Friday, August 28, 2009

Monkey Girl Broke Her Arm

I just spent the last two days on a retreat with Ahnalin at our family's second home. It is a large compound, built into the hillside in the Sierra Foothills, overlooking a lovely vista. This getaway is more commonly referred to as "Sierra Nevada Memorial Hospital".

And while the staff was wonderful, friendly, kind and caring, it was NOT a fun visit.

Ahnalin, aka "Monkey Girl", was swinging from her beloved Monkey Bars at Kindergarten on Thursday morning. Mind you, she LOVES the monkey bars and is very good at them. But somehow, she lost her grip, and fell. The school called and said to come quickly, as they pretty much knew it was broken.

Thankfully, it was not a compound fracture, and there were no bones sticking through the skin, but it was definitely turning a the wrong angle, and had another bump that looked pretty ominous.

My friend Kim Adams, who works at the school, not only carried Ahnalin to her office, but stayed with her, comforting her and holding her arm, and then drove us to the hospital. Thank you Kim! I am so grateful!

When we arrived at the hospital, the Triage caregiver took the carseat out of the van, with Ahnalin still buckled in and put them both on a wheelchair. Her feeling was that the arm was so unstable, that the carseat was providing a splint of sorts. She rushed us through intake and got Ahnalin into a room very quickly. Ahnalin and her carseat were put directly on a bed where two nurses assessed her needs and called for X-Rays. They determined that she needed an I.V. right away and got her started on paid meds. If I remember correctly, around a dozen X-Rays were taken to get the best view of the break. We saw the films and, I have to admit, I had never seen a break so bad, but then I am not a doctor. The X-Ray told a far worse story than could be seen from the outside.

Ahnalin wanted me to hold my hand on the broken part because the pressure made it feel better. We later found out why.

Papa brought India over after school, but Ahnalin was already in "morphine land". So I snapped a pic to show Ahnalin later when she was missing her sister.

After one of the many X-Ray session, the techs brought this darling blanket to my girl, donated by Project Linus . They thought it was perfect for our girl because there were monkeys and giraffes and lots of flowers, and most of all, PINK! To all my sewing buddies out there, if you donate blankets to Project Linus, thank you! If you are looking for a wonderful reason to sew, that will impact a child who really needs a blanket, this is your project. These blankets are so appreciated.

"What is Don doing?", you may ask. Well, funny story....NO REALLY!

Ok, deep breath before I embarrass myself here.....


Ok, as I was leaning over to tuck Ahnalin's new blanket around her, the front of my capri pants SPLIT OPEN!!!!! And it was NOT ON A SEAM!!! NO WAY!!! OH! MY! GOSH!
SO the friendly nurses brought me a one of those lovely, lovely big hot blankets from the blanket heater. Woohoo! Don had just left to go get a few things for Ahnalin and for me since we had been told about the upcoming surgery and the need to spend the night. So I called him and asked him to bring me some pants from home.

By the time he arrived, I had already undressed Ahnalin and gotten her surgery gown on her. The cherry jumper came off easily, but I had to cut the blouse off of her. When he handed me the pants, I changed and then threw both the ruined pants and the cut up blouse in the trash. But then I grabbed them both back out the trash and decided to salvage the buttons from them! Reduce! Recycle! Reuse!

So, Don decided that he would do that for me since I was starting to shake from hunger and nerves at this point, and he was afraid I would stab myself with the scissors. My hero!

At this point, the pre-op nurse came to take us into the prep room to get ready for the anesthesiologist. I was very nervy at this point because my baby was going under and I had no idea how she would respond. Things have been going better with her PTSD and I did not want a regression, and I had no idea how she would deal with anesthesiology. And the surgeon kept asking me about her family medical history. I explained that we did not have it because she was adopted from China and her background was unknown. He did not believe me. It was frustrating to say the least.
But eventually, they wheeled her out the door into the operating room and Don and I were given a beeper and sent to the waiting room. We got some dinner and waited...

That beeper was scary! When it went off, it was super loud and urgent sounding. So we ran back to the OR waiting room and no one was there. I was concerned, to say the least. But after a few minutes, the OR nurse came to get me to be with my girl as she came out of the anesthesia. She was hurting really badly. She had plenty of morphine but the surgeons said that they had to really manipulate all the bone chips and fragments back into place. Several steel pins were put into the bones to hold them together and then a temporary cast was put on. The surgeon explained how the surgery could possibly go wrong, and then sent us up to the surgery floor to spend the night.

Ahnalin was pretty aware of her cast and was in very deep pain. It was so hard to know that I could not take that pain away. Knowing that the next several weeks were going to be hard on her was even sadder. Ahnalin will have to be out of Ballet for 8 weeks, not ride her bike, not jump on her mini trampoline, not play on the monkey bars and not start her flute lessons. She would have to play gently for 8 weeks. I am not sure how this is going to work since she has SO MUCH ENERGY most of the time.

Anyway, a little bit later, Dida, Nana, and Papa arrived and then Dida stayed so I could go get a shower. Don brought me back later and the nurses brought a cot for me. I was so grateful for that, because every other time I have spent the night in the hospital with the kids, I have slept in an upright chair.

