Sunday, January 17, 2010

The Cast

Ian broke his femur. How you ask, is it possible for a two year old who is two feet off of the ground to break his femur?

Good question. It's a mathamatical equation that looks something like this:

(laminate floors + cup of water) + chasing big brother = femur spiral fracture

In other words:

($75 urgent care visit + $75 ER visit + $350 hospital copay) X spica cast X 4 weeks + a visit from CPS and city detective + one complaint report to the medical board / five hours of sleep each night = many cranky people.

December 22nd, I had just cleaned up lunch and sent the kids out of the kitchen to play so that I could start my cookie making fest. At some point, my daughter had taken a kid's cup of water upstairs to the play room. The same play room that was nice and clean as I made the kids pick it up before lunch so that Santa would see that they took good care of their toys. In hindsight, I should have been happy with the scattered Mr Potato Head pieces and video game parts all over the floor. It would have prevented the running that took place. Needless to say, it's now my excuse for having a messy playroom.

Back to the cup of water. Ian had taken the cup of water and poured it on the laminate floor. That one foot of space between our armoire and floor rug. Naturally. He then started chasing Erik (for reference, Ian can pretty much out run, out smack and out yell Erik any day of the week). He must have run right in to the puddle of spilled water and planted with his injured leg (left), slipped with his right leg and twisted enough to break his femur bone.

I heard him screaming but it wasn't anything out of the ordinary. It was the same scream I hear whenever he doesn't get what he wants. I sent Lauren upstairs (who had just come downstairs to get a towel to clean up the water spill) to check on him and find out what they were fighting over. After a minute, I noticed the screaming hadn't stopped so I washed my peanut butter buckeye ball hands and went upstairs to find Ian on the floor rug, leg extended and grabbing his knee. It was obvious he was in a lot of pain.

After assessing the situation (realizing he slipped in the water), I thought he did something to his knee. I picked him up, took him downstairs and set him on the counter. I gently moved his leg and foot to see if he would let me. He seemed to be fine with that motion. Suddenly, he grabbed the back of his leg and screamed "OWIES MOMMY! OWIES!" At this point, I didn't know what was going on. I picked him up, wrapped him in a blanket and sat in our rocking chair. I called my husband to come home from work and my mom to come over to watch the other kids.

We called the nearest urgent care to make sure they had an x-ray machine. At the time, I was focused on getting him to the closest place with and x-ray just to see what was going on. If it was broken, we could then get him to the ER and probably be able to get right in. I have never had a good experience with emergency rooms, so I didn't want to chance waiting hours to be seen. Another unfortunate mistake on my part.

At the urgent care, the Dr (who got his degree from the University of Nigeria and had "Yes We Can!" Obama posters in his hallway), took an x-ray and said he didn't see any breaks. He sent us home claiming he might just have some soft tissue damage and gave instructions to ice it and give him Motrin for pain. He assured us that in a couple of days, he would start to feel better. Unfortunate mistake number three.

A couple of days later it was Christmas Eve/Christmas day. He still wasn't putting weight on his leg and would scream with any diaper change. He hadn't slept more than an hour or two every night. He would be so tired, dose off, but then twitch, which would make him move his leg and he would wake up screaming! I knew something wasn't right but also knew there wouldn't be any specialist open on Christmas let alone, a Friday. My parents came over Christmas afternoon and I asked my dad what he thought might be wrong (give me the worst case senario). He suggested that it could either be a greenstick fracture (which might not necessarily show up on an x-ray right away) and that we'd need to go and get another x-ray to see if new bone growth was visible. OR.....he could have a spiral fracture and if they only took 1 x-ray, it would be hard to see it without having either A- a couple of x-rays with different views of the injured leg or B- an x-ray of the good leg to compare the two. He suggested a visit to a specialist if he wasn't putting weight on it by Monday.

Monday (almost a week after his fall) we tried getting in to an ortho but had no luck so we decided to go straight to the new Children's hospital in town. That's when the real nightmare began.

After doing 2 x-rays, it was determined that he had an OBVIOUS fracture. At first, we were just told it was a fracture and that it had separated. So, for the longest time, I was thinking that it was a greenstick which didn't present itself in our urgent care x-ray and that we might have made it worse from the few times we moved him. I felt horrible! I kept thinking, "How was it possible for the urgent care doctor to not see it? We went a whole week with him suffering in pain!" I started to cry and struggled to contain my fears, frustrations and heartache for my little boy. Of course, we then had "social services" pay us a visit in the ER and were warned by every Doctor we spoke to that we were probably going to be getting a call from CPS. Just standard procedure when a child comes in with a head trauma or femur fracture and not to take it personally. Great. Add more stress to our situation.

