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Wednesday, February 25, 2009

A Day in the Emergency Room (Everyone is Fine)

**** We interrupt this program for a medical emergency ****

Well, that's how I felt this morning!! I had plans for today!

Yesterday, a friend came over and we started a major cleaning project, which we planned to finish today. In fact, I promised everyone that the mess we made would be gone by this evening! Oh, how God laughs at me!!

Today, instead of cleaning and reading (more about that in my next post), I spent the entire day in the emergency room with A, my youngest daughter! (Don't worry, she's fine!)

Yesterday evening, she got injured in judo class (again!) -- Someone fell on her during a throw and she got kneed in her calf. This morning, her leg was significantly swollen and it hurt her even more than last night.

I called our doctor to ask "could it be that she broke her leg?" The doctor thought that highly unlikely, but, from our description, he was concerned about "compartment syndrome." He instructed us to bring our daughter into the clinic this morning. So, Moshe brought her in and the doctor on duty sent her straight to the emergency room. Clearly this was not going to be resolved quickly.

Moshe called me and we agreed that I would meet him at the hospital. I had never heard of this syndrome before. If this turned out to be our daughter's diagnosis, she would require immediate surgery. My earlier confidence that this was a simple sports injury was eroding rapidly and I was increasingly worried.

I packed a bag with snacks and treats, books for me and my daughter, and one of those handheld computer games (special request from my daughter). Of course, we had no batteries, so, on my way, I stopped by a local store to pick up batteries.

I arrived at the hospital around 10:00 am, just after the orthopedist made his initial exam. According to Moshe and my daughter, the orthopedist dismissed the possibility of compartment syndrome (making rude and disparaging remarks about the competence of the doctors who sent her there in the first place). Still, just to be sure, he wanted to keep her under observation for a couple of hours.

A showed me her arm, which had two clear bandages over white cream. "I look just like you!" announced my adorable little girl, indicating the tube of topical anesthesia on the tray next to her. It was exactly what I use to anesthetize the skin above my port before chemo. I did not know whether to be amused or disturbed by her frame of reference. I smiled and acknowledged the truth -- it was the same stuff.

The nurse came in, noticed a better vein on A's other arm, applied another patch, and told us come at 11:00 for blood tests. Then we were directed to one of the waiting "room" (read: a bed and chair which could be closed off by a curtain, but which we left open). A was able to lie down and elevate her leg. "When can I do to school?" A asked, as we 'settled in.'

Our fifth grader daughter did not wanted to miss school at all. Today was Rosh Hodesh Adar (the first day of the Jewish month for being happy) and there were many special things happening in her school -- yom ippur (make-up day), harkadot (dancing), and decorating the school (which is done every year by the fifth graders, so this was her year!)

After two and a half hours, at 12:30 pm, we were told that the rofei bachir (senior physician) would check on our daughter soon.

An hour later, we were still waiting.

A decided to take a nap, to help pass the time.

An hour later, I had to break the news to my daughter that there was no chance of her making it in time for school.

When she realized that she was missing everything, she was sooooo sad. She wanted to leave the hospital right away and was so frustrated that we were spending all this time "waiting for the doctor to tell us that nothing is wrong!"

By this time, I knew that she was right. As the orthopedist pointed out, if it was compartment syndrome, she would have been in the operating room already. She simply had a small hematoma and some swelling, which seemed to me to have gone down significantly.

We hoped the senior orthopedist would come soon and that she would at least be able to join her class in decorating the school.

Eventually, even that possibility grew remote.

Finally, the senior orthopedist arrived, finished his one minute examine of my daughter, and confirmed that she was "good to go." By the time we received our discharge papers and final instructions from the nurse, it was 5:30.

In a last ditch attempt to cheer up my daughter, I asked if she would rather I take her to school or to a restaurant for dinner (our snacks ran out long ago, and the hospital food was, well, hospital food. I knew she was hungry). She did not want me to feel bad, but she also did not hesitate in her answer. She wanted to go to school.

But she had no illusions. She knew it was late and suggested I call her teacher.

One of the kids from her class answered the teacher's phone. "It's A's Ima" I heard the student announce to the teacher, even though I had not identified myself. (How do these kids know?)

I could tell the teacher was busy, but she was so sympathetic when she heard where A had been all day. Still, there was nothing to do. "We will be out of here within half an hour," she informed me. There was no point in bringing A to school. They would be gone before we even arrived.

A was clearly disappointed, but resolved to make the best of it.

I was tired, and in a bit of pain from sitting so long in the hospital. We decided to go to a small local restaurant in our neighborhood.

I watched my little girl devour an enormous hamburger.

Afterwards, she noted that we had not talked much. She was right. We were both tired.

It was a long day, for both of us.

Please daven (or send happy, healing thoughts) for RivkA bat Teirtzel.

With love and optimism,


SuperRaizy said...

I'm glad your daughter is OK. I hope her Purim will be so much fun that it makes up for her missing the Adar celebrations at school.

rutimizrachi said...

Well, I must be getting old. I am sitting here weeping into my coffee that your precious daughter missed her big day. (Grandmother syndrome. Don't worry. No surgery needed. I'm "good to go.") I am proud of A for being such a good sport, and proud of her mother for modeling that behavior. As I remind my boys, we can't do anything about what is given to us. The only thing we control is how gracefully we cope.

And I'll stop crying about the missed adventure soon. Hashem has a way of making it work out okay.

Ilana said...

Oh, what a bummer for A. She must have been looking forward to it for many years. Too bad! :-(

Batya said...

Baruch Hashem
I just davka blogged about the times my kids were hospitalized.
(on me-ander)