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10/29/06 21:04:40 - Normal

If there is any one word that could describe Aren’s and Lily’s medical histories, that word would most definitely not be “normal”. It might be “abnormal”, or “unique” or (MaryBeth’s favorite) the hyphenated “crazy-ass”, but not “normal”. This will not be particularly earth-shattering news for those of you who have been there with us over the past six years. MaryBeth and I have decided that between those two kids, we have probably spent over 100 hours of our lives in hospital emergency rooms. Not normal. Of those 100 hours, we were brought to the ER for reasons such as autoimmune hemolytic anemia (not normal), severe dehydration caused by autoimmune gastrointestinal disease (not normal), an oxygen level of 56% (not normal), pseudomonas bacteremia (not normal), and even a stroke or two (normal if you’re 85 years old, not so much if you’re 2). We had never been to an ER for something “typical”, like a sprain, a very bad cough, or even tonsillitis. Not until last Tuesday, when Aren broke his leg.
Last week, we received a call from Aren’s school nurse, Sandy. This is not exactly an uncommon occurrence; she has probably called us once every week or two since Aren started school. (At our request, she keeps an especially close eye on him.) She told us that Aren had fallen on the playground, couldn’t walk, couldn’t hop on his non-injured leg, and wouldn’t stop crying. Bear in mind that this is the kid who lived for most of his life with double ear infections, yet was one of the happiest kids I ever knew. If his pain tolerance is that high, and he won’t stop crying, you know it’s bad.

Aren's X-Ray
So, MaryBeth and I picked him up and took him to the hospital. (I happened to have stayed home sick from work that day.) We went in, and were a bit confused when we actually had to wait around a bit for the doctor to come see us. You see, when your daughter is so blue that you think she found a bag of robin’s egg candy, people tend to drop everything for her. The indicators were that it was somewhat serious (somewhere between a heart attack and a hangnail, though I’m not exactly sure where), so we were able to see a doctor within about an hour. By 12:38, he had been x-rayed, and it was confirmed: his right tibia was indeed broken.

We waited around for another couple of hours. When we finally flagged down a nurse and asked if Aren could get some meds for the pain (he only stopped whimpering when he fell asleep), we found out that the doctors were just trying to decide whether to splint (and later cast) his leg, or if it would require surgery.

Yes, surgery. The one time one of our kids comes into the hospital for something normal, and they’re thinking that, no, it’s not so normal, after all, they’ll need to sedate him, cut his leg open and attach a few screws. Great.

But, as it turned out, it only needed a splint. They gave him a shot of morphine (gotta love those opiates!), wrapped him up and sent him home, asking that we set up an appointment with the orthopedic surgeon here in town for sometime in the next couple of days so he could get a cast. (Since breaks swell a lot in the first day or so, they wait for some of the swelling to go down before applying a cast.) So, on Thursday, Aren got his cool new black cast. The doctor says it will probably be on him a couple of months. (We’re thinking we might be able to save some money on Christmas this year, because by the time it rolls around, all he’ll want is to have his cast off.)

We don’t know exactly how he broke his leg. He fell on a perfectly flat section of the playground, so it’s not like he hit his leg on a rock or something like that. The current theory is that some of the medications that he has been on have weakened his musculo-skeletal system so much that not only is he physically weak (as those of you who have seen him move can attest), but his bones are more porous now than they would have been, as well. In response, the doctors have lowered some of his meds and cut out others entirely. So now, he only takes 5 pills twice a day instead of the 7-10 twice a day that he had the week before.

"Normal" is actually starting to look like a possibility, isn’t it?

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Velda wrote:
Heh. "Normal" indeed...
21/10 16:06:32

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