A Christmas break of the unwelcome variety

So you know how I was flat-out being all zen about December and living in the moment etc., etc.? Well, this is one moment I would have been happy to live without.

Olive's cast

It was a bad break. Bloody monkey bars.

I said to the orthopaedic surgeon at the Emergency Department that I bet he wished he had a dollar for every kid that presented with a monkey-bar break.  He agreed it would be a tidy supplement to his income but that he would rather have a dollar for every kid that didn’t. Because they are in the majority.

And it’s easy to forget that when you are cradling your tiniest babe in your arms, trying to be brave when really you want to cry, and swearing neither of your kids will ever go within 10 metres of, let alone swing from, a set of monkey-bars ever again.

Mermaid on Olive's cast

They had to cut the sleeve off her little dress.  Of course it was the least of our worries but I felt just the tiniest pang of regret as both my girls have worn that dress and I bought it in Rome for Sophia before she was born. Well, at least it went out with a bang. Or a crack, in this case.

Olive in sling at hospital

The surgeon had to realign her radius and in order to do that he had to break her ulna.

And all this while conscious. Both the surgeon and Olive.

Okay, so she was high as a kite on ketamine and fentanyl (Olive, not the surgeon) but she still felt it. She just doesn’t remember it.

But her father and I will. Forever.

She has adapted remarkably to the heavy armpit-to-thumb cast and her sister, family and little friends, as you can see, have been decorating it in the cutest way ever.

Hugging friends on Olive's cast

And here she is managing a feeble thumbs 2 days later. Note other hand submerged in glass of God knows what.

Olive giving thumbs up in cast

So we have 6 long weeks of a cast which cannot meet a speck of water. In the hot Aussie summer. At the beach. Quite the challenge.

We are investigating any and all cast protector and waterproof cast options. All depends on her healing though.

Which if her maddening itching this week is anything to go by, is progressing at a rate of knots.

The surgeon also said that the way little bones reknit means the break might not even be evident in X-rays when she’s older. Incredible baby bones.

Love hearts on Olive's cast

I’m currently grateful (stay tuned) for the fact she hasn’t broken her other arm yet. This challenge seems to making her behave in an even more cavalier manner than usual. Not relaxing. But good on her.

As I go to publish this post, I have just re-read it and its light tone kind of belies the level of fear I actually felt as we went through this.  And even when my fear for my own child began to abate somewhat, the realities of the ward suddenly crowded in: the truly tiny babies who were rushed in and surrounded by 7 or 8 doctors and nurses and the haggard parents of those tiny babies.  The two little brothers with previous histories of anaphylaxis who were itching all over in building allergic reactions to something they had eaten and their worried mum. The little girl who was wheeled past on a trolley towards surgery with a head that had either been shaven for surgery or…well, I will never know and my thoughts can only ever be pure speculation. But my heart broke for her mum who walked beside her into whatever trial they faced.

I feel indescribably grateful to live in a country in which we have access to public health care of such an extraordinarily high standard and then above and beyond that a department manned with staff who are genuinely concerned and dispense compassion to EACH AND EVERY single sick kid (and their worried parents) that comes through their doors.

They were my Christmas miracle.

15 thoughts on “A Christmas break of the unwelcome variety

  1. Thank you for sharing, I saw her at the kinder party, she looked so happy, belies what you have all been through. Merry Christmas

    • Yep, they’re pretty resilient aren’t they. But then who wouldn’t look happy in the presence of a magician with a white bunny AND Santa Claus! Happy Christmas B. xx

  2. Hope the dear little Olive gets better real soon. Have had the same with my Grandson but he was practicing a back flip and ended up splitting his head open Luckily no neck or spine damage I know how you felt in the hospital and agree we are so lucky we have wonderful medical staff here in Australia. Thinking of you in this hot weather xox Anne

    Sent from my iPhone


    • Oh my God Anne, that would have been TERRIFYING. I’m so relieved to hear he’s okay. Yep, we are v lucky. On all counts. x

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