My Son’s Second Birthday: Pain Part 2

You can read Part 1 here.

hip spica casts
My son had the one on the far left
(one leg was free)

Part 2

Once the doctor read the X-ray a fracture was confirmed.  But not in his lower leg.  Mr. Sensitive fractured his femur, the toughest bone in your body.  The break was a ‘spiral’ fracture, and went from his knee to his hip.  We found out later this type of fracture is highly correlated with child abuse because of the force needed to break this bone.

We also found out that we would need to go to the fracture clinic at the partnering hospital tomorrow morning.  The doctor recommended we get there by 6:30 AM because, ‘it’s first come, first served.’  It was now after midnight.  We would go home tonight with a temporary splint and prescription for codeine.

Imagine putting a toddler with a splint from his hip to his toes in a car seat.  Imagine the pain involved as bones and muscles move.  Imagine YOU are the one inflicting this pain on your child.  You caused the screams.  Imagine the pain you feel as a parent.

I will never forget that night.

We drove to a 24 hour pharmacy.  Mr. Sensitive screamed over every bump and eventually cried himself to sleep.  Hubby sat in the car while I raced in to have the prescription filled.  The pharmacist questioned the codeine prescription in a toddler, and cited safety concerns.  I told the pharmacist my son fractured his femur, and the pharmacist handed over the medication.

Somehow we arrive at home and put Mr. Sensitive in our bed.  It would have been impossible to put him into a crib.  Somehow we slept, and made it to the hospital the next morning at 6:30 AM.

We waited.  At this point we were wheeling Mr. Sensitive around in a stroller with the seat in full recline, so he was flat on his back.  I read him stories, we drank coffee, and we waited.  And waited.  For hours.

The doctor called us in.  He announced, “We cannot set this here.  You need to go to the Hospital for Sick Children.  They are experts in this field, their orthopedic surgery unit is world class.  You need to go there.  We will call ahead and send the X-rays, here’s the CD in case they don’t receive them.  But, you will be admitted as ER patients.  That means you will wait for about 8 hours before you see a doctor.  You need to pack food, diapers, whatever you think you will need.”

By noon we were Emergency patients at the Hospital for Sick Children.  Mr. Sensitive was lying on his back in the stroller, having survived the loading into the carseat and removal from the carseat.

Thank God for the folks who designed Sick Kids (as the Hospital for Sick Children is known).  It’s like Disney world meets health care.  The main lobby is filled with clowns floating on parachutes.  Even now, Mr. Sensitive likes to play in a water fountain there and watch the elevators go up and down.  The ER was fantastic.  We had private room, a sliding glass door we could shut out hospital noise with.  The door was covered with curtains.  We had a small sink, a couple comfy chairs and the hospital bed. Mr. Sensitive lay in bed watching cartoons on the big screen TV.

(Hubby was especially excited about the TV; he admired its size, its quality and range of channels.  See, we don’t actually own a TV.  So it kept Hubby and Mr. Sensitive distracted.)

We were told Mr. Sensitive could not eat because surgery could happen at any time.  We were waiting for an opening in the OR.  Mr. Sensitive was now given morphine to help manage his pain.  It put him into a fog, and helped him be more comfortable.  But, every few hours he would hold me and sob, “Pain! Don’t want it!”

Hours crept by.  Mr. Sensitive dozed, watched cartoons and cried.  He became hungry and we could not feed him.

I remember the terrible guilt I felt when I snuck out of the room to eat soup and a sandwich out of his sight.  I stood in the hallway, and custodial staff stared at me.

Hubby and I watched TV, watched Mr. Sensitive and waited.  At this point we were over 24 hours past the time Mr. Sensitive fell.  We were supposed to be camping up north.  Hubby had booked this time off work.  We had set aside $500 as our vacation fund.  Most of that money would go for hospital parking, meals at hospitals, and other healthcare costs.  We would eventually rent a specialized car seat and purchase a portable DVD player for Mr. Sensitive.

After midnight we were called for surgery.  The doctor in-training wheeled Mr. Sensitive’s gurney to the operating room.  She chatted with us cheerily.  She explained what the hip spica cast would look like, and that it would extend from Mr. Sensitive’s chest to his ankle.  His torso would be encased.  Luckily he still wore diapers.

The anesthesiologist gave Mr. Sensitive a sedative and we left the room.  We waited in a private family waiting area.  Imagine a large room, filled with leather sofas, side tables and telephones.  Hubby and I lounged on sofas, exhausted and too worried to sleep.  I am terrified of anesthetics and kept worrying about, what if-?  We were over the 24 hour mark of no real sleep.

I remember the cheerful doctor coming into the waiting area at about 2:00 AM.  We were rushed to Mr. Sensitive’s side, he was in a metal crib and his body covered in a bright blue cast.  He was groggy.  I was thrilled that he was ok.

Once again, we were moved to a room where a nurse could monitor Mr. Sensitive for the rest of the night.  Hubby slept in a chair beside his crib.  The nurses offered me (at 6 months pregnant) a bed in another room.  I took it.  Hubby stayed with Mr. Sensitive while he woke up and vomited after surgery, and kept trying to shake him awake.  (We now know that with Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy Mr. Sensitive needs alternate anesthetics, and perhaps should not have had the ones he did.)

The next morning I helped Mr. Sensitive choose items from the menu for breakfast.  (Sick Kids Hospital has an awesome system for patients where they order meal choices off a menu.  This is in stark contrast to other local hospitals where you get what they give, whether you want it or not.)  By lunch Mr. Sensitive had eaten two plates of lasagne.  We arranged for my parents to drop a specialized car seat off at the hospital.  Hubby installed the car seat in the parking garage.  By midafternoon we were discharged.

We came home and collapsed into bed.  It was now 48 hours after the fall.

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About Angela

Super-powered, Special Ed teacher and special needs mama to FOUR (!) children with an assortment of special needs; including Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy and Prader Willi Syndrome. Our family features a heavy dose of good ol' ADHD). I blog about our halfpastnormal life.
This entry was posted in disABILTY, Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy, Early Childhood Development, Halfpastnormal is who we are, Healthcare, Parenting and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to My Son’s Second Birthday: Pain Part 2

  1. Hannah VW says:

    Our son has one ankle and calf free, but both knees are immobile. We hope that on the next cast (it will probably have to be replaced in a few weeks) he can have one knee free so he can have a bit of mobility and be a little lighter!
    The babysitter that was with our son (and yes, we had to tell the doctor her name, age, etc. and whether or not we suspected her of abuse…which thankfully was a big NO) when he fell at the park felt horrible that she fed him after it happened b/c that meant he had to wait 8 hours to have his cast put on under anesthesia. But we were able to get the cast on that same night.

    • Angela says:

      Wow – that sounds like a much better experience than ours. Our saving grace once we were home with an immobile toddler was a portable DVD player and stack of DVDs from the library (it was our before laptops and Netflix technology). Our son could only lie flat so we kept him in our bed with DVDs playing beside him. Good luck – keep me posted!

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