blood draws and broken bones

13 Oct

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?

photo 1 (1) photo 2 (1) photo 3 (1) photo 4 (1) photo 5 (1)


9 Responses to “blood draws and broken bones”

  1. phantomdiver October 13, 2013 at 12:03 pm #

    It’s a balance, that’s for sure! Don’t fret. It’ll all work out.

    When Timmy was about four, he had two ER visits within two weeks, and I said to the ER doctor that I was worried that they would think we were hurting him. He said that first off, the injuries that Timmy had (one of them resulted from jumping on his bed and landing with his chin on a bookcase shelf) were very common in that age group. Also, I was careful to let Timmy say what had happened rather than jumping in to make it a different story. Of course Ari can’t talk, so you can’t do that. But she also doesn’t have bruised upper arms that look like finger marks, which is good.

    Anyway, poor you and poor Ari! Life can be so tough!

    • annaojesus October 13, 2013 at 8:55 pm #

      Awww, thanks so much, Melissa! I appreciate that you can empathize. And I wonder if this will be easier once she can speak for herself 🙂

      I don’t think the pediatricians ever doubted us, really, but the idea of hurting her breaks my heart.

  2. Emma Alden October 13, 2013 at 12:55 pm #

    I agree with John on this one in regards to his comment about taking her to the ED. I’m confused why a general pediatrics office can’t do a splint. Surely that’s a pretty common general pediatrics issue that really shouldn’t require an ED to deal with? You’re an awesome mom, Anna, an inspiration!

    • annaojesus October 13, 2013 at 9:11 pm #

      Awww, Emma! You’re too sweet! And, yes, I pretty much agree with John as well–definitely if it was someone else’s child :)–just emotional in the heat of the moment. We were confused about the splint as well. I think they had splints for older children but just didn’t feel like they were in a position to make one for an infant. John might me more experienced with stuff like that in the ED, but who knows? xoxo

  3. Jenny F. Scientist, PhD October 13, 2013 at 7:52 pm #

    A tot friend broke his leg going down one of those tiny Little Tikes slides that’s about two feet off the ground, when he was about two and a half. He must have hit it just wrong. I saw the slide, but I’m still not sure how he managed. And my older kid dislocated my younger kid’s elbow this summer, the first week after we moved 900 miles. (“What happened?” “I don’t know, neither of us was in the room, he’s almost TWO! But now he won’t pick things up and put them in his mouth, so I’m pretty sure his arm is hurt, though I palpated it and it’s probably not broken, because he didn’t scream…” That was a great ER trip.) Anyhow. It’s amazing how they manage to injure themselves! I hope she feels better soon.

    Your spouse is awesome too. 🙂

    • annaojesus October 13, 2013 at 9:15 pm #

      Oh poor little guy! It’s amazing the things they can do to themselves and NOT get injured, yet a seemingly unremarkable incident can hit them just right. It’s still incredible to me that I could accidentally drop Ari on her head and she would not even have a bruise (–though I hope to avoid that in the future :/

      Thank you so much for your kind words and well wishes. And, yes, I think my spouse is pretty awesome too 🙂

  4. Calie Garrett October 13, 2013 at 8:27 pm #

    Shortly after Hannah’s first birthday (and just days after learning to walk), on my parents’ watch, she somehow ended up with a buckle fracture just above her ankle. This was a super fun day:

    • annaojesus October 13, 2013 at 9:16 pm #

      Oh my goodness, poor little Hannah! And what is it about the first birthday?! The cast must have been not a joy at all. We felt so lucky that the orthopedist was happy with her in a splint. She does wear the cast so sweetly, though. xoxo


  1. nursemaid’s elbow | anna in med school - April 19, 2014

    […] a slide head first, we haven’t ended up with more injuries, other than the face plant and the broken wrist before her first birthday.  Thanks so much, Ellen, for capturing this great […]

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