Our kids have all gotten hurt, and we've had our share of ER visits through the years. We've even dealt with a broken bone (Olivia broke her ankle falling off the same monkey bars on the first day of first grade, six years ago!). But I think the severity and the nature of this injury threw both Steve and I for a loop, and we felt things that neither one of us had felt before.
We checked into Valley Care Hospital a little after 3pm on Tuesday, August 23 for a 5pm surgery. There wasn’t a whole lot of action going on in pre-op, I got the feeling we were the last surgery of the day. The nurses must have known a little guy was coming in. They had his bed all ready and waiting for him.
Grant changed out of his clothes and into a very small hospital gown. So small, in fact that his little boy parts kept peeking out. It gave me the giggles. Actually, pretty much everything was giving me the giggles—I think that was my coping mechanism throughout the day...
We spent the next hour and a half answering medical history questions while Grant happily watched a movie on the iPad (a godsend through this whole ordeal!).
About 20 minutes prior to surgery time, the nurses gave him a little “happy juice” to help him relax and make the separation from us a little easier for him when they wheeled him away into the OR. Steve and I jokingly asked the nurse what they had to make it easier for us . . . Before long, he had a goofy, lopsided grin on his face and was mumbling incoherently. That really gave me the giggles.
He didn’t even flinch when the anesthesiologist put in the IV.
We kissed him and watched as they wheeled him away, feeling like my heart was being ripped right out of my chest. It was hard to breathe. We wandered to the lobby to wait.
While we waited, Steve did a google search for a normal humerus bone. This is what it looks like.
This is what Grant's arm looked like.
After what seemed like an eternity (but was really only about 40 minutes), we saw our surgeon coming across the lobby toward us. We were anxiously watching for a thumbs up sign or smile, but got none. His face was stone serious, which gave me a fit of panic, wondering what had gone wrong...thankfully, he quickly reported that the surgery had gone perfectly, they had placed the pins without incisions, and he was in recovery.
When they took us back to recovery, he was still fast asleep. It took about another hour or so for him to slowly wake up.
Because of his age, and the late time of day of his surgery, they kept him in the hospital overnight for observation. He hadn’t had anything to eat or drink for nearly 12 hours, but the kitchen was closed for the night. Grant’s dinner for the evening consisted of 3 cups of apple juice, a carton of chocolate milk, and a bag of Baked Lay’s potato chips. The dinner of champions!
We were in a private room, with our very own flat screen tv on the wall. And Grant got to call the shots on whatever we watched. In his world, that was pretty much heaven! When he couldn't find anything to watch on tv (after about 11pm, even Cartoon Network shows trashy shows), we switched to the iPad.
It was a rough night. With an IV in one hand, and his other arm immobilized and in pretty severe pain, he was pretty much useless. At about 4am, after close to no sleep for nearly 48 hours, I lost it and broke down sobbing. I just rubbed his little chest through the bedrail, silently praying for the strength to get through this.
When the sun came up a couple of hours later, he had turned a corner. He hopped out of bed and walked to the bathroom, ate a couple of pancakes and pieces of bacon for breakfast, and was ready to head on home.
Friday we went back to the orthopedist for his hard cast. They took an xray to check alignment, and things looked perfect!
He was a trooper as they put on not one, but two casts. The first cast didn’t come up high enough on his arm leaving too much mobility in the joint, so the cast tech had to cut it off and start over. Grant laid back on the table, closed his eyes, and went to his happy place.
He's now proudly sporting a super cool camouflage cast. He blends in very well with his surroundings.
I look back on this past week, and it just seems unreal. My heart still jumps into my throat when I look at the photos of his bone, or him in the hospital, or think of his cry when he first fell. While it’s true that my physical pain might not have been as great as his, the emotional pain was pretty much off the charts!