It was a typically peaceful dinner hour. I think I was enjoying some kind of soup. Roan, a friend of Natalie’s, and fellow dorm dweller, came calmly to me and said something like this: um, Mrs. Hamlin, I think Natalie is hurt. She fell and she was crying and (nodding)…I think she’s really hurt. Which, if you know children who are really tough, who play outside for hours at a time, and who have more bruises on their little legs than hair on their head, is code for get up! your daughter NEEDS you. NOW!
I was calm. I only half ran. But I could see her little arm from 10 feet away, and knew enough to know it was broken. I’ve been wrong before, both as a coach and mother, when it comes to broken bones, but this was clear. It reminded me of that scene in Harry Potter where he loses the bones in his arm and it’s all floopy. Yup, bowls of fun! My immediate thought was to stop the pain. Hold it tightly? Loosely? Against her body? She wouldn’t even let me put ice on it. I just sat on the ground and held her, while she tried to get it into a position that felt …not pain free, but, hopefully…better. Not possible, as it turns out.
So a cab arrived. Somebody full of awesome (Gary,was that you?!) must have thought to call one, because I was just sitting on the ground with my daughter, in pain. Katie, a Korean staff member, already in her comfy slippers, since it was, after all, dinnertime, offered to go with Guy and me to the clinic just a couple of miles up the road. We didn’t go to the hospital because the international doctors leave at 5pm. Murphy’s Law. Poor Cookie is writhing in pain, sobbing and saying, over and over, it hurts, mommy, it really hurts. The cab driver asked Katie to translate to us that if we have a real emergency in the future, we really need to call 119 for an ambulance. Good to know. 119. Got it. But here’s hoping there’s no next time. He was sweating the rush hour traffic and working hard to either get us where we needed to go, or to get our wailing child out of his car.
We arrived at the clinic to a small crowd of doctors who turned and sprang into motion at the site of her. Exrays here (not one but two broken bones.) A sling there. Kind words and smiles here. Oh, but a necessary reset of the arm there. Oh boy.
When it was time for that little gem of a manuever, even the doc in charge heaved a heavy sigh before he moved in. No anaseptic, Katie kept saying, no anaseptic, okay? — which was really “no anesthesia”– Natalie still doesn’t weigh 50 pounds. She’s too little for anesthesia. No drugs. No nothing. Set those bones with just me holding onto her and her sucking thumb to soothe her. I don’t know why I didn’t hesitate to be the one to go in to the room with her. “Uma! (Mumma!)” the doctor directed “Go! Yes?” and I nodded “yes, of course” and in we went. Remember, it took me 8 years to go in with Luke to have a treatment on his birthmark and that’s a laser, for crikey’s sake. This was resetting two tiny bones in one tiny little arm. And I hope I never have to do it again.
So here she is, with her big ol’ splint.
We still need to go get her into a hard cast, but the swelling hasn’t subsided yet. Might THAT have something to do with reefing on her arm for 3 solid minutes? Yowzers! She says the experience hasn’t been too bad. She has forgotten the bone resetting (I LOVE the brain of a child! I want one!) She gets to sleep in our bed, and have her backpack carried for her, and her food tray too. She snuggles with me every afternoon before and after school and we play Crazy 8’s until we can’t stand it. We even bought her an ice cream today. Her favorite strawberry one. My little nugget. There’s nothing like seeing your child in pain, nothing that makes you feel more helpless or more vulnerably human.
When they had ended their manipulation of the bones and she was calming down into yawn after yawn from the adrenaline leaving her body she saw that I, too, was crying. She turned to me and said, I’m sorry, mommy. I didn’t do my homework. She was back. Priceless, priceless girl.
Oh gosh wish john and Jim could have been the docs
OUCH! Brings back memories of Emma’s arm being broken. Not fun, Mom. Well done….both of you! Ahhhh, big adventures!
Mary Gilman said:
Poor Natalie and poor, poor you. That must have been the longest 3 minutes of your life! Let’s hope so, anyway. You done good, as they sometimes say here!
We miss you terribly and are glad that we can keep up with what’s going on in your lives. Love the pictures and the commentary. A great idea.
Snow last night and this morning, but not as much as was forecast, so we’re pretty happy about that. Weird to see snow coming down with still-green leaves on the trees. The snow on the ground was spotted with red and yellow leaves that were blown off the trees by the wind.
Hi Mary! She’s much better. All is well.
So sorry vic that sounds awful– she looks like she has faired it well– love ya
Diana Ryan said:
Vikie it is amazing how children bounce back and how tough they are. My daughter broke her arm in 1st grade at Drinkwater School in gym class had to have it set twice but they gave her something for pain. I love reading about your adventures. Diana
Hi Diana! So nice to hear from you. Yes, it was quite an ordeal, but one that every parent kind of knows will happen sometime. We thought Garrett breaking his pelvis this summer might be it for us for awhile, but no…Natalie trumps the tree fall. How’s the baby??
rach :) said:
Natty-Nat! I’m glad you’re ok, and that you don’t remember the pain. First Garrett, now you… tell Lukey to be careful 🙂
Miss you guys!
Di Buchanan said:
By darn, Vicki. You just passed your “who’s strongest in this family!” What a helpless jelly bean I would have become. Little lady bug is going to be wonderful, hoping the bones heal where they are supposed to be! I suspect things are a challenge for you there as they would be for an “alien” in a foreign setting. Good job, Mom. Be happy. I am reading the Greater Journey….not the most scintilating tome I have charged into. I say this because I know you know David . I am going to try to convince MJ Smith to read it. I am sure with all the geography of Paris she will love it. MJ is still MJ. You take care. My best to you. Your mom sent me the blog piece of your little Natalie journey. Very pleased to read it. Yours, Di
Hi! Thanks for your kind, supportive words. As a mother, I admit, I fly by the seat of my pants. You just do it. It’s hard to get books in English here without paying exorbinate shipping prices…tell me more about the Greater Journey.
Oh, this post made me cry, Vic. Nattie is so brave and so are you. Love you guys!
Oh my.. well, tell your little nugget that I broke my arm in 5th grade, JUST THE SAME–both bones, floppy arm, had to have it reset without antiseptic (: too! I remember the pain to this day, so I’m sure she is one brave little trooper. So sorry you had to go through this, but we can be so strong for our kids, no? Much stronger than for ourselves.
Hope that, other than this, the adventures is going well. xoxo
Ooooooh – too close to home! Grey broke his arm two weeks ago at football, it sounds SO similar. But, we had “anaseptic” 🙂 She is a real warrior, just like her mama. Sending lots of love your way – sign her cast for us!
Will do. How is Gray healing?