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Little Alice broke her arm

Wednesday, December 30, 2009 | 0 comments

"John! John! John!" that was how I was woken up around noon, by Esme calling very loud several times my name. I was still in the bed: I had a cold for a few days now and hadn't been able to sleep most of the night hence I was still in the bed.

I was out of the bed and at the top of the stairs in seconds, images of blood and disaster in my head, since I heard Alice crying very loud. Esme was sitting at the bottom of the stairs, holding Alice. "Alice has broken her arm!" she said. "Go to the hospital," I said "No, wait, I am coming too". I got on a t-shirt and pants in a very short time and went down, still feeling panic racing through my body. The sight of Alice's right arm with a weird bump, and her crying made me even more upset, so I distracted myself by getting my bare feed in my shoes. We went outside to look for a taxi, Esme carrying Alice down the street while I was still struggling with the padlock we use to close our gate.

After I finally got the key out of the padlock and had locked up the gate I ran to catch up with Esme. At the end of our street we spotted a taxi. The owner was replacing a tire but offered to call in for a taxi. But then I spotted another taxi and signaled the owner, who stopped. And off we went to Xalapa, since Esme and I had decided to take Alice to a private hospital in Xalapa instead of a public one in Coatepec - we didn't know of any private one in Coatepec - hoping to get Alice sooner with a doctor despite the 20 minute drive.

Alice was still crying a lot. We both talked with Alice, we talked about what had happened with her; she had jumped off the stairs, and fallen wrongly. Alice is a very active child who likes to jump and drop herself on the floor very often. I slowly felt better - less in panic - and I noticed that Esme was feeling a little better as well.

Then I suggested to Esme to breastfeed Alice some. Breast milk is in my experience a magic potion that has helped Alice in the past with an eye infection, a rotavirus infection, and in general helps to calm her down. Originally we had planned to breastfeed Alice until she turned 2 years, but when Esme heard from a cousin that she had been breastfeeding for about 3 years Esme wanted to do the same with Alice, which made me very happy since I am very pro breastfeeding.

Anyway, the breast milk did its magic again and Alice calmed down, and soon stopped crying altogether. We both kept talking to her, now mostly about the things we saw on our way to the hospital. And then we were there. After a few minutes of waiting we saw a doctor who after a quick examination sent us up to have an X-rays taken of Alice. I went with Alice since we're expecting our second child. I told Alice that a photo was to be taken of her arm, and pointed at the camera. She was very interested in the whole process, especially when the camera started to hum and made several other noises. Shortly after the technician returned, moved Alice her arm carefully in a different position and another X-ray photo was taken.

X-ray of Alice's right arm.
X-ray of Alice's right arm.

After the second photo Alice and I left the room. The technician showed the photos on a screen to me and explained that one bone (radius?) was entirely fractured and the other bone (ulna) was partially. He gave me the photos and Alice and I returned to Esme. When we returned back to the doctor he explained that we had to go to a specialist nearby, located in a side street, to have Alice's arm set. We both considered it a bit odd that nobody in the hospital could do this. On the other hand it was just crossing a road and walking a short distance down a side street.

The specialist was available right away and examined the X-rays and Alice's arm. He made a list of items he wanted Esme to purchase in a shop nearby; bandages and plaster of Paris to make an orthopedic cast for Alice. We asked if Alice would get an anesthetic. He told us that he could ask someone to come over to give Alice an injection but gave us the impression that it was unnecessary. Decisions, decisions; on one hand we didn't want Alice to go to quite some pain, but on the other hand should we wait more?

We decided to move forward, also because the doctor had given us the impression that he didn't consider it really necessary. I stayed with Alice, who was resting on the examination table, and slowly, slowly falling asleep. When Esme returned with the materials we had to wake her up. The doctor had asked earlier on if I could leave the room when he did the resetting, and so I did.

Sitting in the waiting room, I suddenly heard Alice cry very loud, and, for me seconds later, the doctor opened the door and asked me to come back in. He had broken Alice's other bone, which had a greenstick fracture, and reset both bones. Alice was still sobbing a little, but looked OK. The doctor started working on the cast, which did upset Alice quite a bit because the plaster made her little hand dirty. So I asked if she wanted a piece of paper to clean her hand and she confirmed. I went back to the waiting room, into the bathroom to fetch a piece of toilet paper. Back I cleaned her hand and Alice stopped sobbing. She still wasn't very happy with all the stuff slowly covering her arm but looked much better.

Shortly after the work was done. Esme went out to get money to pay the doctor while I was sitting, with Alice on my lap, in the waiting room. We both watched the antics of Bear Grylls in the Chihuahuan Desert (Man vs. Wild, season 4, episode 5 "Texas Desert"). When Esme returned we walked to a nearby medical supply shop, opposite of the hospital, to buy a cradle arm sling for Alice.

The lady who helped us showed us a nice pink one with sheep printed on it. The sling has two straps that use velcro fasteners and easily attach to the front. The lady put the sling on for us and Alice loved it. I asked if she had another one for us, and she selected a blue one with rabbits printed on it. We paid for both slings and left the shop.

Back on the street we spotted Esme's mother, and the four of us took a taxi back to Coatepec. Alice was sitting on my lap and before we were out of Xalapa she was soundly asleep.

Alice sitting on the step she jumped off.
Alice sitting on the step she jumped off.

Back home I put Alice in our bed - she still sleeps in our bed with us. Later, when she was awake I took a photo of her sitting on the step she jumped off. While I was taking photos she was explaining how she jumped and broke her arm.

Alice, with broken arm, and Esme sitting on the stairs.
Alice, with broken arm, and Esme sitting on the stairs.

In the evening we watched with Alice some videos on YouTube. One showed a boy with two broken arms. We also watched some amazing trampoline jumping and later on Alice tried to play with her left hand an Dora the Explorer game on line.

In the night when we removed the sling shortly in order to remove her clothes, Alice got quite upset. "Es mio!" she exclaimed, "it's mine". And rightly so, she certainly had earned that sling, our brave little girl. We all felt extremely tired; we both had felt panic the first minutes after Alice had broken her arm, but somehow suppressed that feeling the rest of the day while focusing on keeping Alice happy. And now we were as exhausted as one can be.

If you want to send a "Get well soon!" card to Alice feel free to use the address below:

Alice Bokma
Gutiérrez Nájera 15
Zona Centro
Coatepec, Veracruz, México
C.P. 91500

Thank you!

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