Neither of us is Ari’s favorite this week. I had to hold her down for her one-year blood draw to test for lead poisoning and iron deficiency. Poor thing had to just sit there as they drained two vials from her little arm, the whole time looking at me with fat tears rolling down her red cheeks. All seemed to be forgotten after a few nibbles of homemade neiman marcus cookies.
But then a few days later she fell from standing on John’s watch. It was slightly, slightly more dramatic than her normal fall that she makes 10+ times daily (the perils of learning to walk!), and she was easily consoled. But then John brought her down the stairs in the middle of her going-to-bed routine: “Anna, we have a problem.”
He set her down on all fours in the middle of living room; she tried to crawl, and her right wrist crumpled underneath her weight. After a few attempts, she looked up, grimaced, and made a pathetic little whimper. John: “I think she has a buckle fracture.”
Okay, here’s where we demonstrate, yet again, that the doctor-med student combo does not make the most compliant patient/parents of patient…
In med school, John got hit by a car while biking to his ED sub-internship, an important month in school. He broke his hand and seriously banged up his leg. He arrived to his shift in the back of an ambulance, but he refused pain management so that he could finish up his shift. Badass? Absolutely. Slightly idiotic? Without question. Have I ever mentioned that this kid also went out drinking then tried to go for a run while suffering from a collapsed lung?
Then there’s me. Less badass, more just lazy. I fell (well, more like skidded/slid) down the stairs at 38 weeks pregnant. It was 10pm on the Sunday before my last week of clinical rotations prior to maternity leave. I was tired and heavy, and I sobbed at John, “I don’t want to be on toco for four hours!!” (Cardiotocography: recording of the fetal heartbeat and uterine contractions; after minor trauma, it is standard practice to sit in the ED, hooked up to the monitor for four hours to make sure everyone is doing well.) John monitored me with a simple stethoscope every 20 minutes, even heard a good fetal heart rate acceleration, and we called it a night.
So for our daughter we weighed the pros and cons: take her to the emergency room where we’ll wait for several hours, resulting in an incredibly cranky, overly tired little girl, and where they would at most, take x-rays and splint her (otherwise inexpensive procedures that will end up costing something exorbitant in the ED); or wait until the morning and take her to her primary care, and risk coming off overly cavalier, under-concerned parents. We opted for the latter.
The x-rays confirmed John’s diagnosis: a buckle fracture of the right distal radius (a really small, hardly visible on x-ray break of the bone that extends from one side of elbow to the thumb, on the end of the bone closest to the hand). A nurse from our pediatrician’s office called me with the plan: we were to take Ari in to see a pediatric orthopedist and, in the mean time, we were to take her to the local emergency room to get the wrist splinted.
Already fearing that they must be suspecting child abuse, I was ready to take Ari in the ED and throw away the rest of the day. John refused to let me consider it, stating that “it was the worst waste of resources!” Instead he scrounged around for supplies himself and fashioned her his own brace.
She was pretty perplexed, then peeved by the restraint in motion. But then she learned how to glide! She places her right hand down on the hardwood floor, and simply propels herself around with her left arm–it’s really more efficient than her standard crawling ever was, although she looks like an awkward turtle.
The funny thing is that I’ve tried hard not to be the ridiculously overprotective first-time parent. Just hours before the event, we were at brunch with Ellen at Silk City (with it’s bright lights, funky sculptures, outdoor seating, and casual atmosphere, it’s a sort of heaven for older infants and toddlers), and Ari was banging around the metal legs of the table. I was all like, “It’s cool! She has to learn somehow. She’s not going to break anything.” Famous last words, right?