Is it broken?

In spite of having what I believe are sometimes the world’s clumsiest kids, I have to confess that in our almost 9 years of parenting we have been VERY fortunate to avoid any really serious injuries. For that, I regularly thank God as my biggest irrational fear in life involves Doctors, Dentists and anyone in a white coat that might want to examine me.

All that changed a few months ago now when we were imminently going to be leaving for one our midweek activities. As the Gremlin was coming down the stairs, she lost her balance and fell down at least half of our stairs. We were in the living room at the time but the loud bang followed by a series of smaller bumps made it immediately apparent what had happpened. The piercing scream that followed only a split second later than the loud bang was unlike any cry of pain I have ever heard from either of my children previously when they have hurt themselves.

Both our children are still astounded by how quickly Dad managed to get from the far end of the lounge out into the hallway to respond to the accident. In the few seconds that followed, she immediately jumped to her feet only to stagger and start to fall again to the floor while we were still trying to decide whether she should remain immobile on the floor, do we need to call an ambulance, could it be fixed with a cuddle on the sofa and some calpol?

The next few seconds were spent deciding that she didn’t appear to be broken and although she was in a lot of pain and a small lump appearing on her back along with a whole load of redness she could still move. With covid cases still being so high and not wanting to unneccesarily burden the NHS even further, we chose to drive her to the hospital rather than call an ambulance. I assumed that Dad would take care of it all as he knew how much I disliked anyone in a white coat, but the pesky Gremlin who was still sobbing said that only Mummy could make her feel better.

We then had to call grandparents to explain that Sproglet would be remaining at home on his own while we left for the hospital so could someone come and sit with him as we didn’t want him home alone and worrying.

Once at the hospital they were running triage outside the main entrance because if they could handle it without you needing to enter the hospital, they were going to do that for everyone’s protection. It was felt that Gremlin’s injury did require further examination but before that I had to have a temperature check, fill out paperwork, change my mask for one of the hospital ones and only then were we allowed into the hospital.

The first nurse immediately administered pain relief even before examining the injury site. She then took us through for examination and rather alarmingly said that the Gremlin should no longer walk until the injury could be assessed properly so she would need to use a wheelchair while we remained at the hospital. I could tell the nurse was taking the situation very seriously, probably more seriously than we had done up until this point and I then realised that I am in a hospital facing the reality of my child being seriously injured and my husband is waiting in the car park while I am potentially facing our worst fears of a child being badly injured.

From there, it was felt that she would be better being immobilised so we then end up with her in a neck support and being laid flat on a bed and being warned that she should not move. Then Gremlin decides that she really needs the toilet so asks a nurse if she can go. The answer is she cannot move but we can try to use a bedpan set up although she’s not allowed to move herself. You can imagine her 10 year old horror at the thought of anyone other than her parent seeing her without underwear. A quick tutorial from the nurse so I don’t physically move her and we are left alone to manage the challenges of doing what is required.

Shortly afterwards the Doctor and some nurses arrive to do a full examination, and that is when I realised that they were really not messing and were taking all precautions in case of a fracture. It took a team of them to body roll her on to her side while keeping her immobile while he did an examination. From there he advises me that he is worried she has fractured something in her back so an urgent x-ray is going to be needed and she most definitely cannot move until the results of that are known. Once again the team spring in to action and she is transferred by the team from bed to bed. As you can imagine I now have a very frightened Gremlin who is starting to realise the seriousness of the situation, who has never had an x-ray before and doesn’t really understand why her mum can’t hold her hand while it is taken.

The outcome of the x-ray took ages to be communicated to us and the Doctor explained that he called in a Consultant to make sure it was correctly diagnosed. The end result was that there were no fractures, but she had managed to pull a couple of ligaments in her back and twisted her pelvis out of alignment. This would heal as long as she rested for a couple of days, didn’t do any physical exercise for 2 weeks and didn’t try to do anything crazy like back bends or trampoline somersaults for an extended period of time.

We are now around 4 months since she injured it and she is free from pain unless she goes too crazy at a trampoline park. As for me, I still don’t love seeing all the white coats in medical settings but I do stand in awe at the level of care that was given to us throughout that evening.

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