We checked in to the hospital and prepared for his procedure the next morning to set his leg and put him in a spica cast. Turns out, he had a spiral fracture which made more sense knowing he slipped, and the floor pediatrician comforted us by saying it probably separated immediately and wasn't anything we did that caused it to happen. I insisted that he be given the most pain killers they could give. I spent a week giving him Motrin for a femur fracture and wasn't about to let him suffer from the trauma anymore. They had him on morphine for the night. I went home to relieve my mom and take care of the other kids. My head hurt like I had been sobbing all day and my emotions were on my sleeve.......

The next morning was the procedure where they put him under a general in order to manipulate his leg back into place. We spent the rest of the day recovering back in the room. After we controlled his pain, we were able to go home.

The next day, we had a police detective and CPS come over and take a report of what happened basically making me feel like a horrible parent and guilty of something. They told us they'd get back to us after they get the urgent care records to let us know if we are "cleared" or not. As of now, we still haven't heard anything so it's a huge weight hanging over our heads.

We had an amazing and sympathetic orthopedic surgeon who has really been kind throughout this process. We went for a follow up a couple of weeks later to x-ray through his cast and see if his bones are healing properly. He told us that he had been thinking about us and our situation and even spoke to other doctor friends of his about us. He said that at the very least, the urgent care doctor was negligent in being able to diagnose the fracture and that he obviously did less than any other doctor would have done in our situation. He would testify of that if necessary. We told him we had no plans to bring legal action against the urgent care doctor, but that we will expect, once we are sure CPS closes the case, that our copay is reimbursed at the very least and preferrably have whatever money our insurance paid him to be given back to us as well. That's the least for my son's pain and suffering for a week. Then, we do plan to file a complaint with the state medical board. Knowing he is a doctor in my neighborhood, we don't want another family to have to go through this nightmare that we have had to go through ever again. Our ortho adamantly agreed and supported our decision. We were truly blessed to have taken him in when we did in order to get such a great doctor to treat him. The new children's hospital was really nice as well. It had only been open for about a month and the staff was super nice and understanding.

We are on week 3 now with the cast. It stinks. No really. It STINKS! But, I'll blog about that another time. He is scheduled to get the cast off on the 25th. Just in time for our trip to Disney World that next Saturday.


Jennifer Asplund said...

Oh my goodness!!!! What a horrible series of events. I hate when my kids say they are sick or in pain and, based on past experiences, I don't believe them and then they end up with some horrible illness or in need of serious medical attention. I then, of course, feel terrible. But to have a doctor tell you everything is okay when it's THAT severe an injury? I am so sorry. And CPS??? Oh, Lisa, I hope you go after this guy. The pain and suffering that you all had to go through it should never have to be felt by someone else. Give the little one a hug for me (even though I'm a perfect stranger to him), and then have someone give you a hug from me. Wish I could do it myself.

Jana said...

Holy cow your poor baby! My 2 year old broke his leg (not his femur though!) even though everyone said "a 2 year old never breaks their legs!"... I believe they said "their bones are so flexible"... NOT! Anyway, I love the play by play but am so sad about that poor little guys leg! (If it makes you feel any better my son was bummed to get his cast off due to all the attention he got having it!).

mere said...

wow lisa! That is some story...poor little guy and poor you guys! I hope he continues to get better quickly and you all can have a fun vacation!

mom said...

I feel your pain!! He will forget this but you never will. I think we have all had something like that happen--where we did what the Dr. said or didn't act soon enough etc. When Brian was 3 and fell out of a tree (a little one) and broke his collar bone, they questioned me at the hospital. He scraped his back on the tree and his skinny little ribs looked just like a hand had slapped him. It looked so bad I almost said handcuff me and take me away. When Julie's Caden broke his arm the questioned her every time he went in to have the cast changed. They kept saying to Caden "now how exactly did this happen". Anyway, we know you are a good mom and so glad the little guy is doing well. Have fun in Disney World.!

mom said...

Sorry that my comment says "MOM". That is how I am logged on for my kids. It should say Aunt Jeanie.

divadebi said...

Hi Lisa, I was going through my Christmas cards from last year and found your blogspot address - shame on me for not coming to it sooner. What fun to see Lisa my sweet Laurel as Lisa the loving mother!... and the first story I read is about your toddler breaking his leg. Been there done that - Kelly broke his femur when he was about 3. He and his buddy were playing Star Wars off the bunk beds. His friend was on the top bunk and he was on the bottom bunk. On the count of 3 they both jumped - yup! you guessed it, his buddy landed on his leg. We carried Kelly around for months like his was some oversized tote bag.
Warning - I am not a good blog follower, but I will stop by occasionally to catch up ... your children are darling, they look just like their mom.
Watch for a pic of our family to arrive in your mailbox this season ....... hugs, debbie ditto