Wednesday, March 19, 2014

She won't remember. I'll never forget!

Well.  I don't even know where to start.  This has been, without a doubt, the longest week of my life!  It's Wednesday.  It seems like it should be Thursday of next week!

Just in case you haven't heard, Ellie girl broke her arm on Monday evening.  The first question is always, "What happened?!"

We were at therapy.  There's a corner of windows in the lobby, and there is a window seat there.  A lot of kids like to sit in the window seat and read or play.  I never let Ellie sit there.  She's climbed up there a few times, but I always get her down and redirect her somewhere else.  But this Monday I decided to let her sit there.  Someone had donated a bunch of new books, and they were in a basket on the window seat.  She wanted to look at the books.

There's a table and chairs right in front of the window seat.  That's where Hannah Kate and I were sitting.  Hannah Kate goes to the library every Monday at school and checks out a new book.  So she was reading me her new book.  I knew where Ellie was, I knew she was looking at a book.  I was right there.  But I was mostly paying attention to Hannah Kate.  And then Ellie fell onto the floor.  I don't know why she fell.  I don't know what made her fall.  I saw her about halfway down and jumped out of my chair.  In the split second it took me to get to her, she didn't budge.  She landed on her left side with her arm underneath her.  She didn't try to move or get up.  So I picked her up.  She was crying, but it wasn't too bad.  I was looking at her head trying to determine if she had hit it.  It wasn't long before I noticed she wasn't moving her left arm.  It was just hanging there.

I immediately knew something was wrong with her arm.  So I made the decision right then and there to take her to the emergency room as soon as Mason was finished.  We had 35 minutes left.  She sat in my lap and didn't move.  She wasn't crying, but she was whimpering every once in a while.  I saw her move her fingers at one point so that made me feel a little bit better.  I tried to move her arm, but she screamed when I touched it so I didn't do that anymore.

I was just in a daze.  I never let her sit there on that window seat.  But I did on Monday.  And she fell.  I really don't know what I was feeling as we were waiting on Mason.  I don't think I was feeling anything.

The minutes finally passed, and Mason was done.  So I explained to him and Hannah Kate that I really thought something was wrong with Ellie's arm so we were going to go to the hospital to see the doctor.  Seth met us at the emergency room and took Mason and Hannah Kate home to do homework and eat supper.

The emergency room was full of children so I thought we might be there awhile.  We signed in at 5:50.  They quickly called us back to the assessment center.  It was very obvious that something was wrong with her arm.  At this point, I honestly thought it was her shoulder.  I thought maybe it was displaced or something.  We finished with the nurse in the assessment center and then went back to the waiting room.  We were there only a few minutes before they called us back and put us in a room.  The doctor came in, asked me what happened and looked at her arm.  The next thing I know, they're wheeling a big x-ray machine into the room.  This was the first time during the ordeal that I thought maybe her arm was broken.  But it just couldn't be.

We got through the x-ray, and it wasn't long before the doctor came back into the room. He told me her arm was broken and that it would require a cast.  By this time it was 7:00.  He said they would either put her arm in a splint (I think that's what it's called?), send us home and have us return to the clinic the next day for a cast, or they would put the cast on that night.  He said the pediatric orthopedic doctor would review her x-rays and make that decision.  He was in surgery though so we had to wait awhile.

In the meantime, nurses were in and out of the room.  Every time a nurse or a doctor walked in, Ellie would start crying.  It didn't seem like we'd been there that long, but it was around 8:30 or so when the doctor came back in and said he had bad news.  I just couldn't imagine what in the world he was talking about, and I think I was probably white as a ghost by this point.  He said they were going to have to do surgery to reset her arm and put some pins in.  She broke her humerus bone right above her elbow.  He said the bone is very narrow right there and breaks easily if it's hit just right.

The next hour was a blur of doctors and nurses and surgeons coming in and out of the room.  Ellie was so upset and so exhausted.  Two of the nurses put a splint on her arm.  Two more nurses came in to start her IV.  They gave me the option of leaving the room, but there was no way I was going to leave her.  So they showed me how to hold her down while they got the IV started.  Hands down, that was the worst experience of the night.  The worst.  I just got real close to her face and started singing, "Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star" over and over and over again.  I have no idea why that song.  That was the only thing that came to mind.  I just couldn't think.

