It’s only fair that I dedicate a post to my other child. When my first child was born, most of my wife’s pregnancy problems were my fault but with the second child, it was all totally his fault. Our first was a little soccer player inside mommy’s tummy; our second was reenacting Mortal Kombat. The second labor was supposed to be significantly shorter, this one was longer.
We went into the hospital early on the morning of April 22nd. We were very excited – Earth Day! The battlecry of the day was “Earth Day Birthday!” The nurses were all on board with celebrating the birth of our little hippie. They needed to put a name on the board in the nurses’ station, but we weren’t revealing our child’s name until he was born – yeah, I know people say that’s a pretentious thing to do, but we weren’t being pretentious; I’d explain it to you, but it’s not something someone like you would understand – but to celebrate the big “Earth Day Birthday” my wife chose the first name Birkenstock and I christened our son’s middle name as Hemp Rope. Sure enough “Birkenstock” appeared on the board. Ironically, another couple was having a baby the same day who gave their child a temporary name:
Little Birkenstock gave mommy an insanely difficult time. He was barrel rolling and somersaulting in her belly the whole time and he was so stubborn he didn’t end up having an “Earth Day Birthday” and my wife, under the influence of pain killers and exhaustion changed his moniker to “The Little Turd on the 23rd.” And he lived up to that reputation for the remainder of the birth – at one point things got so chaotic my mother-in-law yelled at us saying, “YOU TWO AREN’T HAVING ANY MORE KIDS!” I totally agreed with her! Best. Advice. Ever.
Not only did he live up to the “Little Turd” nickname on the day he was born – it has been his M.O. every day since then! Don’t get me wrong, he’s not a bad kid. He is one of the sweetest, most loving, imaginative, polite, funny, insightful toddlers you could ever meet. But he is a mischievous little gremlin! He’s a runner and a climber and, dear God, he’s a yeller! Just like “Spinal Tap” this kid goes to 11!
I guess the best story to encapsulate this unique little munchkin happened a few months ago. Long story short: he’s a climber – he’s not supposed to be a climber – he climbed – he fell – he got an “I told ya so” and a trip to Urgent Care.
Short story long: he decided the best plan for his Thursday evening was to climb the swiveling office chair as quickly as he could. Lo and behold it swiveled, go figure: birds gotta fly, swivel chairs gotta swivel. Before any of us could rush to stop gravity from doing what gravity does best, the little monkey took a header over the arm of the chair and instead of taking the fall with his whole body (like his ninja training has taught him) he made a rookie mistake and put his hand out to catch himself. KER-SNAP! His big brother has made it over a decade without a trip to the ER and I didn’t break a bone until I was almost in high school – but here’s our little two-year-old getting x-rays at Urgent Care. When they examined him they thought his right elbow might be dislocated or possibly broken. But they didn’t know what little Birkenstock was capable of because upon looking at his x-rays we discovered that he had dislocated his elbow AND broke it! Because why settle for just one?
***On a side note, if you ever find yourself in this situation and they ask if you want to see the x-rays, say “no.” I didn’t, they showed me, holy crap!***
Because of the nature of the injury and his age, they were not equipped to deal with our little guy so they sent us to the ER. Once there they needed to take more x-rays…he decided this was not going to happen without a fight. The radiologists took him back and he began pushing them away…with his right arm! He fought them off so hard with his broken arm, they needed to call the ER station because they didn’t believe that his arm was broken at all! But, oh yes indeed it was! Trust me, I saw the x-rays!
***Seriously! There was his hand, wrist, forearm, a tiny nubby piece of the elbow THEN A BIG BLACK SPACE, then another little elbow nubby POINTED THE WRONG WAY, then the rest of the elbow, then upper arm. NOT PRETTY! CANNOT UNSEE!!!***
Once those were shown to the doctor, he put his finger on his nose and said, “Not it!” – okay, maybe he didn’t, but it would make for a better story – and told us to go home, get some sleep, and go to a pediatric hospital two hours away in the morning. So we took a two-year-old home WITHOUT AN ELBOW!
We got up early the next day (Friday), drove out to the hospital, got more x-rays (he fought those radiologists, too), and met with the specialist who said that this is one of the most common injuries for small children due to: bounce houses, trampolines, and monkey bars. We asked about desk chairs and, of course, our little guy might have been the first recorded case of that. Unfortunately, the poor little guy needed pins to put his arm back together and so he was scheduled for surgery on Monday morning…Monday…MONDAY! So we drove back home so our son could relax for the weekend WITHOUT AN ELBOW! Strangely enough, he was fine. A little Tylenol here and there and he had no complaints. He’s a tough little booger.
Finally, the big day arrived and we drove back to the hospital; he was prepped (fought those nurses), taken back for anesthesia (fought those nurses), and my wife and I went into the waiting room where we watched this little digital board that told us where our child was (kind of like the flight status board at an airport). We watched his patient number’s label change from PREPARING to IN O.R. And we watched, we waited and we held hands and we prayed and we got Tim Horton’s…hey, don’t judge, their coffee is really good…and we went back and waited some more until the doctor came out and told us everything went perfectly. In a few minutes they were going to take my wife back to O.R. Recovery to be with him when they brought him out of anesthesia. Then, when he was fully awake and ready to move to Outpatient Recovery, they’d come and get me and we’d all go up there and wait until it was time to go home.
A nurse came and took my wife back. I watched the board and my son’s patient status changed from IN O.R. to O.R. RECOVERY. And I waited. And waited. And waited. And waited? And waited! It was taking forever – almost as long as the whole prepping and surgery ordeal leading up to that point. Finally, my wife and a nurse showed up looking like they had just survived a war (which, unbeknownst to me, they had) – their hair was messed up, they both looked sweaty and flushed, and they were hugging and congratulating each other. All the while, curled up in my wife’s arms, was this sweet, innocent, bandaged, groggy little angel.
And, like Paul Harvey, I heard the rest of the story.
As he was coming out of anesthesia, they gave him a tiny dose of morphine to help him cope with the pain. They told my wife that the morphine was going to keep him pretty sleepy for the rest of the day. That’s when his eyes popped open like the Bride of Frankenstein after getting a jolt of lightning! He must have heard a boxing ring bell because IT WAS ON! He tore off the oxygen and the heart monitors and he started ripping at his IV until he was restrained – but then he started taking it out with his feet. The nurse decided to get the IV out of him and that’s when she got spit on and sworn at in toddler gibberish (many times we heard him say things to medical professionals that made no sense, but you could tell it wasn’t good). When we got up to recovery, they tried taking his vitals again so that he could be discharged, but when he started getting ready for Round 2, the nurse decided that he was most likely okay so we should go home.
It was the same story every time we went back for check-ups and x-rays during the six-week ordeal. Fighting. Growling. Wailing. Once he turned a bribery sucker one nurse gave him into a projectile used on another nurse. When it came time to take the pins out – he almost did it himself! My wife and I, with the help of TWO nurses, finally got the cast off and pins out. A very simple procedure that he turned into such an incredible melee that the doctor came running back in to see what happened!
Upon the completion of this last bit of medical business, he was cleared to leave (to everyone’s relief) and he made sure to sheepishly say “sorry” to everyone we passed on the way out. I just hope he doesn’t get hurt again because I think he is the first child to ever be banned from a children’s hospital!