Last Friday, C. Peevie removed his Velcro boot cast and put on two shoes for the first time since he spiral-fractured his tibia on September 2. Three days later, M. Peevie slipped on the stairs, smashed her foot into the wall, and fractured her tibia.
That's our story and I'm sticking to it.
I expect a visit from DCFS at any minute.
Apparently, this is the year of broken bones in the Peevie household. This is fracture number three. I had specifically forbidden any further bone breakage, but my disobedient daughter totally disregarded the prohibition. And not only that--she did it 12 hours before we were scheduled to depart for our Christmas Aught Nine: Philadelphia Edition road trip.
C. Peevie and I went running when we heard "Thump! Thump! Thump! Ow!" as M. Peevie catapulted down the stairs, crashed into the wall, and cried out.
"It hurts!" she cried. "My ankle! I felt the bone move up! Wah! Wah! Waaahhh!"
We carried her to the couch, elevated her leg, and gently laid a bag of frozen corn (nature's ice-pack) across the already-swelling and tender-to-the-touch area. M. Peevie continued to weep, and I called the pediatrician, who recommended that we take her for an x-ray since she was unwilling to even attempt to put weight on her leg. I dosed her with Children's Tylenol (t), splinted her leg with a St. Andrew's phone directory and an ace bandage, and headed off to the hospital.
I thought the splint was a nice touch. I sort of felt like an army medic applying a field dressing during combat--only without the field and the combat. I was hoping somebody at the hospital would notice and comment on my heads-up treatment protocol--but no.
We arrived at the ER about 40 minutes after the accident. M. Peevie sat patiently in her wheelchair in the uncrowded waiting room, her face bearing the strain of pain and fatigue.
"I'm going to have to unwrap your leg," Nurse Jane said kindly when we finally reached triage about a half hour later. Not one word about how great the make-shift splint was.
"OK," M. Peevie said in a small voice, with a tiny hiccup.
"What's your pain level, honey?" Nurse Jane asked, showing M. the sad face/happy face pain chart.
"Seven-and-a-half," M. Peevie said. "Maybe eight."
"Well, you're being very brave," Nurse Jane said, unwrapping the ace bandage. When she got the splint unwrapped, she held out the school directory. "I hope this isn't homework," she said, amused. "How did you hurt yourself?"
I liked how Nurse Jane talked to M. Peevie. She spoke calmly and directly to M., and gave her the opportunity to speak for herself like a big girl. It did cross my mind, however, that hospital personnel are trained to watch for signs of abuse when children come into the ER with injuries; and I arranged my face into a concerned and guilt-free expression.
"No," M. Peevie said. "It's my school directory. I fell on the stairs," she continued. "I slipped and went all the way down and crashed into the wall with my foot. I felt the bone move up." She was very believable.
The nurse looked at me meaningfully, and we both noticed that the swelling on M. Peevie's leg had an uneven indentation in it. I knew we were in for a long night, and even though I reassured M. Peevie that it might just be a sprain, I was confident that we were dealing with a fracture.
Three hours, an x-ray, and four or five re-tellings of the Fall Down the Stairs later, including two tellings to each of two maintenance personnel who stopped by the room, we headed home with a little girl in a temporary cast, discharge instructions, and a prescription for Tylenol plus codeine. Yay. Hope she has some left over.
Meanwhile, Mr. Peevie finished packing, wrapping presents, and organizing us for our trip to PA. He is the true hero of the story. Our original plan was to get out the door by 6 a.m., but we allowed ourselves a little more sleep in the morning, and delayed our departure by six hours.
Brave broken-tibia girl barely cried after the initial trauma. We managed her pain primarily with ibuprofen and occasional doses of T3.
After this auspicious beginning, Christmas Aught-Nine: Philadelphia Edition was a piece of cake, even with the crazy relatives and the too-close quarters for too much time.