Posted in Mom, personal
April 2, 2012

Winning a Different Sort of Lottery.

Well, we didn’t win the MegaMillions. Nobody in my family did- but I think it’s because a certain someone in our family was hogging all the luck.

I should backtrack a tiny bit.

Friday afternoon began the same way it always does. I picked up the Oldest Kidlet from school, and he proudly showed me all the loot he got from the Easter Egg Hunt. Including a golden egg – he hasn’t seen Willy Wonka yet, so he didn’t know how special those were. Or why I found it funny when he was throwing a fit about it saying “I want it now!”

He and his brother took the eggs out in the backyard and spent a little while hiding them and finding them. But as one might expect, a fight broke out over the Golden Egg. So I put it aside. In the span of this argument, the Oldest Kidlet got water all over him and went upstairs to change.

I was downstairs with the Little Kidlet and heard a loud thud from upstairs. Then crying, off in the distance. It sounded like our neighbors daughter, and after a moment, I knew it was the Oldest Kidlet. I sprinted up the stairs and saw that the blind was pushed aside and the window was open.

I shouted to my husband that OK went out the window (he was asleep), and ran outside to find him laying in the sideyard. In his underwear. He was screaming that he’d fallen out the window and that his arm hurt. There was no blood, and he was moving his fingers and toes as he tried to roll around.

I held him down, my brother in law called 911, and he started howling for his brother who had followed me out to see why we were all freaking out. (I should note that I went into crisis mode the second I saw there wasn’t any blood, that he was conscious and moving) “I fell out the window,” he told his brother. “Stay away from windows. Now my arm hurts me!” I sent the Little Kidlet back inside.

TheBoy brought out a blanket (the one you’ll see in the pictures below) and my purse, and I kept OK from moving as much as I could. We could hear the sirens get closer, and I kept telling him not to move.

The firemen got there first, and each looked up at the open window, then to the twisted screen and then to my son. “Holy shit,” they each said. They were stunned that he was awake and could tell them everything that happened. They put his arm in a cardboard sling, put him in a papoose (I admit I”m a little hazy on the order that happened), and carried him to the gurney. They wheeled him out to the ambulance and I hopped in with him.

They were stunned at how calm he was. He didn’t flinch when they put the IV line in, and he worried that they were going to drive too fast on his account. (This was when I realized everything would be fine. It had to be. Even though he was in pain, that is my son through and through.)

We were taken to USC Medical Center, the nearest trauma center, due to the height he fell from (the police later measured it as 17″). They did an ultrasound to check and see if he had any internal injuries, but he maintained the only thing that hurt was his arm. People came in and out and introduced themselves to me. I did my best to keep track of them.

But I knew that it was a busy afternoon. I’d heard them mention a girl that was in a car accident. There was a guy who’d been involved in a crash on his motorcycle. So I knew we were going to have to wait since he was stable.

Then, his pain killers wore off. He started to thrash around, crying that he just wanted to go home. One of the doctors saw him, and bumped him up to the top of the list as well as making preparations to move him over to the pediatric trauma area. He got more drugs (which didn’t make him loopy- just returned him back to his normal charming self. I don’t mean that sarcastically. He was winning over people left and right by being polite and kind) and was wheeled off to get X-rays for his arm.

In the quiet of the X-ray technicians room, I finally started to break down. Not much- by this time I had doctors telling me that they thought it was just his arm that was injured. And hearing him act like himself gave me hope. But I cried. I told TheBoy I blamed myself for being the one who sent him upstairs to change. He blamed himself for pushing back his alarm clock. If he’d woken up on time, OK and he would have been on a walk. We realized that was foolish, that we were just lucky that so many things had been in our favor.

Kids are rubbery. He fell on a part of the yard that the FIL hadn’t paved. Or landscaped. In fact, the dirt was soft because of the rain last weekend. It was actually sort of springy. Usually we keep their toys in that corner, but we’d moved them out for the fumigation and they hadn’t really made their way back. So many things that could have gone wrong, hadn’t.

He had a CT scan to make sure his neck was clear of injury, and then he was taken to the pediatric trauma area. (I think that’s what it was called) We waited for a long time until the trauma team cleared his neck of injury (then they could take off the collar they’d put on him), and for the orthopedic surgeons to decide whether or not he needed surgery on his elbow. You see, he’d broken his arm in four places- two at the wrist and two at the elbow. But they were worried that one of the bones fragments in the elbow had moved enough that they’d need surgery to push it back.

