Tj let me go back with Jack. I texted him what was going on which wasn’t much. I told the nurses that Jack had a dirty diaper but I didn’t want to change it until they put whatever joint back into socket. Finally we got an x-ray…Jack just lay there the whole time we waited; he was pretty out of it. As we were walking back from the x-ray I asked the nurse if it was his hip or knee out of socket…I wanted to know how to change his diaper carefully. She said she’d help me change him, but that the doctor had to be the one to tell me then news. 15 or 20 minutes later the doctor came in and said Jack broke his leg…boy was I floored! We’d never even considered that possibility! Jack wasn’t running or anything, how could he break his leg!? Poor little boy.
We’d driven to the closest ER which isn’t the children’s hospital, so they put Jack on a board stabilizing his leg, I think he finally got some relief then. I rode in the ambulance to the other hospital; Tj and Max followed right behind us (so much for bringing two cars!). They finally gave Jack some pain medication and after a few consultations they decided to put Jack in traction overnight and cast him in the morning.
Tj graciously let me stay the night with Jack. They really fussed with his leg, and eventually redid the whole traction apparatus, but once they left him alone (around midnight) Jack quickly went to sleep. The next morning he got his spica cast which covered 2/3 of his torso, down to his ankle on the broken leg and to just above his knee on his other leg. He was bent at the waist at about a 45 degree angle, and his legs were open all the way so that I could comfortably carry him on my hip…but it wasn’t really comfortable.
There was a hole cut out for his stomach to expand as he ate, and a large hole cut out for his diaper. We lined his diaper hole with diapers (3 diapers cut in half), then put a half diaper in the front, then a size 1 diaper over the whole hole, then a size 5 diaper, then an adult diaper. Every night I had to take all those diapers out and line the hole with a strip of plastic and then load all the diapers back in/on. Every morning I had to take the plastic off…too long on his skin could cause irritation. Every night I peered into the dark crevasse and checked his skin for pressure sores. When I found one forming I stuck a pad on the inside of the cast to keep wicking moisture away from his skin. They told us that moisture would cause his skin to break down, but that poor baby sweat so much in that cast! I was glad it wasn’t summer, but he just couldn’t stay cool in that cast.
I think it was Wednesday of that first week Jack got tons of pee inside his cast. I spent 4 hours blow-drying (on the cool setting) his cast. When I was all finished I turned him over and the part that had been completely dry was now really wet with sweat. I gave up and put his diapers back on. Ugh. Tj had a turn the following Sunday blowing his cast dry. A week later I found a cast cooler on the web that you hook up to the vacuum cleaner and it sucks air all through the cast. We bought it and what a life-saver! We had to use it several more times and it was so much easier and quicker! I wish we’d known about it at the beginning. But the worst thing that happened to his cast was that he pooped up his back out of his diaper. Tj wiped it out as best as he could, but he had to spend the rest of the time with poop on his skin. All in all he came out ok. He did have a pressure sore on his hip, but I couldn’t even see there when the cast was on. It’s just about healed, so that’s good.
Because of the way the cast was positioned we couldn’t use Jack’s carseat anymore. The hospital ‘loaned’ us (although they don’t want it back, now) a harness for Jack. There were two regular seat belt straps around his chest, two over his shoulders and two between his legs. Then we lay him down on the bench seat (it’s a good thing our truck has 3 rows!) and buckled two shoulder straps through the harness, then we wrapped a separate seat belt around his broken leg (which the cast held up in the air) and around the shoulder strap. Ugh Ugh!
We came home and bought a wagon to pull him around in, but a few days later I found that a stroller we had would hold him with the seat belts extended to their fullest. We bought a bean-bag to sit him in for most of his meals…but we could never get him completely upright. He had a cough the whole time he was in the cast which the therapist said came from food sitting in his throat, so we took him to the doctor to check for pneumonia. Crazily enough the appointment I got for this was on the rainiest day we’d ever had, and a drive that normally took 30 minutes took us 3 hours with a drive through water that looked like it came up to my floorboards! At this point Tj and I began to seriously look at our lives for unconfessed sin! What had we done to make God so mad at us? On top of that Tj was told he’ll deploy for 6 months in January, and he went in to have a bone scan to see about possible shin fractures, and they wanted more x-rays of his hip. We still don’t have the results, but dang…I’m ready for a break!
Well, after 3 1/2 weeks I finally remembered to call my friend from Ga who’s a nurse and tell her the news. She said we shouldn’t get our hopes up. We had an x-ray appt set up for close to 4 weeks from when Jack got his cast, she said he probably wouldn’t get his cast off. Because it’s the biggest bone it takes longer than other bones to heal. I’d already asked everyone to pray, so I tried to be optimistic, but I also really tried to brace myself.
Tj was night flying that night, so I left Max with him when Jack had his x-ray. I saw the x-ray and said to the tech that he probably wouldn’t be getting the cast off that day and she agreed with me. I could clearly see two bones. There looked to be new growth, but it was really overshadowed by the two broken pieces. They sent us to a room to wait for consultation and the nurse asked about the state of Jack’s cast. I told her he’d pooped in it and asked if they could redo some of the padding. When they put him in the cast they put him under anesthesia so I didn’t think they’d want to do that again. She said she’d ask. I have to admit I cried as I waited. I really handled this whole situation so badly. I was so tired of that stupid cast, and all the frustration that went along with it. I got ahold of myself and came to grips with the fact that we were gonna have to live with another 3 weeks of the cast. I was completely caught off guard when the nurse stuck her head in and said are you ready to go get that cast off!!! I said ‘Us? Really? His bones didn’t even look healed yet?!’ She said yep, c’mon! So we did. I kept thinking the whole time that they were just gonna redo the cast, I tried not to get my hopes up, but it really came off!
It was so wonderful to hold my baby again! He cried as they sawed off the cast, but immediately stopped when I picked him up and held him. It’s so nice to buckle him in so quickly, and change his diaper so quickly, and to have him sit at the same height as me when I feed him, and to hold him! I’m so glad that’s over! What a month!
Thursday when I brought him home he couldn’t even sit up by himself. The therapist reminded me he hadn’t used his stomach and back muscles for 4 weeks. Saturday morning he could sit by himself. Sunday morning he took about 5 steps without holding on to anyone’s hand! Saturday his steps were very wide, but Sunday his feet were positioned a little closer together. He does walk with a little limp, but it really just looks like he’s learning to walk for the first time…which he practically is. He’s come so far so fast…I would think he’ll be walking by himself soon! Sweet boy.