The day Isabel broke a leg. Literally

It was Voting Day and I was doing what you do on Voting Day: enjoying a well-deserved glass of bubbles with some girl-friends, our kids messing around in the garden.

A few of the kids were jumping on the trampoline and suddenly Isabel starts crying uncontrollably. Isabel NEVER cries, she is as tough as nails. This should have been clue number 1.

I saunter run over to the trampoline, more out of curiosity than worry, help her down and she refuses to put any weight on her leg. This should have been clue number 2.

I dispense hugs, take her inside and proceed to look at her leg, not seeing anything amiss. She, however, is still crying. We shall call this clue number 3. (refer to “tough as nails” comment above)

By this time the play-date has come an abrupt end and, in a bid to calm Isabel down, we put her in the bath, but she cannot bend her leg. Yep. Clue number 5. (it seems so simple when you see it from this perspective)

We dispense some anti-inflammatory, bandage the leg up to stabilise it and settle in for the night. When I took the bandage off the next morning to have a look and the entire area around her knee was warm. The 6th and final clue that it really, probably, was time to get her to the hospital.

You know how it goes at the Emergency Room. Wait for doctor. Get 3rd degree about what may or may not have happened. Have extended, awkward conversation about whether X-rays should be taken, seeing as how the child is acting really cool about the whole thing. Wait for X-rays. Wait for results. Wait for doctor. Wait for second opinion. Wait for third opinion. Wait for cast. (in this case a back-slab cast that extended from her bum to the tips of her toes). Wait for crutches. Wait 2 weeks for follow-up X-rays to determine the extent of the break.

Here’s the thing though: You should always ALWAYS get the opinion of an Orthopedic Surgeon when a child breaks anything, something I forgot. The cast came off and, when she was still limping a week later, I was very nervous, so off we went.

Official verdict: wait and see, but it should get better, even without the cast. Let the good doctor know if it get worse. No ballet, no gymnastics, no jumping (ja right) and no climbing on jungle gyms (scoff)

I’m petrified of messing up my children’s bones by not being pro-active enough, but I always wonder where you draw the line between Caring Mother and Munchhausen’s. Either way, I feel like Mad Mother. BUT I know that everything has been done to make sure that it isn’t anything that should be dealt with swiftly.

This parenting thing, it’s hard.

When the third child breaks their arm

Marathon puzzle building session
Marathon puzzle building session

Last year Daniel broke his arm in a mystery accident involving a jungle gym, monkey bars, rain and boots. The details have always been a bit sketchy and the story keeps changing.

Earlier this year it was Isabel’s turn when she tripped over a chair. She broke her right arm (greenstick fracture), but it wasn’t too bad as she is left-handed. I saw her X-rays then, so I had a pretty good idea of what the fracture looked like.

On Friday evening we had an impromptu Spur date with some friends. We arrived before our friends, sat down, opened and poured some wine and I took a sip. Only to hear Mignon cry THAT cry.

You know which cry. That something-really-bad-just-happened-cry. She comes to the table with Isabel and her arm is kind of hanging at the wrist. I longingly look at my full glass of well-deserved wine and think ah shit, but say to Mignon ‘don’t worry darling, show Mommy where you got hurt.’ I didn’t really care where she got hurt, I was hoping to distract her to see how hurt she really was.

When she didn’t stop crying I pulled up her sleeves and could see that her left wrist was swollen.  My heart sank. I thought about that glass of wine standing on the table, calling my name.

I left Etienne, the other 2 kids and our friends, who had arrived amidst all the chaos, in the Spur and we hopped in the car and went down the road to our nearest Mediclinic. By the time we arrived Mignon had calmed down and was asking if she hurt her arm like Ouma Hannie (who had dislocated her shoulder a few months ago).  I suppressed a little shudder at that.

At this point I was starting to feel like a drama queen.  I mean, what if I had raced to the hospital and there is nothing wrong with the child’s arm?  And she wasn’t exactly crying hysterically, in fact she was smiling a little. Almost like she was just enjoying the attention.

The staff was very good, they ushered us in immediately, the doctor conducted a careful examination  on a rather unhelpful and unflinching child and a very calm looking Mother looking on.  They must have thought I am a prime candidate for Munchausen, but luckily the doctor elected to rather play it safe and take an X-ray.

They then wanted to roll her in a bed to the X-ray rooms and were a little surprised when I suggested that her arm is sore, not her leg, I’m sure we can walk down the passage. I was on a schedule here people, very hungry and in dire need of that glass of wine. Even then she was in high spirits, asking to play on the iPad and happily drinking her juice, not a care in the world.

I, however, was getting more and more nervous by the minute.

They ushered us in and out of the X-rays (where I gleefully pointed to the X-ray and said that is, in fact, a greenstick fracture) and back into the waiting room, which was filling up quite nicely by this stage and then the doctor came out with a rather surprised look on his face.  Goodness, yes, her arm is broken after all.

At which I had another little inappropriate giggle, yes I did.

So, exactly the same fracture as Isabel, just on the left arm, which worked out well seeing that Mignon is right-handed.

The whole hospital visit took a whopping 35 minutes (including travelling time).  It must be a record.  And I still got to have my glass of wine.

The worst thing?

We keep forgetting her arm is broken. With Daniel and Isabel we were frantic to keep the cast out of water and ran to help them get dressed and wipe their bums.  Mignon has to keep reminding us to help her and to put a plastic bag over her arm at bath time.

Aren’t we just fantastic parents?

PS: when I arrived back at the Spur with Mignon and told the Manager that my child had just broken her arm on their jungle gym and he helpfully offered her an ice cream which she gratefully accepted and grudgingly shared with her brother and sister.

PPS: If you don’t enjoy terrible images people post on FB you might enjoy this post I wrote yesterday, comments welcome as always!