Around 8:30 pm (about 5 hours after all this happened), he was taken for another set of X-rays on his elbow. And a couple hours later, we found out that the bone was close enough that they were confident that the cast would do the job.

There was a lot of waiting. The Pediatric trauma team was busy. In addition to OK, there was the girl who’d been ejected from her car. And while we were getting our CT scan we’d heard about the girl who was being airlifted there after being kicked in the chest by a pony. The doctors explained that unfortunately, OK was stable. Which meant that even though his injuries were significant, the other girls were worse off. I understood. OK didn’t.

Around midnight, they put his cast on. We got to watch Phineas & Ferb (which ticked off some of the other patients, since we got a TV and they didn’t- but they were getting priority to us). Then at nearly 1 am, we were sent upstairs to the Pediatric ICU.

Now, I know that I’ve said several times that it was just his arm. But the trauma team were concerned that the pain in his arm was severe enough that it was masking an injury to his head or somewhere else, so they wanted him supervised around the clock.

We met the doctor from PICU, who was absolutely lovely, and OK loved her from the start. She explained things thoroughly and was the dose of sunshine that you need at midnight.

We went upstairs to PICU, and for the first time since the fall, we were separated. OK had to go in ahead of us, and we were told to wait in the PICU waiting room. The doctor came and said that basically they were just keeping him there under the unlikely circumstance that something was hiding- that she felt as though it really was just his arm that had been injured.

Pediatric ICU was filled with rooms like the ones on House – sliding doors to keep things hygienic. We had to be cleared to get into the wing and had to wash our hands every time we entered his room. We had to use a bathroom outside of the wing for ourselves. The night nurse explained that they would monitor him all night, and that even though the orders said to wake him up every hour, that she could see that he needed sleep.

Me, rocking some epic morning hair.
We finally got some sleep, as much sleep as you can get on a hard cot (me) or in a chair (TheBoy). He went downstairs to get some food. And after he came back, told me that I had to eat. I’d forgotten to have lunch on Friday. One of those things that simply happens. My mother-in-law gave me a Clif bar that I scarfed down around 9 pm, while OK was asleep. But I was starving.

He led me downstairs to the Subway across the street (I was a little hesitant to go by myself when I was this tired/weak). I had a turkey sub with avocado, which was okay. When I gave birth to the Oldest Kidlet, I hadn’t had food for something like 12 hours. An eternity for me. My father in law went across the street to Claim Jumper (since I’d just missed a meal at the hospital) and brought me back a baked potato with alfredo sauce and chicken. The best baked potato I’ve ever had. Unfortunately, this sub was just okay. But it was food.

While we were out, OK had another x-ray of his arm (to make sure the cast was on right). We tried to get a little more sleep, and waited for the morning changeover. We met the new nurse, Michelle, who was excited to meet OK. She’d been told that he was the most adorable patient. And boy did he put on the charm.

The more I think about it, it’s easy for him to be the best patient they’ve had. Usually kids in the PICU are seriously ill and feeling a lot of pain. He was on some painkillers and is a pretty positive kid.

The head doctor in PICU came around with all the residents, and they examined him. It seemed like all anyone did was ask him to wiggle the fingers in his left arm. I could tell they were sharing stories about him, even though they were on the other side of the glass. And indeed, when they came in, the doctor that would be covering him during the day was amused by the story of the boy who wanted to see if he could see his school from his window. (It is a funny thing the more I think about it) “Well,” he asked, “did you see your school?”

My boys, fast asleep
That doctor was pretty awesome. He had decided that OK was definitely being discharged at the 24 hour point (none of his labs indicated that anything hinky was going on, and the xray showed that his arm was perfectly set). And he was! He got his IV out around one, and after a lengthy nap, and we got him dressed and were out the door at 3pm.

I know I’m pretty positive and calm, but this was scary. The moment I saw that open window and knew what happened was the scariest moment of my life, hands down. If I didn’t recognize that my son was still himself even though all of this, I would have been much more worried. If I’d had a moment of quiet before I knew it was just his arms, I can assure you… I would have had a breakdown.

But it’s taught me that no matter how many times you tell your kids that the window isn’t for playing, you need to make sure of a few things. One, make sure that your window can’t open very wide. Two, make sure that you don’t put furniture that’s easy to climb in front of the window. (We do have a dresser near the window, but he didn’t climb it. He worked his way there from his brother’s bed). Three, if you have a wide windowsill, think of putting in a piece of wood to make the surface sloped so that they can’t stay on it easily (like this one).

On the way home

So really, we didn’t win the MegaMillions… but we sure hit the jackpot.

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