Once the IV was in, they started pain meds.  Within a few minutes, she calmed down.  I was trying to make her as comfortable as possible.  I started to take her little tennis shoes off, but she pitched a fit.  She didn't want me to take them off.  So I left them on.  As a matter of fact, those shoes stayed on her feet the whole entire night and even as she was taken into surgery the next morning.  Whenever we get ready to go somewhere, we put our shoes on.  So she knows that when we put her shoes on, it's time to go somewhere.  She knew that if I was taking her shoes off, she was not leaving that hospital and the doctors and the beeping machines and the blood pressure cuff that she hated.  That's why she didn't want me to take them off.  So we just left those shoes on, and the nurse took them off once she was under anesthesia for surgery.

In the meantime, Seth packed an overnight bag for me, and my father-in-law brought it to me while we were still in the emergency room.  Here's my sweet girl while we were waiting to go to our hospital room for the night.
We were finally settled into our hospital room about 11:00 that night.  We had the most precious nurse ever.  Her name was Abby.  Ellie had not had anything to eat since lunch time.  I don't know that she was very hungry, but the nurse quickly brought her some goldfish crackers since we had a few minutes before midnight, after which she couldn't have anything to eat or drink.  She ate all of the goldfish and drank some apple juice.  I really didn't think she'd stay in her little hospital bed, but she did.  I think she was just too tired and too scared to even think about moving.

She fell asleep around midnight and slept pretty good until about 4:00am.  She got very restless and fussy so I asked the nurse to give her some more pain medicine.  That calmed her down, but she never really went back to sleep.  She was so uncomfortable.  She sleeps on her stomach, and she couldn't do that.

They came in around 5:45 to get us ready to go to the operating room.  We were there by 6:30 and were quickly greeted by so many sweet nurses and the surgeon.  He was a young whipper snapper, but I really liked him and had already heard very good things about him from my nurse friends in the know.  Two of the ladies who serve in leadership with me at Bible Study Fellowship are nurses in this OR.  Neither of them were on the schedule that morning, but they both texted me throughout the night to let me know what to expect.  They also contacted their supervisor so the nurses were already waiting on us and knew exactly who we were.  One of them even gave me a hug.

Seth stayed the night at home with the big kids and then got them up and ready for school.  His dad came over and put them on the bus so Seth could go ahead and come to the hospital.  He got there just in time to see Ellie before they took her back for surgery.  I was so proud of her!  She was very scared, and she hadn't liked any of the nurses up until this point.  But she finally let one of them pick her up and rock her.  And then they carried her into the operating room (with her shoes on!), and Seth and I went to the waiting room.  Seth asked me if I wanted to go downstairs and get breakfast.  I hadn't eaten anything since lunch the day before.  I told him that I didn't want to leave the waiting room and that I just needed to sit down.  So I did.  And that was the first time I cried.

The nurses called us when the surgery started.  They called us when it finished.  The surgeon came out and met with us, showed us the x-rays and explained what he did.  He was very pleased with the surgery and said she did great.  It didn't take long at all, only 30 minutes or so.  It seemed like an eternity, but we finally got to go see her in recovery.  She didn't have her shoes on anymore, but she had her feet propped up on the side of the bed.  She was slowly waking up.  The hospital had only a very limited color selection for her cast.  They didn't have pink so we chose purple.  
As she became more alert, she also became more agitated and fussy.  So the nurse brought a chair over and let me hold her.  I don't know how long we were in recovery.  We finally got back up to our room around 9:30 or so.  The rest of the morning was really rough.  Ellie was so uncomfortable, so scared, so upset.  It was hard figuring out what to do, figuring out how to maneuver around the cast and the IV.  Finally I laid my head next to her and just started singing.  I sang to her for 30 minutes or so.  I sang all the songs we've been singing at BSF . . . Jesus Loves Me, Jesus Loves Me; Good Morning, God; Tis So Sweet to Trust in Jesus; God Loves Me Dearly; The Lord's My Shepherd; Holy Bible, Book Divine.  She did finally calm down and rest and sleep.  She even snored a little bit. I just kept on singing.  At that point, it was more for me than for her.

When she woke up after that, she was in a much better mood.  She drank some juice.  Some sweet friends sent her some balloons.  She loved those.  The Baton Rouge Police Department came by and gave her a puzzle.  Her BSF teachers came by with a purse full of gifts for her.  She was still really tired though and just didn't know what to do.  Finally I climbed up into that crib with her, and that seemed to help.

We were originally told that we would be in the hospital at least until 3:00 for another round of antibiotics.  She also needed to eat some solid food but hadn't done that yet.  But around 2:00 the nurse came by with some really good news.  Our surgeon had called to check on her and had decided that we could go ahead and go home!

