Wednesday night my daughter Tess decides to jump off the swing at a local park and see how far out she can get. Fun! She lands right arm first into the wood chips, all of her 55 pounds coming down on top of it and her elbow dislocates at an horrendously ugly angle. Not fun! We drive to the local emergency room where we get various opinions on how many bones are broken and what’s not supposed to be where before an pediatric orthopedist comes in to try to put everything back together. After pretty much writhing in pain for three hours they give Tess some morphine and she immediately starts sticking her toungue out at me calling me a knucklehead. An hour later, “consciously sedated” (asleep with your eyes open,) I watch the doctor try to “manipulate” the elbow back into place. Every now and then, Tess moans. I do too. More sedation. More pushing and pressing. More doctor shaking head while looking at x-rays. Can’t get it right. Finally, at 11 o’clock, she splints it, tells us to bring Tess in to her office on Thursday, sends us home. Thursday, doctor says the elbow still is not right. She’ll need to admit Tess to the hospital for more manipulation but most likely surgery. I say “Now hold on thar, doc” or something like that, get on the phone and call my athletic trainer friend. She says, uh-uh. “Call CHOP!” (Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia.) I get a Friday morning appointment with a orthopedic doctor who specializes in club foot. But at least it’s children’s club foot. We fight rush hour traffic, get to the hospital, meet the doctor who takes one look at the new x-rays and says “the radial ulnal forearm osmosis…” or something like that, showing us a bone that’s pointing in a direction about 15 degrees away from where it should be. “No worries,” he says. “I have a specialist friend who loves kids elbows!” He e-mails the x-rays (gotta love this technology thing) to the elbow doctor who says “Surgery at 3 p.m.” He’ll try to “manipulate it” but may have to “make a small incision” to get things right. Worst case…hardware. (Hardware?) Oy. Tess, who I have now officially decided is one of the most incredible children to ever walk the Earth, gets prepped with a smile, then sits and watches Clifford while we meet about half a dozen nurses, anesthesiologist, co-surgeons, etc., all of whom understand the mental state of white knuckled parents watching their baby go into the operating room for the first time ever. Finally, we give Tess a kiss, and she walks hand in hand with a nurse through a big, push the button on the wall automatic door into the OR. Oy, yoy, yoy (as my Swedish grandfather used to say.) We go to the waiting room filled with other whiteknuckled parents, eat really bad fast food from the cafe, and wait for about 75 minutes until doctor comes out and flashes the the thumbs up. “We got it back without having to open it up.” Yay! He shows us new x-rays and says “the radial ulnal forearm osmosis all better…” or something like that. Half hour later, Tess gets out of recovery with a pretty blue cast, has a really bad orange slurpy, calls us both knuckleheads. We go home, eat dry toast and apple juice, and fall exhausted in a heap. She’s ok.
This parenting stuff is tough…
Rob Reynolds says
This touched me. 16 years ago they discovered my daughter only had one functioning kidney and decided the other had to be removed. We wne through the same white knuckle experience and your posting helped me relive the ups and downs of her surgery. All worked out well for her (she turned 17 today) and for your daughter. Thanks for sharing and congratulations on having such a great kid. -rr
Randy Brown says
Will – I’m sorry your daughter had to go through that! Isn’t it amazing the level of confusion in the medical profession? Glad Dad’s OK too.
Dr. B. says
I am glad that it all worked out well in the end. Children are truly resilient beings aren’t they? As for nuttiness that preceded this happy ending I have a sock filled with quarters that you might like to borrow 🙂
I sure am glad that all turned out well! But, this just points out the problem with HMO’s. You must have a PPO plan since you were able to get your daughter to CHOP without pulling teeth. I’ve been fighting my HMO for a MONTH, trying to get my daughter back to the neurologist for a follow up appointment! It is a disgrace when parents cannot even get appropriate medical attention for their children because of insurance companies with eyes fixed on the all mighty dollar! So, it really does my heart good to hear about successes like yours. Thanks for sharing.
Anne Davis says
Tess is incredible! Hang on for the rest of the parenting ride- the thing is that the kids survive just fine, parents….well..not as easy. I am glad all is fine now!
James Farmer says
Wow! It’s quite something else being on the other side ‘aint it! Wow! Thanks Will.
Terry Elliott says
Man, the parent trip is one long crazy ride that never ends. I wouldn’t trade it for anything, whiteknuckles and all. Damn glad it worked out for the Hardy One.