After The Fall

Well, we certainly have had a mighty big day around here. This morning, as I was getting ready for work, Dante was coming down the stairs to have breakfast. Laura and I were talking to each other when we heard a thump and a crack; we whirled to see Dante lying face down on the landing. Immediately, he started into a panicky, high-pitched cry. We both jumped up and ran over to him, carried him down the rest of the stairs, and took turns holding him while the other one examined him. There was no blood, and we didn’t see any marks on him, but he was really, really upset, and wouldn’t stop crying.

He probably cried for a solid hour, and finally calmed down with a mixture of food, milk, and reading. By this point, I felt pretty confident he was okay, but Laura wasn’t so sure. We got him a little bit of breakfast and stayed with him as he transitioned into more normal play. At this point, we noticed that he was noticeably favoring his right arm. He’d cradle it close to his stomach while reaching for something with his left. I managed to have him test his mobility and function by improvising the “arms up – arms down” game (with finger wiggling, pointing, etc.) and he seemed to be able to use his right arm and hand normally. Indeed, he sometimes used it unprompted, but most of the time he just held it close to him, and when he’d put any weight on it (for instance, to climb up on the couch), I’d see him cry with pain and bring his hand over to be kissed.

So we got in to see a doctor (not his normal pediatrician, but somebody else in her practice), who examined him and ordered a couple of X-rays of his right forearm. We took him over to be X-rayed, which was probably the worst part of the entire thing. We had to hold him down and keep him still while the images were being taken, and he did not like that, not one little bit. He seemed really scared and upset the entire time, but we got through it, then walked around trying to entertain him while we waited for the images to develop. And waited. We started seeing signs of consternation from the staff there, and somebody came in to bend over the machines and “hrm” thoughtfully. After a while of this, we expected them to come and tell us that we had to do it again, and in fact that’s exactly what happened. Apparently there was some kind of technical glitch with their equipment, so they didn’t get the images. So we had to trundle back in there and go through the whole thing. Dante started to get a teensy bit more used to it after the fourth one was taken, but mostly it was a whole lot more screaming and crying.

Finally, we got the images, and took them back to the pediatrician, who confirmed that yup, he had a fractured radius. The outside of the bone was a smooth line until right before the wrist, where we could see the bump of a buckle fracture. Apparently, kids’ bones are flexible enough that they can sometimes just bend in on themselves and buckle a bit. So he got splinted, and will get a cast on Monday, which will need to stay on for about three weeks. The reason he didn’t get a cast today is that apparently sometimes there can be swelling associated with these, and they didn’t want to cast him and then have him swell up inside it. He hated this part a little less than the rest of the process, but he still didn’t like it much. They also put his arm in a sling, which he thought was completely baffling.

He fell asleep on the way home and we got him into bed from the car. He stayed asleep long enough for us to eat a bit of lunch, then woke up again very upset. We got a little bit of food into him, and then, predictably, went through a while of him angrily explaining to us that he didn’t want to be wearing a sling and a splint, and we should take them off him right now. In fact, he managed to get the sling off himself by working it over his head, so I gave up on it at that point, figuring I’d put it back on later tonight (which I did.) Laura took off to get him some treats, while he and I settled in to watch a DVD and regain a little calm.

Laura came back with balloons and ice cream, both of which he loved. Now he seems to be more or less back to himself, adapting to the splint and sling with only occasional fussing about how annoying they are. So I think he’s mostly over the trauma. I trust that somehow, somewhere, at some point, Laura and I will find a way to get over ours.

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One thought on “After The Fall

  1. Oh, poor little boy! And poor parents! I’m glad you guys were keeping a good eye on him and took him in as soon as you realized there was a problem. The bummer part of it is, he’s gonna have this cool cast, and he’ll be too little to remember it when he grows up! I’m thinking about all of you. Hang in there, dears.

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