At 2:30AM, Ahnalin's I.V. went bad. The very sweet nurse was unable to get another one in. Ahnalin has very, very small veins and her PTSD kicks in really badly with those kinds of things. So we had a hard time getting Ahnalin pain meds after that. Every other pain med they had, had red food dye in it. Why???? I never understand that. But a solution was finally found and we were able to get about 2 hours of sleep.
A few hours later the doctor came to visit us and released Ahnalin to come home. He was pleased with what he saw! Hallelujah!

Daddy came back to bring us home. YAY!! Ahnalin got to ride in a wheelchair! But I forgot to take a picture of that.

After we got home, Ahnalin was tucked in, on the sofa, given ice cream, and handed the remote controls. She is being very "tiny" because she feels so badly. Her arm is itching terribly under the cast but there is nothing we can do about that.
A friend brought us yummy dinner, and we are now settled in for the night.

In the morning, she will help me design a really cool, girly sling. Pictures coming of that.
Edited to add that the reason Ahnalin wanted pressure on her arm was that she felt the bones were "floating away". She could feel the pieces sticking out and thought that if I did not hold it down, the bones would float out of her arm. This made me really sad.

We would appreciate any prayers you could send our way. This break is very tricky and we are praying that the elbow will function properly again. Please pray that the pain will be minimal and that God will protect us from infection.

Much love to you all.



The Momtastic Stitcher said...

Oh wow what a time...I will be thinking of you all and hope she is jumping around again soon!

lady m said...

This most have been one of the longest days to experience!

Watching your child in pain and you can not help them is the worst feeling. But remember that the Lord is in complete control of the situation...Do not Fret or worry, Praise the Lord that she went through the operation like a trooper!

My prayers are with you...

lady m

April said...

What a interesting read, Sivje - poor little girl! So, did I miss it or why did the pressure from your hand help?

Dawn said...

Poor Baby!!! Big Hugs to Ahnalin... Oh I so remember this. Oliver broke his arm when he was four jumping off a chair trying to be "Spiderman" of all things. The thing that was so unbelievable is how well the little stinkers adapt with a big clunky cast on. We were amazed that within a few days after the "incident" we was basically back to normal. You might be surprised when you see how quickly they get back into trouble : )!

Colleen said...

Awww, Sivje,
I am praying for you all.

What a sweetie.

She will love those pics to share with her class!

julia said...

Oh I'm so sorry! Our middle daughter broke her arm at the elbow when she was 5. It was three days after her birthday and she was riding the bike we had given her. Anyway to make a long story short. The ball at the end of her bone broke off and popped out of the socket. We, too, went through the surgery, hospital stay, etc... As hers happened on June 3, the summer was pretty much amiss that year. No swimming, not even for big and little sis. But, we got through it and she's ok as a 30 year old now.
Please give Ahnalin my good wishes for a quick recovery, at least from the pain. Oh yeah, the girly sling is a great idea! We did that for our Laura too. I still have it.

seamsgreat said...

I had tears in my eyes reading this. Give Ahnalin a big hug. I pray she recovers quickly and is back to her monkey girl self.~janet

Jane Steen said...

I hope Ahnalin's already feeling better! Thanks for the Project Linus link - through it I found my local chapter and when I visit Michael's today (because I want to knit myself a warm shawl for working in my home office all winter) I will be picking up the materials for a baby blanket as well! I love baby blanket yarns but have no-one to give the blankets to... now I do. What a great way to indulge my knitting urges AND help a family at the same time. Tell Ahnalin I will knit a pink blanket in her honor; she doesn't know me but it may make her smile.

MommytoAJ said...

poor girlie - I get teary just looking at her sad face... I hope she heals quickly and is not too uncomfortable!!

shelly said...

Poor sweet girl!! Praying for you and your family as you cope with the changes ahead!

Laura L. said...

Wow, what an ordeal. Poor girl. :( Thanks for sharing about it, and also for letting us know what we need to pray for. I will continue to pray for her arm, elbow, pain level, and emotions, PTSD, etc.

Goosegirl said...

Thank you all. We so appreciate the prayer. Personally, I would be happy to never have to stay a night in the hospital again.

Ahnalin was so happy when she heard that many of her China sisters were praying for her too.

prechrswife said...

Poor baby girl! I hope she is feeling much better very soon.

Amy said...

Lots of prayers heading your way!

lpiccoli said...

Sivje, yikes. Poor baby girl. I am praying for her!!! Laura

~* Aria *~ said...

When Charlotte was in the hospital, we were given a Project Linus blanket. At first I didn't realize it was a PJ blanket for us to keep and thought it was just a nice, homey touch. It's a pretty quilt make from a cotton print that looks like a pieced quilt with a pretty print backing. Knowing that someone took the time and expense to make a hospital stay for a child who will never be seen was so touching, and it reminded me of when I was 15 and got a pillow through the hospital auxiliary, a group of volunteers who make pillows for patients. That was touching too. These things don't seem like a big deal until one is in a position to receive one. That blanket is one of Charlotte's favorites now. I'm glad Ahnalin got one. They're a great thing to do with a couple extra yards of fabric, and it's a good feeling being able to give something. So I do it. I hope you do too. Even a one here and there makes a real difference to the recipient, and I know you know the feeling you get as a mom whose child gets one, so it helps the parents too. I think our babies being hospitalized is harder on us than it is on them!

~* Aria *~ said...

Also that anesthesiologist was an idiot. It's common knowledge that in foreign adoptions very little, if anything at all, is known about the biological families' medical histories. it's not so uncommon to not even know an exact birthdate for a child!!