I got the call from school on Friday afternoon. "Clara fell off the monkey bars," her teacher said. "She's okay, but she is still crying and says her wrist hurts..."
I said I would be right there to pick her up. I wasn't that worried. Her teacher said she thought she was okay. But as I got ready I had the thought to call the pediatrician. I told the nurse that my four-year old daughter's school had called and that she fell off the monkey bars.
"Go to the ER," she said. Really? Yes. Apparently they don't mess around with monkey bars.
So I called Brian to see if he could get Ruby from school if necessary. Then I called Clara's school to have them bring Miles to the office so I could get both kids at the same time. Then I drove, fast, to school.
When I got to school, Miles was sitting in the office with a worried look on his face. "I heard them talking," he said. "Clara fell off the monkey bars. And another kid? Flew off the tire swing." They brought Clara out, and my heart tightened. She was crying, and I could see that she had been for some time. I hugged her, and then took her little hand in mine, I could see that just above her right wrist it was swollen. She was scared and it hurt.
"I don't think you need to take her to the ER," the office secretary said. "Oops, I shouldn't say that. But she's been moving that hand all over the place." I felt a twinge of anger. Did she lack sympathy for my child?
I hustled her out of there and we headed to the ER. On the drive, Clara said through tears," I'm afraid I'm not going to be able to color much tomorrow." Miles told her that the boy up the street can write with both hands because when he broke his arm, he had to write with his left hand. "Maybe you can do that too," he said. And she smiled.
We got to the ER and I was immediately glad it was Texas Children's. Giant colored balls at the front door. Cartoons on the television. Enormous fish tank. I told the front desk "monkey bars" and filled out some paperwork. After a few minutes they called us into a room. The nurse asked what happened, and when Clara said "monkey bars," the nurse replied, "It's always monkey bars or trampoline." Clara was remarkably calm. She was smiling and chatting to the nurse.
It's not broken, I thought.
The nurse gave Clara some ibuprofen, and sent us back to the waiting room, and then to the xray room. The xray tech said Miles couldn't be in the room when she took the xrays, so I could either wait with Miles outside or Miles could go sit in a room behind the glass. I looked at Miles, and he said, "okay" in a begrudging sort way. She took him back and I put on the bullet-proof vest thing. She put a tiny little one on Clara. Then she put Clara's arm up on the tray. At one point she adjusted Clara's arm slightly, and Clara yelped.
Maybe it is broken, I thought.
After the xray, the tech asked Clara is she wanted a sticker. "Do you like Brave?" the tech asked. Clara just looked at her. "We haven't seen that movie," I explained. Clara told the tech, "I like butterfly and princess stickers." Then they compromised on a Dora and Diego one. The tech offered Miles a Wreck-it Ralph sticker. He just looked at her. "We haven't seen that movie either..." I said. I turned to Miles. "Daddy and I were talking about taking you to see it last weekend," I apologized.
After the xrays, they said we would have to wait an hour for the film to be developed. So we waited. Clara and Miles took turns playing my phone, and Clara had no trouble moving her arm. She was playing games like normal.
It's not broken, I thought again.
We watched Fairly Odd Parents on the waiting-room tv. Then we watched another Fairly Odd Parents. Then we watched Sponge Bob. In between we watched commercials, and both kids repeatedly revised their christmas wish-lists based on the crap they saw advertised. Finally, they called us back into the room.
The nurse told us to have a seat, and then stepped back into the hallway. Meanwhile, another nurse rolled a giant cart into the room, loaded with what looked like gauze and tape.
Shit, it might really be broken! I thought.
Then the PA came in and told us that Clara did indeed have a broken arm. "We call this a buckle fracture," she said, 'because the bone buckles." After giving her a popsicle, she asked Clara what color splint she wanted (blue) and then wrapped her arm up. I told the PA that I had been convinced in the waiting room that it wasn't broken because she was playing the iphone so normally. "She is a really tough kid," the PA told me. "Good to know for the future." After she was all wrapped up, they put her in a sling and said we were free to go.
In a week we go back for a hard cast. So far, Clara's main complaint has been that the sling "messes up" her outfits. She is still taking ibuprofen for the pain, and if we go longer than 6 hours between doses it starts to hurt again. But she is a tough kid, and she has already adapted to using her left hand for everything.