Curious George and the Case of the Broken Arm

Last Saturday, Kate and I were on our way to Tony’s parents’ house when I got the phone call. Tony said our plan to attend Curious George and the Golden Meatball that afternoon at the Granada Theatre in Emporia was changing. He was on his way to the Emergency Room with Alex. He said he was pretty sure Alex had broken his arm after taking a fall down the slide.

Apparently Alex had been at the top of the slide and was trying to pull his cowboy boots in front so he could sit down and go down. Instead, they got caught up causing him to lose balance and fall down. Poor Tony was only a few feet away helping one of the cousins go across the monkey bars and saw the whole thing. 

At the ER, Kate and I hung out in the waiting room with Tony’s sister Melissa (she drove them) until the nurse said we could go back to Alex’s room. We made it back to the room just in time for quick hugs and some consoling before they came in for x-rays. Alex was mellow. Tony was a little shaken up.

The x-rays confirmed Alex had broken both bones – one pretty much set in place and the other, not so much. After getting consultation from the bone doctor, the nurses put Alex in a temporary splint and sling. Then they told us that we were going to need to follow up with an orthopedist on Monday to get a cast and determine if additional work would need to be done to set the bone back into place.

Overall, Alex tolerated the pain well and mostly was just disappointed that we weren’t going to make it to the Curious George play. (For a brief  bit of time he was also worried the nurses were going to cut his shirt off before they splinted his arm. I don’t know why… I don’t think he has any particular affinity for the plain blue shirt he had on, but nonetheless, he was concerned.)

As we were leaving the ER, one of the nurses brought out a stuffed monkey for Alex as consolation for missing the play. He loved it and declared he should be named Curious George. I just love this photo of him playing on the LeapPad and making sure George was positioned to watch.

Determined to make it up, we decided to take the family to see Curious George and the Golden Meatball on Sunday when the traveling production stopped in Ottawa. Alex was super excited, and I was interested to see how the kids would do during a theatre performance. I was not prepared for the play to be a musical… so I was a little caught off guard. The kids seemed to enjoy it though, especially Alex.

On Monday, I was able to get Alex into Cotton O’Neil Orthopedics & Sports Medicine to see Dr. Deister. After a quick review, he decided it would be best to sedate Alex and set the bone before they put on the cast. No plates or screws, just a little bit of pushing.

So we went back bright and early Tuesday morning for the quick procedure. The sedation was minor (gas only), but it was Alex’s first anesthesia so we were a bit nervous. Other than being pretty pissed off for awhile (“I hate this world!”), Alex handled it all really well.

I’m hopeful that we don’t have to go through this again – or at least not anytime soon. But, being realistic, the entire situation went as well as it could. And we have three kids. Things like this happen. Accidents happen. I’m just glad that Alex has been a good sport about it (except for when he’s not… like in this photo where he’s super mad).

Kiss that Cast Goodbye

About 10 weeks ago, I traveled with the Menke family to Steamboat Springs, Colorado on my first-ever ski trip. The first half-day we were in town, I listened to everyone’s advice and took a ski lesson.

At the same time, Tony decided to take a snowboarding lesson. (He’s been skiing for like 20+ years, but had never tried to snowboard.) As I was expecting, he was pretty much awesome. And he enjoyed the challenge. So he decided he’d snowboard the next day too and gain a little more experience before he went back to skiing the black slopes.

About an hour into our first full day on the mountain, Tony fell and broke his right wrist. In typical Tony bone-breaking fashion, he did it to the extreme – a broken bone, a wrist dislocation, surgery, a plate and seven screws. No more time on the slopes for him.

Since that time his poor arm has been in a variety of movement-limiting devices. Immediately after surgery it was in a quasi-cast with a wrap and sling. When we got back to Kansas and they were able to remove the staples, he progressed to a full arm cast that went from his armpit to down past his thumb. About a month later, he moved into the cast you see in the photo above – a much more reasonable half-arm cast that (finally) allowed elbow movement.

Today, Tony graduated from that cast into a brace. I’ve not seen it yet, but I’m pretty sure it’s fabulous. Well, okay, that may be over-selling it. But a brace can come off. And can be (somewhat) washed. And should allow for even a little more movement. And those things mean Tony’s going to able to start being more Tony-like again. And start to sleep better. And I like both of those things because I know he’ll be happier.

The injury wasn’t all bad though. It provided some experiences we wouldn’t have had otherwise, testing our relationship to see how well we could work together through adverse situations. (We did pretty awesome, if I do say so myself. I mean, we did survive the trip back from Colorado where I drove 9/10th of the way home. We won’t talk about that other 1/10th….)

I also got to help Tony out a lot in the kitchen and became much more comfortable (and somewhat handy, I think) with a knife and cutting board. Now I’m almost a pro at cleaning and cutting up sweet potatoes. If that wasn’t worth him breaking an arm, I don’t know what is… just kidding.