On Monday afternoon I sent the children outside to play.
“Go outside and play, you’ve been inside too long” an hour later, as I was about to call them in to get ready for swimming lessons I heard screaming. They were playing near the shipping containers up next to the cattle yards, I took of running to find…a child running towards me calling, another clinging up a tree very high and our ten year old daughter Jelly Bean, on the ground next to the fence crying in pain and her arm looking suspiciously ….odd.
“My arm’s broken Mum, I want to go to the hospital!”
She had fallen from over 4.5 metres, onto the cattle yard fence, fortunately she denuded the tree of most of its branches as she hurtled down. I say fortunate as although this later accounted for many scrapes and bruises the branches also did break her fall some what before she landed with a crash upon the fence. In hindsight the children all admit that a silky oak is not a safe tree with reliable branches, and it won’t be on their future climbing plans.
Logistics were undertaken, JB was bundled into the car, her brother in the tree was rescued via a ladder, Daddy was rung and set to meet us at the hospital and we were off.
Perhaps it was the sight of us carrying a bleeding ten year old into the hospital, perhaps it was my immediate explanation, “She fell out of a tree from 4 to 5 metres high” but we have never been whisked so fast into Accident and Emergency before. They undertook a complete trauma check on her; spine, neck, chest, pelvis, legs and arm, several times over the next few hours and into the next day. They also constantly monitored her and we were sent for a thorough x-ray. Very, very fortunate the only damage she sustained was to her arm, even my untrained eye immediately knew looking at the x-ray that her arm was broken and I just knew it was going to need surgery.
After a few hours we were finally transferred up to Children’s Ward where PC and I tagged teamed staying with Jelly Bean at the hospital for the next couple of days. As Bella still feeds through the night PC took the night shifts as well as parts of the days. Children’s Ward was busy this week with six children in residence.
One of JB’s wishes was that her siblings would come and visit her in hospital, she was requesting this even when still in Accident and Emergency. Hospital visiting was all a new experience for us as JB is only our second child to have an overnight stay in hospital and our first to have surgery, well except for Carpenter’s wrist surgery pre-Christmas, though he was far away in the City without us, quite traumatic.
The hospital staff were wonderful and the orthopedic surgeon was fantastic. Unfortunately due to the operating schedule it wasn’t until 3pm the following afternoon that JB was wheeled in for her surgery. JB’s biggest fear of surgery was that she might awake mid-op, the nurses, surgeon and anesthetist were most patient in reassuring her that it wouldn’t happen. Still she was nervous.
The surgery was successful and the surgeon was extremely happy with his handiwork, the plate and screws lined the bone up nicely. The surgeon was rather young and when he invited me to look at the x-rays, he rather made me smile, he was quite chuffed with his handiwork, but then he had every right to be proud. Generally surgery to repair a ten year old’s humus bone is not necessary but due to the break in this case it was decided it was, as it transpired, it was the correct decision as when they went in it was discovered that her radial nerve was stretched over the ragged edges of the bones.
Much happier once the surgery was over, though she was quite groggy for a while after, lightheaded and still in considerable pain. Finally though two days after the traumatic event, we were released and able to come home, which by this stage made JB quite happy. She won’t be able to play soccer this season which will be quite a blow to her as it sinks in.
The children assure me that they haven’t given up tree climbing but they certainly won’t be climbing any more silky oaks, they shall be more selective in their tree choices. I’m insisting that the height they climb should be taken into consideration too!
The chief registrar said to us twice, “She is very, very lucky to have not sustained any other injuries falling from such a height but…it’s good to see children still climbing trees and not inside on a computer”.