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Wednesday, September 3, 2014

There Was This Broken Arm

Labor Day Family Gathering...

It is less than an hour in and we are heading to the ER.  Zachary fell off the monkey bars and whatever was hidden under the skin of that arm, all of us who were present knew that he was hurt.  It hurt BAD.  Off we went to get it checked out.
A LONG wait! (Ice wrapped
in Auntie Retty's dishtowel
was a blessing)
A little entertainment in the
waiting room
ERs on holidays are a nightmare.  Last time we were there, it was Zach and it was New Year's Day. The place was full of people.  People who I sometimes wanted to check their charts to see if they were for sure needing to be in an EMERGENCY room.  Not many of them looked like they were suffering all that much.

We waited on Labor Day for two hours before there was a room available for a doctor to check it. Even the triage nurse thought it looked rough.  We could tell there was something not right. I always hesitate a little when I think of taking kids in to the ER because "it is probably nothing" is what my mind says. The longer we waited, the more I felt in my gut that there was something to check out this time.

Our ER doctor ROCKED!
Finally an x-ray...by a great
patient x-ray tech!
Once in the room, Zach was much more comfortable.  I settled him in on the bed and propped a pillow up under his elbow and he started breathing a lot easier.  Poor guy, he has a lot of patience, I do have to say.  That, and he is tough.  After waiting for the x-ray lady and then waiting for the results, another hour and a half went by and the doctor came in with a surprised look on his face and announced that Zachary was one tough kid because it was indeed broken and we had an appointment to see the orthopedic doctor first thing in the morning.  Oh yeah, and there could be surgery involved in the recovery.

Wow, when Zach does something, he does it with gusto, I can say that much about him!  And, thankfully, but God's grace, he was tough!  We left the hospital with strict instructions not to eat after midnight just in case there would have to be surgery.

The Next Morning...

Off we went first thing to see Dr. Switzer.  If there is one thing I can say about this man, it would be WOW! In all of my life experiences with doctors, for myself, or any one of my loved ones, I would have to say Dr. Switzer is the tops!  He knew Zach already when we came in because he had been studying his x-rays "most of the night" were his exact words.

Holding the set while the
plaster dries
He was so great to explain what was going on and to act quickly to help us make a decision.  He had sent out Zach's x-rays to six other colleagues to give their input and was able to tell me what he recommended based on what he had heard AND was not afraid to say "if this was my kid, I would..."  We decided to have him attempt setting it and give it a week in the splint to see if the arm would heal straight.  If there were any problems at all in a week, he could still do surgery.

Holding the angle while
the fiberglass dries
That was good news.  Zach knew it was going to hurt and the doctor didn't try to hide that.  He told us it was written all over Zach's chart from the ER staff that Zachary was a tough kid.  He told Zach that he knew he could do it and sure enough, Zach was tough and the doctor got the bone back where it needed to be.  He wanted to be sure it was right so he sat there and applied pressure while the plaster splint was drying so it would hold it in place.

Itchy Itchy Itchy!
Doc wanted an x-ray in the splint to check the placement of the set and it all looked well with the exception of one thing.  Zach is a little stinker and had somehow found a way to straighten out his elbow a bit more in the splint than the doctor wanted.  He acted quickly and had a nurse wrap fiberglass around the splint and held the angle right where it needed to be while she wrapped and for ten minutes after while the stuff dried!  We loved him!

We are now getting used to the cast and all of the ways life will have to be different for the next few weeks.  Zach broke his left arm and he is left handed.  He told me "I will just learn how to write with my right hand better"! He makes me smile. He has found out this week how happy he is that his mom knits.  Those knitting needles work great to get in under that cast and scratch!  Twelve years of parenting and just now we have our first major broken bone.  That is pretty miraculous for any of you who know my children!

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