It was bound to happen at some point during my gig as a mother but truthfully I thought it would be my boy who would send me to the E.R with broken bones and not my little girl. We have this set of stairs in our house that Violet has fallen down once before when our top of the stairs gate malfunctioned thanks to my tinkering older son but she tumbled so gently down from top to bottom that she didn’t even get a single bump or bruise. After that fall it took her a bit of time to get confident on the stairs again and for a while she’d cry and beg to be carried down when we encouraged her to hold our hand and come on down or slide down on her bottom but over the past few weeks her confidence had come back. With the return of her confidence we became less restrictive and allowed her to freely go up and down the stairs with us close at hand but giving her the space to exert her renewed confidence and independance….and in the blink of an eye the confidence is easily stolen away.
In the early evening (a week ago today) Violet was sitting quietly on the third stair up from the bottom chattering away with her Daddy about all the amazing things that two-year olds like to chatter about and the second Daddy turned his back she stepped right off the step and tumbled down the three stairs to the hardwood floor at the bottom. Both Mike and I were present when she fell (sitting in the same room) and neither one of us saw the exact mechanism of her fall but it was obvious she was unhappy by the wailing high-pitched screech that she let out the instant she fell. It took about a half hour to calm her down and through the tears we were not sure if she was actually hurt or if she was just tired and emotional because it was nearing if not past her bedtime but she recovered happily and went about smiling and being her normally flirtatious intoxicating self….not seeing any injuries we assumed she was fine. It was about a half hour later as she was colouring at the table that I noticed as I passed that she was holding her left arm real close to her body and I suspected that I should just check her out to make sure there were no bruises anywhere so without thinking much about it I scooped my palms under her arm pits and went to lift her up…….
The room filled out with a loud cry and she shouted “ouch” and “hurt” two words I’m pretty sure I’ve never heard her say before and in that instant I knew that something was not right even though I didn’t know what. Mike and I easily agreed that we would take her to the E.R, dropped Jacob off at Nana and Papa’s house and proceeded to the hospital where we were greeted with about 20 other children waiting to be seen in the pediatric emergency section….CRAP. We registered and began the waiting process as is typical of emergency rooms these days and it looked as though most of other people waiting were also experiencing pain or bone problems of some sort…proof that when it rains it pours.
Here the thing that you may or may not know about my children: They are insanely happy even when they are experiencing sickness and extreme pain so much so that people rarely belive us when we’ve expressed concerns in the past. Just a year ago to this exact month we had Jacob in the ER smiling and laughing so badly that the ER didn’t seem to believe us when we told them he was having trouble breathing…..the 84% oxygen saturation they discovered when we pressed them to examine him as fast as they could told them otherwise….our kids are just happy folks. After making it through triage we saw the check-in nurse who based off of Violet’s smiling, non-complaining, overly happy to be at the ER attitude told us it was probably just a sprain or strain of some sort and I kind of believed her and that peaceful comforting feeling that everything was alright came over me. After about an hour of waiting we saw the pediatrician who noting Violet’s shy personality coached me in areas to move her body so that he could witness her reactions….so that he x-rayed the right part of the body and so one by one I did exactly as he asked touching and bending parts of my little girls body as he asked.
Fingers, wrist, elbow, ribs……everything was seeming to be fine until he asked me to put pressure on the collar-bone and when I did that Violet let out that same blood curdling scream we had heard at home and the doctor remarked that it looked like we needed a collar-bone scan but that based on her overall pleasant mood he thought it was probably just strained and hurting from the fall. I continued feeling optimistic and off we went to wait for our x-ray….we waited…and waited…and waited some more until the nurse with a shocked face questioned us about if we’d been called yet for our x-ray which led to us discovering that somehow our paperwork had been over-looked. It was approaching midnight when Violet finally got her x-ray which she handled like a trooper by simply laying down on the stretcher and letting them work her magic…she was happy and alert but clinging through this whole ordeal and I was really proud of her.
Still smiling and it’s past midnight….this girl is just amazing.
It was maybe 20 minutes between the end of the x-ray and the point at which the doctor came and got us from the waiting room, asked us to follow him around to the computer, and proceeded to say “well it’s broken for sure” as he flipped up pictures of our little baby’s collarbone. I remember instantly wanting to cry and feeling like I had let her down by not keeping my promise that I’d always keep her safe from harm and I’m pretty sure I said a curse word or two in my head because I couldn’t quite figure out how she’d managed to do this by just falling down three small stairs….but no rationale or explanation could make it go away and in the end it turned out she actually had two fractures (one larger and one smaller but they were only concerned about the larger one).
We left at 1am in the morning and returned at 630 am to see the surgeon who told us she’d likely be fine after a lot of weeks of healing. We were all so exhausted and drained from it all and Violet…. well she was still smiling.