Tuesday, October 12, 2010

"My Story..." Monday: Facing Judgment

(Oh me, oh my, how did I forget that Monday was a holiday this week?? And, something you should probably know about me- when my hubby's home, I sometimes forget all about what I'm 'supposed' to be doing, blog-wise. As a result, I made y'all wait even MORE than a week for the next installment... my apologies!! But, here we go. If you missed part 1 of this saga, you can find it here...)

I had been in touch back and forth with my husband throughout the day, filling him in on how C was doing. At this point, I had to call him (again) and give him the horrible news that our baby had a broken leg... and the doctor was advising us to take her to Riley, the children's hospital in Indianapolis where she had spent 3 1/2 months in the NICU.

He left work immediately to come and meet me at the doctor's office, but it would still be a good 45 minutes before he could get there. It was a pretty October day, so I took the kids outside in the double stroller and walked. And sobbed.

I called my mother. And sobbed.

I kept on walking. And sobbed.

When my husband arrived and helped us into the car, I sobbed, clinging to C's x-rays in my hand.

I sobbed. And C slept.

It took us about an hour and a half to get to Riley and, when we did, we hurried our little ones inside to get C into the ER. It was late evening by now.

They got us back into an exam room very quickly, but it took hours for them to actually come in and evaluate her. During this time, my husband and I took shifts walking our (by now) fussy one year old son up and down the hallways in his stroller while the other sat with C. She never cried during all this. Tough and stoic she always was as a baby... I think she got that was from enduring so much in her earliest days.

When the doctor did come in to examine C, she brought with her a resident who was just beginning her training and a social worker. I watched the doctor check out my tiny daughter and listened to her words to the resident...

"... spiral fractures are usually caused from someone grabbing and twisting the baby's limb... want to check the mouth for signs that a bottle has been shoved... often small lacerations... examine for scarring or past injuries... chronic abuse..."

It didn't much matter that there was no evidence of any of these things. I was devastated. The thought- the mere thought- was so sickening.

After that, the young, weary-looking, dark-haired social worked sat down across from me.

"Tell me what happened," she said.

I did.

Her face remained impartial, unmoving, through the whole tale.

"It's likely more people will want to talk to you about this," she finally said.

I nodded, "That's fine. Whatever you need."

Then the doctor spoke.

"Your daughter will be admitted and an orthopedic surgeon will be setting her leg in the morning. She'll need a hip spika cast- that's a cast that will go from her ankle up most of her body. You can call starting at 5 am to find out what time she's scheduled for. You can't stay with her and you need to get your son out because we're well past visitors' hours. The social worker can help you find a hotel."

She walked out.

It was after 11 o'clock. Our son was sipping milk from a carton a sweet nurse had brought to him. Our little girl was, again, sleeping.

Hearts broken, we headed out to find a place to stay for a few hours before we come could back to be with our baby. We hadn't had to leave her since her NICU days and it was a bitter feeling.

Eventually, we collapsed on the king-sized bed of a Comfort Inn with our son in between us and slept, fitfully, until my alarm woke me just before 5 am to call and see what time she would be meeting with the orthopedic surgeon...

I called from the bathroom so the light wouldn't wake my toddler.

The nurse who answered checked her chart...

"I'm sorry, Mrs. S... she's not on the schedule. Maybe try back in a couple hours?"

We woke up A and got him some breakfast in the lobby of the hotel.

As he munched on Froot Loops (oh, the horror!), my phone rang...

(to be cont...)

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