Monday, October 18, 2010

"My Story..." Monday: The Hot Pink Cast

(If you missed the beginning of this story, you can find parts 1 and 2 right here:
I answered my phone on the first ring.

"Mrs. S.? This is Riley Hospital. We're wheeling C. in to meet with the orthopedic surgeon and we're just wondering why you're not here."

WHAT??? Why wasn't I THERE??? I wasn't THERE because they told me they hadn't scheduled her yet. I wasn't there because, when I had called forty minutes earlier, they had told me to call in a couple more hours...

We scooped up A. and flew out the door, grateful we had had the foresight to check out of the hotel before breakfast.

It was a solid twenty-five minute drive to the hospital and, again, I was a sobbing mess. Not only was I the one responsible for this poor baby getting hurt, I was now the mother who wasn't even there for her at the hospital.

By the time we flew through the doors to the orhtopedic surgery wing, our baby girl was already covered, ankle to chest, in a hot pink cast. The pictures I have from that time are forever trapped on an old broken laptop... but here's an idea what it was like:

Hers was like the one on the right, including that lovely bar that held her legs apart. At this point, you're likely wondering how on earth diapering worked. I don't blame you. We wondered the same thing. So I'll go ahead and answer that question right now.

We used a diaper one size smaller than usual. For our almost-1 year old that meant using a, believe it or not, newborn sized diaper. Our little baby was still in a size 1. So, we would take that newborn-sized diaper, rip the tabs off the sides, and kind of jam it into that opening you see there. We then had a diaper harness, which was really just a system of elastic straps with velcro, that we fastened around the diaper area and cast to help secure the diaper. It was, by no means, perfect, but it worked reasonably well.

Now that we've covered that, back to the story at hand...

I was torn, emotionally. On the one hand, I was so blessedly relieved that our little daughter had not had to have any surgery before having her leg set- a situation that had been a very real possibility, according to the emergency room doctor. On the other hand, I was devastated that our precious little girl had had to go through all this without her mama or her daddy by her side. It broke my heart that... we weren't there. How many times was I going to have to beat myself up for not being in the right place at the right time??? But there was nothing I could do.

The orthopedic surgeon was a very kind man. He was optimistic that C. might even be able to get out of her cast in a month. That seemed extraordinarily fast to us but, apparently, babies heal much faster than older children or adults. He smiled and said he thought a pretty little girl might enjoy the pink and that's why he had chosen it. If he could see our pink-loving C. today, he would know that he had most certainly been correct.

As far as he was concerned, we were done. He wanted us to come back in four weeks. As far as her broken femur went, C. had received the treatment that she needed.

But we were not released.

C. was taken back to her room and we went too. It was Wednesday now.

We took turns holding our baby girl in her awkward cast in the uncomfortable rocking chair in her room while we waited. Whoever wasn't rocking tried to entertain A. We called one of my husband's sisters and begged her to bring size 5 diapers and a change of pants for our son. And we waited.

It wasn't too long before someone else came to see me. She was the physician in charge of abuse investigations. I'm quite certain she had a more innocuous title than that but, for the life of me, I can't remember it. And, really, why sugar-coat it? She sat down in front of me with a clipboard and a black pen and said,

"Okay, Mrs. S. Take it from the top. Tell me how it came to pass that your infant daughter was brought to us with a spiral fracture of the right femur..."

And I told my story again.

to be cont...

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