Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Groundhog day anyone?


We were just starting to pack for our trip to Maui, when Isabelle tried to do a "cartwheel" while we cleaned up breakfast, and instantly rebroke both bones in her poor arm.  We rushed her to the ER again, but this time it felt even scarier as she stopped screaming in the car and was white as a ghost- I was worried she would pass out.  The xrays were seriously shocking as her bones were broken so much more severely than her previous break.  The doctors were clear she needed to have "reduction" surgery where they manually manipulate the bones back into alignment, and rushed us over to Seattle Children's hospital for that immediately. 

Words cannot truly describe how emotional it was to see Isabelle hooked up to an IV, surrounded by doctors and nurses as they gave her anesthesia.  They told us it was a "horse tranquilizer" that causes "amnesia," can cause them to sleep with their eyes open, and to awaken with scary visual hallucinations, like "floating eyeballs."  The orthopedic doctor who performed the surgery admitted that it was a difficult reduction to perform, as her bones were still a bit curved from her previous break, making alignment quite difficult to achieve.  We spent a scary hour waiting to hear about her surgery, and were finally allowed back into her room where it took her another couple of hours to wake up fully, and even longer to begin speaking.    Luckily, she didn't experience any scary hallucinations, and seemed to remember most of what happened to her that day.  We had a very long day that started at breakfast with her break, finally getting back home at bedtime.  Isabelle was amazingly brave throughout this ordeal (more so than I for sure).
Waiting for her to wake up

After waking up from anesthesia and happy to see her animals  

Stories to distract her

New pink cast version 2
Isabelle's arm recovery though, has continued to be difficult.  This time around, it was much harder on her emotionally to cope with all the restrictions, after having just spent a whole summer restricted.  And the swelling and pain her arm was much more severe-so they didn't tighten up her cast for a whole week after the break.  Unfortunately, when we went in 6 days after casting for recheck, her cast had gotten too loose again and her alignment they achieved from the surgery was partially lost.  Dr. Steinman (her current orthopedic doctor) immediately removed her cast and put a new one on really tight- by pushing hard on poor Isabelle's arm before it hardened.  This was pretty painful again for her.  Unfortunately, as the bones had already begun to heal, she could not have another reduction surgery to align them.  We've been told that over time her bones will remodel as she grows and straighten back out.  But the last xray still showed them both looking very bent.  So it's hard not to worry about how this will affect her dominant arm as she grows.  The doctor predicted a year for her bones to remodel and the restriction in her motion to diminish.

Isabelle posing with all her "broken arm" stuffed animals- you'll notice several of them have broken arms too
All the stuffed animals she's received from the hospitals

We've been told she will have a more substantial brace with a hinge going over her elbow to protect her arm better when the cast is removed.  And that she is restricted from active activities where she could fall (i.e. gymnastics, skiing, biking, etc) for 3 full months.    We go back in 10/9 to see if her cast is ready to come off.

After the shock of her break, we scrambled to reschedule our trip to Maui and amazingly were able to find friends to rent our condo from us, and submitted letters everywhere else for refunds.  That week was so stressful as our cat Uintah was also rapidly declining in health, and I feared we'd need to put him down any day.   Luckily, he's doing much better now with twice-weekly fluids to keep his kidneys working and has begun to regain some weight.