How can a beautiful weekend that started with a fun birthday party end with another trip to the hospital!? I’m starting to wonder if Astrid is terribly unlucky or we’re just doing something wrong.
The July 6th weekend started with Astrid’s third 3rd birthday party (that’s not a typo, she really had 3 parties spread over 8 days). The Hirtles and Holdings joined us for a morning splashing in Hillcrest Pool, pizza lunch at Rocky Mountain Flatbread, and ice cream at Yum’s Sweet Shop. Then we ended the weekend with a trip to the hospital (well several trips in fact).
Yes, Astrid’s adventures with the medical system continue at a rapid pace. She’s barely 3 years old and has had repeated trips to emergency for asthma, stitches for a head injury, knocked out a tooth, and now a cast for a fracture on her elbow. Hopefully, we’ll be able to laugh about this in a few years, but right now it’s exhausting.
It was a pretty innocent fall that started it all. We were playing at the park at the end of the day. Astrid was tired because she skipped her nap but otherwise in a good mood. She slipped climbing up a chain ladder on the playground and tumbled to the ground. It didn’t look that bad (she was only a few feet off the ground and the playground had pebbles on the ground) but she must have landed awkwardly on her right arm. She cried for a long time. At first it seemed like she was just cranky but it soon became apparent she was hurt.
She slept in the stroller on the way home and when she woke up she wouldn’t lift her right arm at all. We consulted with neighbours (a doctor and a nurse) and they thought it was probably nursemaid’s elbow (a dislocation) and going to the hospital was probably the best idea.
We knew that we would be triaged at the lowest priority in emergency, so we ended up going to Mount Saint Joseph Hospital because we could see the emergency wait times were less than 15 minutes. We got to see a doctor right away but he wasn’t experienced dealing with kid injuries.
He tried to reset the elbow to correct any dislocation but it didn’t do anything. So they ordered a round of x-rays, but there wasn’t any visible problem. We learned kids bones are different than adult bones (more cartilage that is still hardening into bones) so it’s sometimes hard to see injuries. After consulting with a radiologist at BC Children’s Hospital, a second round of x-rays was ordered. That also didn’t show anything. So after 2 hours our doctor suggested we either go to the children’s hospital where they would have more experience with kid injuries or wait 24 hours to see if it would heal on its own.
It was late already, so we went home to sleep before heading to the children’s hospital the next morning. As expected, we waited for over an hour to see a doctor. While waiting, a volunteer came over to draw with Astrid. She started using her right arm more and after a few minutes was lifting it above her head. She didn’t have full range of motion but it was a big improvement.
When we finally saw a doctor, she ordered a third round of x-rays. The machines at BC Children’s Hospital are actually designed for kids and this was a much smoother process. Plus they had popsicles and TVs with cartoons.
We left BC Children’s around noon with a diagnoses for a buckle fracture on the wrist and orders to buy a splint to help it heal. But at 6 pm we got a call back from the doctor. She got another radiologist to look at the xrays and he saw a hairline fracture near the elbow (a longitudinal nondisplaced fracture of the right olecranon) and recommended a cast just to be safe. So back to the hospital we went.
Astrid was very excited to pick the colour of her cast – pink, of course. She really didn’t understand what she was getting herself into. This was all just one big adventure. When the doctor asked her what she was excited about doing this summer, she replied “swimming.” It was funny but tragic.
It’s been two weeks now since Astrid got her cast and reality has set in. Luckily she’s still ambidextrous, so eating and navigating the world with her left hand hasn’t been an issue. Keeping it clean and dry has been a challenge – we’ve been doing a lot of sponge baths. She’s been remarkably upbeat about the whole incident but she’s ready to have it off.
The hardest part has been sleeping at night. She’s been tossing and turning more, trying to find a comfortable position. There have been a lot of 1 am and 3 am wakeups in the past two weeks that have left our whole family exhausted. We managed to get through a 3-night camping trip, but she didn’t slept well in the tent.
On Wednesday we see an orthopedic doctor. Hopefully the x-rays show her arm is all healed up so we can remove the cast. We’re supposed to go to Cultus Lake waterpark a few days later but it would be impossible in a cast. Fingers crossed.
The cast came off on Wednesday. The doctor said the bone had healed nicely but the to be safe the cast should stay on for 1 more week. We asked about waterproof options or splints and she said if we wanted to we could take it off now. It didn’t take much convincing. The doctor said we would know as soon as it came off if it was still painful for Astrid.
So they pulled out the big saw and cut it off. The doctor operating it was friendly and funny, and Astrid didn’t cry or squirm as they cut it off.
You tell the arm was sensitive (a lot of nerves that hadn’t been exposed lately). But pretty quickly Astrid was bending her arm without hesitation. The doctor was pretty happy with her mobility and lack of pain.
Astrid is still wearing the sling this week (mostly as a reminder to take it easy), but I’ve seen her picking up things and putting a lot of weight on the arm. Just need to make sure she doesn’t reinjure it in the next few weeks.