I need to recognise the bravery of my oldest daughter, Matilda, who fell from playground equipment after school on Friday afternoon and sustained fractures to both bones in her left forearm.
As I’ve shared in past posts, Matilda is hyper-sensitive to touch and has been known to become overwhelmed when injured in the slightest possible way.
So you can imagine my apprehension when she fell from the spring-loaded see-saw at the park and emerged with a completely floppy arm.
Obviously in pain and shock, she retreated into herself and her first words upon landing and grabbing her arm were “this is not happening, this is just a dream.”
Unfortunately, for all of us, it was all too real.
After the first wave of shock and revulsion (there isn’t anything good about seeing your child’s arm sitting at an unnatural angle, with no support), I somehow calmed myself down so I could calm her.
I guided her out of the see-saw (she had fallen in between the seat and the springs) and somehow ushered her and Delilah to the car. Meanwhile, Gilbert who had elected to stay in the car as he was uninterested in playing at the park, was none-too-pleased to hear about our upcoming detour to the hospital.
It was a car ride I do not wish to remember or relive ever again.
Throughout it all, Matilda held it together. She was scared, in shock and in a significant amount of pain, but she did not meltdown or fall into hysterics. I think it helped that for most of it, she retreated into her own world where everything that was actually happening to her, seemed to be a bad dream.
As we drove to the hospital, I talked to her about what may happen there (in between dealing with Delilah’s endless questions and Gilbert’s never-ending complaints) which seemed to penetrate her haze and help prepare her for what was to come.
It also helped that triage ushered us straight through to the ED paediatric ward as soon as we arrived.
There is something about the sight of an small person’s arm, floppy and at an unnatural angle, that somehow jolts people into action…
After a brief examination and x-ray, it was discovered she had broken both bones in her forearm and it was decided she would require surgery due to the degree of damage. Unfortunately this was an outcome I had not anticipated or prepared her for.
Regardless, she was brave and resolute. While she was clearly scared and shaken, she cooperated with hospital staff and even let them touch and stabilise her arm, after liberal doses of pain relief took effect.
After a restless and uncomfortable night, her anxiety levels rose and she really did not want to go through with the scheduled surgery. She was deathly scared of what was to come, as I suspect most 10-year-olds would be.
But my girl was stronger and braver than I had ever given her credit for. She managed to face her fears and let the anaesthetist do his work, despite her very real misgivings.
Afterwards, she even coped with the news that the surgeon did indeed need to perform an open reduction to re-set her arm, although she had been hoping (as had I) for a closed reduction instead.
While she is pretty much already over the cast and the frustration of having to do everything with only one arm, she has remained strong and brave throughout this whole process.
I am so proud of her courage and determination in the face of a pretty terrible situation. Right now I could not be more proud of anyone or anything.