So I’m sitting in my office and Everett is playing behind me about three feet away. One of my other kids comes walking in and asks if (s)he can hold Everett. I say okay and help this child pick up their brother and they are standing there holding him very proud. Everett is giggling. My hand is on Everett’s bum and it’s a great little moment. I take Everett and set him back on the ground and the sibling runs off happily.
A few minutes later the sibling comes back into the room and sits down to play with Everett. I turn around to finish my work (medical related paper work) and about a minute later I hear the sound of a stumble and I turn around to see my child, holding Everett, falling to the ground. It’s a short fall and doesn’t seem to result in a hard hit or anything that would cause worry. What it does cause is me to get upset at the child who had picked Everett up without permission and then decided to walk around the room with him. And it also causes Everett to cry hysterically. I’m surprised by Everett’s cries because of course I knew he’d cry, but I didn’t think he’d cry so much. From the last bit of the fall, that I saw, he didn’t hit his head on the ground or really anything in a visibly impacting way so I wasn’t sure what was hurting him.
I’m well versed in kids’ falls and what to look for and what to worry about so I took Everett upstairs to comfort him in private (without his siblings distracting him) and to breastfeed him and see if he’d calm down and if he seemed okay. I was worried because this is the first fall he’s had and he still seems so itty bitty and fragile to me.
So he’s still crying after about five minutes and it’s a totally different cry than what you’d expect from a baby moping about after an experience like that. This cry was definitely, I’m trying to calm myself down but I’m not happy, something hurts.
This is when I started breastfeeding him and he’d suck and then stop to cry and then suck and then stop to cry. Big warning signs of an injury 🙁
In the few minutes I breastfed him I also noticed he kept kinda wiggling his legs and hips and moving his legs but in a deliberate way. He also started crying and then grabbed his foot and lifted his leg up. He was laying on his right side so he was messing with his left leg and he’s never acted quite like that before so I automatically assumed he might’ve broken his left leg! I thought with him grabbing his foot that maybe it was his ankle hurting him.
I picked him up and carried him over to the staircase railing, his very very very favorite place to stand up at, and stood him up at the railing with his hands on the bars. He buckled immediately, bending his legs at his knees and fell to the ground. Except he didn’t fall because I was holding him but you know, would’ve fallen to the ground if I hadn’t been holding him… basically he just buckled immediately. He also increased his crying. I picked him up and sang him a song and rocked him around the hallway. He mellowed out and I breastfed him once more for a minute, this time with him sitting up. He still was crying off and on.
I didn’t want to jump to conclusions and rush to the hospital if his foot, ankle, or leg was just sore and not broken so about ten minutes later when he was more calm I took him back to the stairs and sat him down. He wouldn’t crawl! At this point I’d already decided to go to the doctor but was debating/hoping that I was way off base with my worry. I held his armpits and attempted to stand him up against the railing once more and he wouldn’t even straighten his legs and put his feet on the ground at all this time. And he started crying the second he thought I was trying to stand him up.
So I called his pediatrician (it was about 4:30pm by this time) and told the nurse the whole story and she said it really did sound like a broken leg. She said that I could come to their office if I really wanted to but that it was certain they’d send me to the ER because the x-ray place they use would be closed by the time I saw the pediatrician at all. So, she said I should go straight to the ER since Everett could get an x-ray there.
And so that’s what we did! I called Allan and asked if he could meet me there at 5. Luckily it wasn’t difficult for him to leave work that early and I’m really glad I didn’t have to take all four of the other kids to the ER with me!!
At the ER we switched cars (Allan put Everett’s car seat into his corolla once I went into the ER so he could drive the other four home in the seqoiua) and I went into the ER with Everett.
Everett had been upset this entire time, never really getting happy after his fall, and started crying whenever someone so much as looked at him. I knew I was in for a rough time at the ER with the nurses and doctors wanted to examine him and stuff! He cried at the front desk lady when she said hi to him with a smile.
It wasn’t a long wait after I checked in to be taken back to a room. A nurse asked about what had happened and his symptoms and then left to get a doctor. Everett had cried while the nurse was in the room.
