I write letters to Ellen DeGeneres. No particular reason. Just because I can.
This isn’t related to baby girl’s scoliosis. But it is related to her ongoing pediatric orthopedic care. That’s why you’re reading this under the scoliosis series blog posts.
Saturday night, baby girl was in the bathroom with me. She tripped on the edge of the bathroom rug and fell. No big deal. Or, at least that’s what I thought at the time. She cried more than usual but it was also her bedtime and she tends to be a little over-dramatic about everything near her bedtime.
I brought her downstairs to give her a bedtime bottle and set her on the floor by the coffee table. That’s when I saw she was favoring her left foot, holding it up off the floor.
“Honey,” I said to my husband who was watching television on the sofa. “Take a look at the baby. She fell in the bathroom and I think she did something to her foot.”
The baby set her foot down and started walking right when my husband looked over.
“She looks okay to me,” he said.
Then the baby started to cry. My husband looked over at her again. This time her saw her favoring her left foot but she also put it down and started walking on it again.
“If she’s walking on it, she’s fine. She’s probaby just tired,” he said.
My husband took my son to the doctor’s office. The poor guy had a bug bite on his back that got infected. I hemmed and hawed over taking the baby to the doctor’s office also. She seemed fine. She was walking around but a little fussy. I decided to go ahead and put her shoes on. She screamed bloody murder when I tried to put her shoe on her left foot. The plot twist here is that we just bought her a new pair of shoes the day before and I’ve heard lots of parents talk about how their kids would throw fits and fuss with every new pair of shoes. So at this point, I wasn’t sure if the foot was the problem or if it was the shoe. I decided to wait one more day.
When she woke up from her nap, she was totally fine. She was marching through the house, barking orders at the cats, stealing toys from her brother and sister. Everything was normal.
I was getting the kids ready to take my son outside to the bus stop. I tried to put the baby’s shoes on. She screamed bloody murder when I tried to put her shoe on her left foot.
Enough was enough. I called the doctor and made an appointment for her that afternoon.
While we were waiting for him to look at her, she walked around the room and smiled. I played music from my cell phone and watched as she danced in circles. At that point, I figured the kid was screwing with my head. Clearly if she’s dancing in circles, there isn’t a problem with her foot. Right?
The doctor came in and examined her. He flexed her foot back and forth. He pushed, poked and prodded. She giggled.
He looked up at me.
“You think I’m crazy,” I said.
“No. Actually, I think we should order an x-ray.”
“Really?” He saw her dancing in circles. I assumed he’d think I overreacted by bringing her in. The x-ray suggestion caught me off guard. It also made me feel validated.
“So the thing with kids her age is,” he began, “they are masterminds at hiding injuries. I’ve seen kids who practically run marathons with broken bones in their feet. And sometimes the broken bones won’t even show up on an x-ray until 48 hours after the injury occurred. The only way we can know for sure what’s going on is if we get an x-ray. I’ll put the order through and you can either take her now or tomorrow morning.”
It was dangerously close to when my son’s bus was going to arrive at the house, I opted to take her Tuesday morning.
I put my son on the bus. Dropped the five-year-old off at preschool. Took packages to UPS. Got x-rays. The radiology office was a separate location from the pediatrician’s office. It was one of those situations where the doctor would have to call me later in the day to tell me the results of the x-rays. I figured she had a sprain or a nasty bruise and that he’d tell me to expect her to be fussy for a few days, but that she was otherwise fine. We went to the store to grab a few things and then came home and waited for his phone call.
Sometime around 2 pm, the doctor called. “The baby has a broken bone at the base of her big toe.”
What I heard him say: “The baby has a broken toe.”
“I contacted a buddy of mine who’s a pediatric orthopedist and he said that kids her age need to be put in a cast,” the doctor said.
“I’m going to call over to the radiology office and have them put her x-rays on a CD for you. You’ll need to pick that up before you take her to the walk-in clinic downtown and get her set up.”
