A Broken Child Unnoticed
How can a mom not know her daughter broke her arm?
Two boys, and the girl is the first in a cast? Go figure.
Picture this. We're sitting in the the urgent care center at the Kaiser Facility in Towson. The doctor asked, "What happened?" Fair question.
My answer? "Would you believe me if I said I have no idea?"
Doctor: "Believe it or not, it happens all the time." Enter sigh of relief. I was pretty much expecting for Child Protective Services to show up right then and there. Seriously, how does your 2-year-old break her arm and no one notices?
Of course we all know that hind sight is 20/20, so here's what we can piece together: On Wednesdays I work in Annapolis, so my friend and fellow Mom watches my kids. She didn't mention any tragic events so I didn't really think to look for anything abnormal. As I'm putting on Madison's pajamas, she winces out in pain. Granted, they were tight fitting pjs, so I just assumed I had caught her finger or something. As soon as the arm was through the sleeve, she stopped.
Bedtime went off without a hitch. The next morning, I was putting on her fleece, and she did it again, winced out in pain. This time I thought I'd just check. Maybe she had a bruise or something.
When I looked closely at her arm, I noticed a small bump. So I felt it. Um, that's not a bruise. That's a bone. I guess were going to the doctor.
At this point, I'm still calm. She's doesn't seem to be in any pain. I drop my middle child off with a friend and head up to Towson.
The doctor does a full examination of Madison's arm and she doesn't even flinch. She notices the bump, but figures it must be something else. A break would cause far more discomfort, so one would think. "Let's do an x-ray just to make sure."
Off we go to radiology. Madison isn't one to be forced to do anything, so of course, holding her arm under a big scary machine didn't exactly go over well. But it was over in a few seconds and we were back in the doctor's office.
A few minutes later the doc comes in and literally says, "You got yourself a trooper because that arm is broken."
In a way I expected it, but I still wasn't prepared. How in the world did my 2-year-old little girl break her arm?
While we're waiting for the doctor to get the casting stuff, I texted the babysitter.
"Did Madison fall yesterday? She seems to have a broken arm." In hind sight, I probably just freaked her out, but in the facility I couldn't call her. I could only text.
Her response, "actually she did fall, but only cried for a couple minutes and then acted completely normal. I didn't think anything of it." Yep, I totally freaked her out. I spent the next few texts trying to explain that it wasn't her fault and that I wasn't at all mad. (Oh and that I would have called, but I can only text in the doctor's office).
Even as they were applying the lime green cast, Madison still just looked completely unscathed. In fact, she was more intrigued than anything. I couldn't help but be proud. Yes, I was still struggling with feeling like a horrible mother who allowed a broken arm to go unnoticed for nearly 18 hours, but still...I was definitely proud.
I looked right into my daughters eyes and said, "think of it this way honey, at least childbirth will be a breeze."
In the days after, I had Mom after Mom come to me and say that the same thing had happened to them. Though it made me feel a little better, I couldn't shake the guilt. I guess that comes naturally. Aren't we always questioning our abilities as Supermoms?
Lesson learned: Just because they act okay doesn't mean they're actually okay.