Summer Break Has New Meaning

On the very first day of summer vacation, the Little Shit struck again.

We were at my parents’ house, and Brooke, Dad, and I were taking turns push-mowing the yard. (Dad has developed an old-man obsession with the yard. His riding mower needed a new part, and he simply couldn’t wait.) So, we were all covered in grass clippings, and Brooke’s feet were green, thanks to the flip-flops she was wearing. We were relaxing on the porch, just enjoying the afternoon, and suddenly summer was shattered.

Story, who was on the phone, had Kahlea on a leash. The Little Shit dove off the end of the porch, taking Story with her. Because Story still had a hold of the leash, she wasn’t able to put her hand out to try to break her fall and likely break her wrist like a normal kid. No, she dove off the four-foot-high porch and landed on her shoulder and neck at Dad’s feet.

With thanks to all the gods and goddesses who ever lived, she did not hurt her neck. Her shoulder, though . . .

Brooke got the car, and we–covered in sweat and grass–loaded Story as best we could as she screamed in agony. I tried to calm her as Brooke drove while calling to see if the urgent care had x-ray capabilities. She did an amazing job of avoiding bumps in the chip-sealed road, but Story’s eyes held nothing but pain. She began to doze in and out, and Brooke and I launched into a ridiculous conversation about Minecraft to keep her awake and talking.

Finally, after what felt like ages but was only about twenty minutes, we reached the clinic. The staff was gentle, kind, and determined to do their very best for her. X-rays showed that she had a major break in the humerus right below the shoulder joint. No concussion and no neck injuries. Whew!

Next, we needed to get her to the ER in a couple of towns over. I didn’t realize that this would be the worst part of the entire ordeal and therefore was not prepared for the horror that is watching your child plead with you for help while screaming in terror and pain. As the EMTs did their thing to create a box to stabilize her arm for transport, I stepped up to take my place as strong and reassuring parent. I failed miserably. When Story looked at me, silently begging me to make it all stop, I lost it. I burst into tears and made animalistic noises that no one should ever hear, especially a child who needs her mom to be present and strong. Luckily, my mom was in the room and took over as mother figure as I sobbed in the hallway.

Without my help, they got her ready for an exciting thirty-minute ride in an ambulance. Unbelievably, the EMT and Story were trading dinosaur stories and laughing the entire way. Once we arrived, we were ushered immediately into a room, and a nurse picked a fight with Story by claiming that boys were better than girls. As she argued vehemently against this, the other nurses put in an IV and took her vitals without her even knowing. Brilliant. Just brilliant.

Dinosaur was the theme, and Story donned the name CloudClaw, and her nurse became Terror the T-Rex. Terror took the time to entertain her with pictures, cards, and stories as we waited to have her arm set. I may have fallen slightly in love with him.

They put her arm in a half-cast and sent us home with pain medication and instructions to go to the local orthopedic care center in a couple of days. There was much debate about whether she should have surgery. The break was unusual in a child. An adult would have had to have surgery, but because she is seven and still growing, surgery may not have been the best option.

Story and the pain medication got along very well, so the days between were rather uneventful and full of chatter. At the ortho appointment, the doc sent us up to Riley Children’s Hospital for a pediatric ortho’s opinion, due to the unusual nature of the break. There, we waited as a number of doctors consulted each other. Finally, the determination: a hanging cast. Yay no surgery!

The hanging cast comes with its own set of life complications though. Story must sleep sitting up. She cannot run, jump, climb, or essentially be Story. Because her summer camps are filled with sports activities and swimming, she had to be pulled and is staying home with me all summer. She must never rest her arm; it must always hang so the weight can pull the bone into place. We have to travel to Riley’s every week for new x-rays to see if the bone is healing properly. Because the break is not protected by the cast, she is vulnerable to everyday bumps and bangs. And the Little Shit still lives here.

All that being said, I am so very thankful. I can’t put into words my deep, deep appreciation for the professionals and my family who took care of my baby, making a bad situation merely a good story for the first day of school.

P.S. Ali was WRONG. Our old recliner is taking very good care of us once again. Story sleeps in it, and it supports her sitting position while allowing her a comfortable night’s sleep. I think an apology is in order.