The dilemma here was that it was after 2:30 pm. My son had an afterschool club he goes to that lasts until 5 pm. Under the circumstances, I seriously doubted I was going to make it back in time to pick him up. My husband is in the Navy and works in a bat cave. There is a bat line that families can use for situations just like this. I’d love to tell you that I called it, he came home and I took the baby for her cast. That would’ve been great. But, since we’ve been back in Georgia, he’s never remembered to give me the phone number. I sent him an email because sometimes, he’s allowed to check email while in the bat cave.
No such luck.
At 3 pm, I loaded both the girls up into the car and ran over to my son’s school to pick him up. Then I hustled all three kids over to the radiology office and picked up the x-rays. While walking down the hallway that led to the radiology office, my 7-year-old and 5-year-old stopped every person they saw and told them the baby had a broken toe. It was cute but I wasn’t in the mood to receive expressions of sympathy from total strangers who then wanted to know how that happened. I was trying to beat the after-school rush to this clinic and at this time of day, traffic was going to be a challenge.
The Walk-In Clinic
“How can I help you?’
“My baby has a broken toe and needs a cast,” I said.
“How old is she?”
“Just shy of two.”
“We only cast kids who are 8 and above and we never cast a broken toe.”
“Her pediatrician called a pediatric orthopedist who told him that kids her age always need a cast for this injury and that this office would do it.”
“Let me check with the doctor.” The receptionist left her desk and returned a few minutes later. “He’ll examine her and look at her x-rays but ultimately it’s his decision if she gets a cast.”
“Well, I looked at the x-rays,” the doctor said, taking a seat on the spinning stool. The spinning stool was a great source of stress to me while we waited for the doctor. My kids were fighting over who got to spin in it and I had visions of future broken bones running through my head. I told them that if they wanted to spin on the stool, they had to go to school and get a medical degree first.
“So the baby doesn’t have a broken toe. She has a broken bone in her foot near her toe. And that type of injury does receive a cast. We’ll do a half-cast today and then in one week, you’ll need to follow up with a pediatric orthopedist at the hospital.”
For the record, Ellen, I have no idea what a half-cast is. The baby was getting treatment; that’s all I cared about.
She was a very good sport while they placed the cast on her foot. It also probably helped that I had her watching a movie on the iPad.
“Who’s treating her for her scoliosis,” the technician who was placing the cast asked me?
“We see a doctor in Atlanta.”
“Why are you driving all the way out there?”
“Because the hospital doesn’t have a pediatric orthopedic surgeon.”
“Yes they do,” she said. “They have two of them.”
“Are they new hires?”
“No. They’ve each been there for over 15 years.”
“They told me last fall that the baby had to go to Atlanta because her surgeon left.” In case you don’t remember, Ellen, I wrote all about that conversation here.
“That was probably the new surgeon. But the other two are still there.”
“And they are able to put a scoliosis cast on baby this small?”
“Oh yeah. They do it every day.”
As it just so happens, Ellen, the doctor I’m taking the baby to next week is also the doctor who referred us to Atlanta. In addition to asking him questions about her injury, I’m going to have at least one more. Like, WHY THE FUCK AM I DRIVING THREE HOURS, ONE WAY, FOR HER SCOLIOSIS TREATMENTS WHEN I LIVE TWENTY MINUTES FROM TWO QUALIFIED SURGEONS?????? Except when I ask, I’ll probably take things down a notch, use appropriate, non-hostile language.
Back at Home
My husband returned home while I was still at the clinic. That’s when he got the email I sent him and called me. He ordered a pizza for dinner while I was driving home with the kids.
During dinner he asked, “So when do you think this happened?”
“When she fell in the bathroom Saturday night.”
“Didn’t you notice something was wrong?”
I love my husband, Ellen. I really do. And I’m not just saying that because his parents read my blogs.
As you can see from the pictures below, Ellen, Baby Girl is being a trooper.
Thanks for shopping Snark, Sass, & Sarcasm! I’ll see you next time.