Later the nurse came back with a doctor (who actually might have been another nurse, I’m not sure!) and they examined Everett’s left leg. He was reacting badly to any touch, flinching, not straightening his leg, etc. They agreed that it really did look like he’d broken something so the doctor ordered an x-ray.
Everett switched back and forth from crying to screaming during most of this time.
The x-ray people eventually came in and it was a loud process to take a couple x-rays of Everett’s left leg. He screamed as loud as he possibly could!
After the x-ray people left Everett continued to cry loudly and/or scream. Eventually a hospital worker came and apologized and as nicely as possible told me that Everett was disturbing the other patients and they closed our exam room door. lol. It was crazy! I walked and walked around the room singing and talking to Everett, showing him all the things in the room. He wanted to grab everything and it being an ER room I couldn’t let him which made him more angry!
I never really did get him to calm down during that time. He was, I think, mostly upset to be in a strange place with people coming in and out. I could tell he was really hating seeing all these new people. (Usually he’s extremely social and happy to everyone he meets!)
So also during this time I tried to get Everett to crawl on the bed or stand on the bed. He’d scream bloody murder when I did that. If I ever made any movements where he felt like I was putting him down he had a total meltdown. He wanted me holding him the whole time. Which is completely understandable! It just made it difficult to try to test out how his leg was doing, if it was still hurting.
(I should add that it was hours past his naptime, and actually closer to his bedtime! by this time so he was exhausted as well as feeling insecure and in pain!)
Every time I attempted to stand Everett up on my lap or when I gently bent each of his legs I noticed that now he was favoring his right leg!! He’d flinch when I tried to bend it and he eventually would put weight on his left leg but none on his right! What the heck!? lol
After what felt like a million years but was probably only an hour the nurse, the other nurse (or doctor, still not sure), and a doctor came in to talk about his x-rays. They told me there were no breaks in his left leg. This is when I told them about the new way Everett was acting and favoring his right leg! The two original nurses (or one nurse and one doctor) were surprised because all along the way Everett acted seemed like his left leg was the injured one! I am usually conservative about my medical opinion on things and with how much Everett was crying and carrying on I hated to stay in the ER longer to check on his other leg but I couldn’t dismiss his treatment of his right leg now! After showing the three women how Everett flinched when I bend his right leg gently and how he didn’t with his left leg they agreed that we just really should x-ray that other leg. And if there were no breaks there then we’d keep up on his motrin and do more tests in a day or two if he still acted hurt.
So… everything I just said about cranky Everett and x-rays and walking around and singing and all that, repeated. haha
After another hour or so the nurse/doctor (I don’t know which she was!) came in with a paper. I immediately thought she was going to say, well sorry- no breaks, we don’t know what’s wrong with Everett. But she instead turned the paper around to show me a printed out image of Everett’s newest x-ray and proceeded to point out where there was a small break in his leg! A fractured tibia on his right leg! I was shocked and yet, not really surprised since it was apparent through Everett’s misery that he was hurting. I’ve never seen him so sad and unable to settle down 🙁
The woman told me they’d splint it tonight and then we’d have to call and go in to a pediatric orthopedist the next day.
A couple of guys came in later with the stuff to splint Everett’s legs and by this time Everett was calmed down pretty well. I don’t know if the motrin had fully kicked in or his exhaustion was mellowing him out or if he was just plain old used to being in the hospital with so many strange faces but he was totally silent and calm and even smiled at one of the guys (who played peek-a-boo with him) during the splinting process! It was such a relief because after standing holding my one year old for three hours straight my back was sore, my ears were sore, and I was feeling like collapsing from the worry and stress of it all.
After Everett’s splint was in place we headed home. I breastfed Everett and let him crawl around a bit since he seemed anxious to get on the ground now that we were home! He sat down and promptly used all of his strength to pull and pull at his splint. He pulled that thing down three inches before I picked him up and took him to bed! The next morning the first thing he did when I took him downstairs into his play room was pull the thing off completely. lol!
I called first thing in the morning to schedule an appointment with the nearest orthopedist. His first available appointment wasn’t until Friday (this day was Wednesday) so for two days I got to enjoy Everett without a splint or cast. Knowing he was going to get a cast in a couple days made me appreciate the ease of life of a baby without a cast!