Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Monkey Bar Malfunction

I would like to point out that for 5 years, we had a swingset in our back yard, complete with monkey bars. It was a playtime staple. The weather wore it down and when I spent more time removing splinters from various unmentionable body parts, we decided it was time for the beloved swingset to go.

Yesterday was an average day of chaos, filled with average challenges and average weather. The youngest 2 monkeys begged for me to take them to the park where Kiera has soccer practice, so we all went. The past few times we've been there, various middle school students were trying out their parkour skills over a half wall by the bathrooms. Bella joined in. Not great for the maternal nerves, but I survived. So did she.

Bella is not known for her grace. When a friend visited recently, I briefed her that she might hear random lumps and bumps- followed by "I'm Okay!" That would be Bella. She seems unable to master the art of stairs. Or walking around walls. Or objects. Or just walking. Good thing she is bouncey. She rebounds pretty well and is unusually tough for a little mighty mite. We spent the first couple years of her mobility wondering if she had one of those rare disorders where you don't feel pain. As I learned last night, she does feel pain and rather loudly.

We arrived to the park and had been stationed less than 10 minutes when Bella runs to me- I can do the monkey bars! Come watch!  I watched as she scaled the length of bars, jumped down and shot me a thumbs up.  I am mid call, trying to invite kids over for Phillip's birthday. He informs me he can handle the task via text, but as a mom- I still like to know parents are involved- so I take it upon myself to call the parents. It's rather tricky to invite pre teens over for a movie, video games and a sleep over with the vocabulary restrictions that have been imposed by the soon to be 12 year old. I am not allowed to use the words birthday and party together, under no circumstances utter the word "sleepover" and never ever ask if they can stay to "play". It's taken me 2 days just to figure out how to communicate our plan.

I have finished call one and I hear a distant scream. I know that scream. I scan the park by the monkey bars- I know how this is going to go. She isn't there- in her pain, Bella has decided to run a lap around the park.  Her right arm is limp by her side. Oh here we go. I have flash backs of Kiera in Burger King- me telling her she was okay over chicken nuggets while I watched her shake her head and her elbow swell.

I pull her into my lap and feel the length of her arm as I hug her. She doesn't fuss. She is whimpering, but she is probably more scared than anything. After 10 minutes, she calms down enough to brave the playground again. She takes one step and screams. Oh crap. I give her tylenol and try to distract her. She wants to go home. Her elbow is swelling. Bella is tough and she still has tears streaming down her face. If I hurry, we might be able to make it to the acute care clinic and back by bedtime. Oh who am I kidding?

The acute care clinic used to be my pocket ace. It apparently is everyone else's now. It's standing room only, with kids coughing up green stuff, fevers, vomiting and about 4 babies who have fallen from half a foot, whose mothers have decided they need a full work up for brain damage. I hate to tell them it's a hereditary problem they are facing, but the red headed monkey is phasing in and out of pain induced delerium outbursts. The toddler sorts are running around and chucking sippy cups like footballs. I park us by the antibacterial dispenser.  3 hours later, 3 trips to the radiology department and back(resulting in only 2 xrays) I have decided that this is futile. The lowest common denominator is working tonight in every department so I tell the nurse that we are to speak to Dr. Lewis per request from the radiologist. It was a gamble- Dr. Lewis was the doctor the very caring but incompetent radiology tech said ordered the tests when she phoned her superior to say that Bella was guarding her arm and getting a full set would be problematic without sedation or heavy pain meds. We head back to the waiting room and the nurse assumes we are done, I don't correct him and tell him we were instructed to talk to Dr. Lewis immediately. I have promised dinner, ice cream and a treat to get us through. I figure we are going to get an appointment to ortho, a splint and we might be home by my bedtime. No such luck. Mid discharge- the doc gets a page with instructions that she is NPO and needs to be seen in at Tripler immediately. WTFO? The nurse who just rounded the corner with a celebratory popsicle for the monkey has to literally pry the orange ice from her hands- as it is now 9 pm and we have missed dinner, dessert and bedtime.

I debate just taking her home and dealing with it in the morning. But I put my faith in the system and do what is supposedly best for my child. She is sound asleep as we pull into the ER. There is no parking at the ER so I carry her from the upper parking lot. I am grateful it's not Lily and my back immediately spasms in a genious stroke of catholic guilt and punishment. The receptionist is rude and so I am rude back. Before we can complete being rude to each other, a triage nurse appears and whisks us away to a symphony of glares from the waiting room patients. I hand her the note from the acute care doctor and we get to visit a section of the ER I am not familiar with. It is quieter and has the feel of the pacu or recovery room. I ask the nurse where we are- she is nice enough to put it bluntly- it's the ER for less emergent cases that are going to be here awhile. I am grateful that I had my ipod and book in my purse. She keeps telling us how she will need an IV, the doctor comes in and doesn't see an immediate need for an iv- but he does need more xrays. Off to radiology. Amazing how quickly and painlessly people who know what they are doing can get the task accomplished. We  go back in our holding cell. Bell is about to doze off when the nurse enters with iv gear. We have a terse discussion over the need for it. She poo poos me and says it is needed. I ask if the doc requested it specifically. No, but it is good to have just in case. Not my first rodeo- too tired to fight this battle-will deal with this later. Bella is a champ- and I'm sure other than the fear associated with it- the iv didn't hurt near as much as her elbow. The problem is she now has 2 sore arms and can't get comfortable to sleep.

 The doc comes back as she starts to doze. He tried to wake her. Do you really need her awake for this? I ask. I do need to know where it hurts. Ok- press on parts- if it makes her stir- you know it hurts. He looks at me strangely. Can she have something for pain? I ask him. Sure- she can have whatever she needs. Well since the nurse insisted on putting in a damn iv- I say give her something iv worthy- just for the hell of it- kinda like the iv. He honestly tried not to laugh- but orders morphine when the nurse comes in. She seems surprised that she gets more than tylenol and he quips- well she already has the iv in place. I like it because morphine is a slow push- she has to stand there and give it in tiny increments. Yeah- uh huh- not my first rodeo peeps. I wonder if I invite this nice doc over for dinner if we could go over the finer points of splinting and casting- these are probably skills I am going to need with boo.


Catherine said...

Hi Jen and Monkey #4,

Oh my,,,, what tough monkeys you make.

It's a relief to see Bella with a smile on her face.


Angela said...

so what is the official diagnosis? broken? sprained? can't tell if that is a hard cast from the picture. I'm on the edge of my seat here! xoxo

Grandma said...

Jen - How do you do it? Thought I would check in on my grandchildren, and raise my spirits, but... God bless you all. Bella- get better and heal fast, sweetie. FYI, your new cousin looks like she has red highlights. Love, red-head Grandma