Wednesday, August 31, 2005

Little Broken Bones

A day in my life...

Yesterday afternoon I had just hit "publish blog" on my most recent post, trying unsuccesfully to ignore the phone ringing incessantly beside me. Picking it up, I hear my daughter crying, telling me she thought she broke a bone and I need to come pick her up right away.

This is where the color drains out of most mother's faces and they rush around scrambling for their keys and purses in a panicked state. Visualizing the worst as they fumble with the lock at the front door.

Not me. I calmly tell her I will be there soon, hang up, and pick up the receiver again to place another call. My mother answers and I tell her that I wont be home this evening as I have to take Jess to the hospital since she broke her arm.


You see, my daughter tends to have the worst luck with things such as walking, falling out of her bed, and playing co-ed dodgeball. Four years, three casts. This has become old hat for me and I am sure that they are going to give me my own personalized parking spot at the Children's Hospital soon. I have paid enough in parking fees there over the last few years that I am on their Christmas card mailing list now.

The first time, just over 4 years ago now - she was 8 and was downstairs in her room sleeping. Something made her get up late at night and she tripped and fell - using her hand to brace her fall. She came upstairs and was whimpering a little, saying that she thought she may have broken something. I was thinking it was a lamp or a piece of furniture at first, but then she held up her little twig of an arm and you could see both the radius and ulna bones projecting up at weird angles. We spent 12 hours in emergency that night and she emerged with a plaster cast after they knocked her out and reset the bones in place.

The second time was last October when she was playing dodgeball in gym class. When I saw on my call display that it was her school, my first thought was "what did she break this time?" Another trip to Emerg and seven hours later her broken wrist was neatly fixed up in a purple fiberglass forearm cast.

So, yesterday when I heard the familiar words, I gathered my things and calmly went to pick her up. This was the first time that she actually was crying though -the pain was obviously much worse. We fought rush hour traffic and arrived at the hospital 35 minutes later. They weren't too busy for a change, and she was able to score some codeine and extra-strength tylenol for the pain while we waited. Four hours, some ketamine and a fluorescent orange full-arm cast later, I took her and her fractured radius home.

It was 11pm and she went to bed almost immediately, but kept waking up because of the pain. At 12:30am she began to complain that the cast felt too tight, and when I noticed her fingers were a purplish-shade, I phoned the hospital help line. They advised I bring her back so a doctor could evaluate, so off we went again. We booked another four hour session in ER while they cut through and loosened the cast, making it home around 5am.

There is something about an injured child that transforms them back several years. I look at my daughter most days and see her for what she is - almost a teenager, confident in who she is, terrorizing the boys and spending hours doing her hair. When something like this happens though all I can see is the little girl she once was. Helpless and scared, needing - no - really needing her mommy to make everything alright again. They say kids grow up too fast and it is true, so when fleeting moments like this happen I relish having that little girl back in my arms one more time. Even if it is to go get another cast.