One Second and Thirteen Inches

The top of the mattress on Sparkles’s toddler bed is 13 inches from the floor. The bed is against a wall on one side and has a rail on the other. Her running across the yard, jumping off rocks, walking along anything off the ground that looks like a balance beam and doing aerial stunts with her Dad, all of that seems more dangerous than sleeping in her bed at night, but it took one second for her to fall out of bed last night and break her collarbone…

Here are some highlights of our adventure.

Sparkles was mostly OK as long as she didn’t move her shoulder, but she also tosses and turns a lot in her sleep, so she kept waking up and crying.

I drove to Dell Children’s Hospital first and the parking lot for the emergency room was full and I could see through the windows that it was a standing-room-only night. So I kept on driving the the Heart Hospital near Central Market where Sparkles was the only patient.

The staff didn’t see a lot of children in this hospital, but they did a pretty good job. They gave her crayons and paper when she had to wait and they brought in a portable x-ray instead of bringing her to the big x-ray room, which could have been scary.

The x-ray technician had a small triangle-shaped lead apron, except it wasn’t an apron, just a triangle, and it was to cover Sparkles’s ovaries during the x-ray. I guess it is good that x-ray technicians think ahead that far. It freaked me out a little bit, to think ahead that far, that my little girl has ovaries that might reproduce one day.

Sparkles was brave and sweet, but very quiet with the doctor, she couldn’t describe what hurt or why she was crying. This would have been scary, if this was a complicated case, but when I touched her collarbone she screamed and the x-ray showed it was broken, so it worked out fine.

The communication was harder the other way. I wanted to explain how keeping the wrap on, a really big Ace bandage, sort of, that kept her arm in place against her body, would keep her arm from moving and hurting. But she didn’t understand that, she just didn’t like how the bandage felt. I wanted to tell her her collarbone is broken and it will hurt for a while, but it will get better, but she didn’t understand that either. It just hurt.

I asked the doctor if the bandage was for comfort or if it was needed to help the bone heal, because I know my girl and I know she won’t want to wear it and the doctor doesn’t get why Sparkles wouldn’t wear it. She is an emergency-room heart specialist after all, the trade-off between this emergency room and hours of waiting at the Children’s Hospital. The nurse understands what I’m asking. He says the wrap is for comfort, it isn’t necessary for the bone to heal.

For being in the shortest emergency room line ever, the trip still takes three hours, between waiting for the nurse, then the doctor, then the x-ray technician, then the doctor, then the administrator, then wait for 30 minutes to be sure she doesn’t react to the pain medicine, then drive around for 20 minutes on the way home so she can calm down and fall asleep.

You just can’t know what will happen in one second and 13 inches. I’m glad we didn’t reeaalllly need the Children’s Hospital last night. I’m glad we weren’t upstairs at the Heart Hospital with something serious. I’m glad my husband took care of the kids in the morning and let me sleep. My husband moved the area rug under Sparkle’s toddler bed for extra cushion and I tell her it will be OK. Everything will be OK.


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  1. oh no! the brave little munshkin… hope you are all feeling a bit better now. xoxo.

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