Sunday, April 13, 2014

Friday Favorite: The cast is off, and the pins are out!

First of all.  It has literally taken me a week to finish this post!  My internet has been down since last week.  This home grown internet service provider we have still hasn't been able to fix the problem.  They told us today that they won't be back until Monday.  And who knows if they can even fix it then.  And let me tell you.  I've been having major withdrawals.  So my husband brought home his handy dandy wireless thingy he uses when he's working out in the boondocks with no cell phone service.  Today is the first day I've been on the internet since last weekend.


Ellie got her cast off last Friday!  It was quite a morning.  We woke up, and I dressed her in, once again, the blue and white sleeveless dress.  Because sleeveless dresses were the only thing that would fit over that humongous cast.  
My very sweet friend (who is also a nurse) took the day off work, and she asked if she could come with us.  I really wasn't sure how I was going to handle the whole thing.  I didn't even know if I would be able to look at the pins in her arm once the cast was off.  I was so thankful that she was there with us.  The one thing that my children are not allowed to play with is my cell phone.  I'm not kidding.  I don't even have any kiddie games or apps on my phone.  That's the one thing that's "mine."  But all of my friends let Ellie play with their cell phones.  She butters them up by running to them and hopping up in their lap.  But the only reason she does that is because she knows she can get their cell phone from them.
We had the sweetest nurse!  When she came to the lobby to call us back, I must've looked quite a sight.  The next thing out of her mouth was, "Are you okay?"  And she wasn't talking to Ellie!  Anyway, we'd decided that Tracy would hold Ellie while the cast came off.  I'd never had the experience of watching a cast being removed before so I really didn't know what to expect.  But it was NOTHING like I'd imagined!  First the pretty purple wrap was cut off.
I honestly didn't realize how many layers there were to this cast.  Ellie wasn't bothered when the purple wrap came off.
And then came the saw.  When I saw this, I started laughing.  First of all, the machine is about the size of a vacuum and even looks like a vacuum.  The blade was really small.  Much smaller than I'd imagined!  I had visions of Ellie being strapped down to a table while a huge saw came down from the ceiling to cut her cast.  No, I do not watch horror movies.  And I have no idea where this image came from.  But it was nothing like that at all.  The noise was loud, but it wasn't unbearable.  Ellie did get upset a little bit, and Tracy was holding her close and covering her ear.  It took a few minutes to saw the cast off because of the size of it.  
After the cast was cut down both sides, the nurse had to pry it loose.  Ellie was aggravated at this point, but she wasn't crying.
And then there was another layer that had to be cut with the scissors.  By this time, Ellie is preoccupied with the phone again.
And I have never been so happy in all my life than the moment when that little arm came out of that cast!  I'll be honest.  The three and a half weeks in the cast seemed like the longest ever.  As a matter of fact, it was almost hard to remember Ellie without the cast. But now that I look back on it, it didn't seem that long at all.  Nevertheless, I'm so glad it's over!
And then the wrap came off, and the pins were exposed.  Ellie did not like that one bit.  I'll admit it was hard for me to look at, too.
The pins stayed in while they did x-rays.  If the bone wasn't fully healed, the pins were going to stay in, and she would've gotten a new cast.  So they didn't take the pins out until after the doctor looked at the x-rays.  We also put her arm back in the sling.
We had to walk to another part of the building for x-rays.  When we came out into the lobby, Ellie took off running.  Her daddy was sitting there.  He didn't know if he'd be able to come or not, but he was able to get there after all.
After x-rays we went back upstairs to see the doctor.  Tracy and I went back again with Ellie.  Seth didn't want to.  It was a bit much for him.
We met with the doctor, and he told us the x-rays looked perfect and that the pins could come out.  He showed me some exercises to do with her twice a day.  She does not have full range of motion in her elbow, which was to be expected.  So we're going to work on that and go back in three weeks for Dr. C to reassess her mobility and range of motion.  That appointment will determine whether or not she has to go to physical therapy.  We're hoping not, but it's okay if she does.  At first she couldn't straighten her arm all the way.  She can do that now (seven days later), but she still holds her arm with a little bent in it.  She uses it all the time, doesn't favor it.  But she still holds it like she has it in a cast.  She also can not bend her elbow and touch her shoulder with her hand.  That's one of the things I'm supposed to help her with, but she will have none of it.  She cries.  And it's so tight that I can't do much with it.  I'm not sure if it's just going to take time.  Or if it's going to take therapy.

So then the nurse came back in to remove the pins.  That was, by far, the worst part of the whole morning.  The first pin pretty much fell out as soon as she touched it.  The second pin not so much.  She had to work about 30 seconds to get it out.  And it was a very long 30 seconds.  So long that I nearly came out of my chair and yelled, "Get. It. Out. NOW."  Honestly, I don't know that I could've stayed in that room much longer had it not come out when it did.  Ellie was very uncomfortable and screaming.  I'm very glad Tracy was there for that part because I could not have done that by myself.
But as soon as the pin was out, and her arm was bandaged again, she was absolutely fine. There wasn't even any bleeding when the pins came out, but we left this bandage on the rest of the day.
Here are the pins.  I still can't believe these were in my baby's arm!
When we left, Ellie immediately ran to her daddy again and crawled up into his lap.  We had several errands before going home so I decided to keep her arm in the sling until we got home.  I was so excited when she reached out to me for the first time with both of those little arms outstretched!
She was such a big girl and so brave!  She was also ready to get out of there.  Here she is standing at the elevator.  She didn't want us to carry her.  She wanted to walk and carry Hannah Kate's kindle.
When we got home, I took the sling off and asked Ellie if I could take a picture of her arm.
There were two small scabs where the pins were.  We kept those covered with a little bandaid for a few days.  She's still not sure about her little scars.  Every once in awhile, she'll point to her elbow and question me with her eyes.  Here she is looking at her elbow for the first time after the big bandage came off.
We are so very thankful for Ellie's complete healing!  We are also grateful that this chapter in Ellie's life has come to an end.  It was quite a journey, and I surely hope we'll never have another experience with a broken bone.

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