I wish parenting came with a guidebook, an instant what-to-do manual for direction when we encounter some of the scariest of parenting emergencies. This past weekend was one when I really needed it.
Many of you probably know I am a mom of three sons. It’s one of the most incredible privileges of my life, getting to be my sons’ mom. But it’s also one of the most harrowing. Boys can be accident-prone.
My boys are active. Not the kind of active that means they run circles around me all the time. Yes, they do that. But they also jump circles around me, too. Our doorways in the house are lined with brown hand slapmarks, from the ritual that happens with growing boys. They must jump and slap, they say, to see how high they can jump, every time they pass through a door. I’m raising basketball players, apparently. They’ll have the height for it, anyways …
This past weekend, my youngest son (almost 10) was playing basketball on the street outside our house. We were about to leave the house when we heard a low wail, and there he was clutching his arm in severe pain.
It’s the experience we’ve prayed not to happen while we live in Czech Republic. I toured the hospital when we moved to Prague three years ago, and was scared to death. Since then, the hospital has added on. But it’s still a Soviet Bloc hospital in the middle of formerly communist Europe.
My son’s arm broke in a ninety degree fracture, which meant his arm had to be reconstructed with emergency surgery, and internally pinned to hold it in place. Nerve damage is an issue, which is why I’m writing this post. As a mom of sons now with the experience of three severely broken arms, two requiring emergency surgery, I must share the most important things to remember when your child seems to have broken a bone.
The Three Things to Do in response to a serious injury from a fall:
1) Don’t move. You’ll want to pick him up and hold him. Don’t let your child move the bone. Don’t make him move the arm/leg to see if it’s broken. He’ll be frantic in pain or moaning loudly, and you need to help him steady the break and keep it from moving.
2) Call an ambulance. The more you move a break, especially severe ones, after they’ve broken, the higher the chance that the nerves will be damaged. Don’t let anyone else move the bones. Be firm.
3) Don’t give your child a drink or snack. If the break requires surgery (which I was sure my son’s wouldn’t, so I gave him a sip of water), you’ll have to wait 6+ hours from the time they’ve eaten / drank until they can have surgery. It’s a long and painful wait.
Now, post-surgery, my son is doing well. He won’t be jumping for some time, as the surgeons inserted a 4-inch long pin into the bone to keep it in place, and now has a two-inch incision and a full-arm cast. We’ll have more visits to the hospital for checkups, but I’m hoping and praying that this is the last broken bone in my family, ever. I do hope my list of three things helps others, because it is a scary experience, one of the toughest I’ve ever had to manage as a mom.
Have you had a frightening parenting experience with a broken bone? Please share advice you might have. We never know when we might need it … Thanks!