We tried to get her dressed and quickly realized how challenging that was going to be.  Her cast is huge, especially at the elbow where the pins are.  None of her sleeves are big enough to fit over the cast.  So right now she's wearing Hannah Kate's t-shirts.  I went through all of her clothes to see what I could figure out.  She has some sleeveless dresses that might work if the arm hole is big enough.  Otherwise, I'll be whipping up some pillowcase dresses!

By the time we finished the discharge process and went to the pharmacy to get her medicine and got home, it was 3:30.  And I have to admit.  I was plumb worn out.  I really didn't know where to start or what to do with her.  So I took her and got in my bed with her.  She immediately figured out how to lay on my chest but position herself so she could sort of lay on her stomach without the cast being in her way.  I have to say it was the most uncomfortable thing ever for me, but we laid like that until she woke up at 6:45.  We tried to get her to eat something, but the only thing that worked was M&Ms.  And then it was time for the cast signing.  Daddy went first.

Mason and Hannah Kate couldn't wait to sign her cast.

Last night she was laying on the sofa with Seth.  I came through with a load of laundry.  As soon as she saw me, she got upset again.  So I got her and was going to lay with her.  But she walked over to the stairs, pointed up and said, "Bed."  I asked her if she wanted to go night night, and she kept pointing and saying, "Bed."  So I took her upstairs and put her in her crib.  She slept good until about 4:00am.  By that time, the pain medicine had worn off.  So I gave her some more and put her in my bed.  And do y'all know what my awesome husband did?  He got up and got the kids ready for school.  I wasn't at all expecting him to do that because I knew he had a really busy day ahead and needed to get to work.  I'd set my alarm clock so I could wake up and get them ready.  But he beat me to it.  And I have to admit it was such a relief to not have to get up yet.  Ellie tossed and turned a lot but slept until almost 10:00 this morning.  She didn't want to get out of the bed, but I finally told her she had to.

She had a good day.  She hasn't eaten very much.  She wasn't very active.  She preferred to sit in one spot and play with a toy.  She's getting used to the cast, getting used to having only one arm and hand that's mobile.  She won't do anything at all with her left arm or hand right now.  She stayed at her MawMaw's house for a couple of hours this afternoon so I could go grocery shopping and pick up the big kids at school.  By the end of the day, I could see some of her spunk coming back.  

Bath time is the most difficult thing right now.  We still haven't quite figured it out.  And everything takes a little longer, getting her in and out of her car seat, helping her eat and pick up her cup to drink, even just picking her up.
Looking at her with that big ole cast that weighs a ton, I still just can't believe it.  I can not believe it.  The past two days seem like a dream.  A really bad dream.  Had this happened to a mommy friend of mine, I would reassure her and tell her that it wasn't her fault, that it was an accident, that everything is going to be okay.  And all of those things are true.  But I have a really hard time taking my own advice.  I feel like this is all my fault because I let her sit in that window seat.  I don't know why I did.  I guess I was just honestly too tired or too distracted to fight that battle.  We spend so much time in doctor's offices and therapy offices these days that it's just so exhausting trying to keep her entertained and obviously safe.  For just a moment on Monday I let myself go to the place of "if only we didn't have to do therapy," but the Lord so quickly and so graciously took that thought away to bring me to a place of peace and trust in Him.

When we were in the emergency room, I quickly texted our family, our church prayer line, my prayer partners and my Bible study group.  I honestly didn't spend a whole lot of that time myself in prayer.  I didn't have a lot of words to ask the Lord.  I just wanted Him to protect Ellie and to give the surgeon and the nurses wisdom and precision during her surgery.  Except for the nausea that settled in the pit of my stomach and still hasn't quite left me, I just felt numb all over.  But the prayers of my people carried us through this.  All of the encouraging words and texts I received were such a sweet relief for a weary soul.  All of those prayers from our family and friends were what got me through this.

Ellie will wear the cast for three weeks and then we'll go back to the orthopedic.  He'll remove the cast and x-ray.  If he likes what he sees, the pins will come out that day, too.  If not, I guess we'll cast again for a couple of more weeks.  Either way, we are trusting God and thanking Him already for complete healing and protection over Ellie.  I always knew she would be the one to break a bone.  Of course, I always hoped that would never happen.  And I certainly never imagined that it would happen to her at the tender age of 20 months.  But the truth of the matter is that she won't remember this.  And for that I'm so thankful!  But I can tell you one thing.  I'll never forget this!

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