Rockin the Hot Pink Cast

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As a mom there is a first time for everything. Unfortunately last Monday that meant our first experience with a broken bone.

It started out with what was supposed to be a special three day vacation for Emma with her grandparents in San Diego.

They had all sorts of fun things planned and Emma was so excited for her “special vacation.”

We drove her down last Sunday.  She called me the next morning to say “hi” and she was on top of the world after a pancake and strawberry breakfast.  Pretty special for a Monday morning! I asked her what she was going to do that day, and she told me she wanted to go to the park and then they were going to meet friends and go swimming in the afternoon.

I thought it was weird to get another call an hour after my daughter had already called me.  But this time it was my mother-in-law  and I could tell something was wrong by the way she said “Hi Jennifer,”  I just had a sinking feeling something had happened.

It was a completely fluke fall at the park.

She was on a climbing thing and slipped and hit her elbow on the way down on one of the metal bars.

She told me she cried so hard when she moved it, she thought something might be broken. My heart started to race…

My poor inlaws, can you imagine?  They have taken her to the park hundreds of times, and are so careful with my kids. I felt badly for what they must be feeling.  It was just a total freak accident.I told them to take her to the ER to get an xray just in case.

This weekend they sent this picture so we could envision where it happened.  All I got from Emma was she was on a “snake thing.”

Site of “the Incident”…

So, I get in the car to head to SD  praying that it was a bad bruise and she was being dramatic (not an unlikely assumption.)  But for my mother-in-law to call and for them to take her to the hospital, I knew it must be pretty bad.   I tried to look on the bright side, thank God at least it was her left arm (she’s right-handed.)

The doctor called my husband from the ER with the prognosis and he conferenced me on.

Turns out she fractured her elbow and they would put it in a splint for now.  She would need a cast, but they don’t do a cast immediately because of the swelling.   We were then to follow-up with our for pediatrician to get a referral to a local orthopedic doctor who would do a cast when she got back home.

She told us the pain shouldn’t be too bad, just give her children’s ibuprofen and she should be fine.  Run of the mill, common fracture for kids her age.  She had a  “no big deal” attitude.

But to me it was a VERY big deal…my head was spinning. I have to admit, I panicked a little bit. But I tried to think good thoughts. It could have been so much worse.

By the time I got to San Diego they were already back to their house so I met them there. She was 100 times worse than expected. When she saw me she became hysterical.  Crying, screaming, MAD (I would be too!) and very upset at the fact she couldn’t use her hand or grab anything. The splint covered entire arm all the way down to her fingertips.

She was also in a lot of pain. My heart just broke.

I got her home, but the 24 hours between “the Incident” and getting in to see the orthopedic doctor were awful.  I was not prepared for her to be in this much pain! I was sort of mad that they didn’t prepare us for what she could go through pain-wise.  This was NOT “no big deal!”

She couldn’t do anything, and any movement would make her scream.  Getting her to the bathroom was a major ordeal. Horrendous. We had been giving her the children’s ibuprofen when we could, every 6 – 8 hours.

Later that night she had a terrible stomach ache and was gagging and said she was going to throw up. I called our after-hours line and spoke to a nurse (they are angels, I swear) on call to see if this much pain and stomach upset were normal.

She told me that ibuprofen on an empty stomach is very hard on the tummy.  I think she even used the word toxic.  It was time for her next dose and obviously she was in a lot of pain so I didn’t know what to do.  She said the goal was to get anything in her to coat her stomach…even if it had to be white bread, french fries, what have you.  Just anything to get her to eat so she could have the medicine to take the edge off the pain. I didn’t know it could be this hard on the tummy and that giving it after some food is important. No one had told us about this!

The night was absolutely terrible, she couldn’t sleep and we couldn’t get her comfortable. To watch my baby be in that sort of pain was really like experiencing it myself.

Luckily we got an appointment to see the cast doctor the next day at 1:30pm so we didn’t have to wait another full day to see someone.

We went in, they took new xrays and they told us it was a simple fracture (THANK GOD)…no displaced bones or anything.  She just needs a cast for 4 weeks and it should heal quickly without issue.  PHEW.   Best news possible for a crappy situation.  Again, even this new doctor said “this is no big deal” and I was thinking, um, you should have lived with us the past 24 hours!

Here she is getting her cast on…poor thing…but she forced a smile for me!

Second thing I learned…once the cast was on she was SO MUCH BETTER and the pain subsided!!!!

Getting the cast on was scary for her, but she did great considering.  It helped she had 9 colors to choose from and this hot pink number was quite interesting to see.   It hurt her when they were putting it on because they had to hold her arm in position, but once it was all set I started to see my Emma come back again.

It was really miraculous, I had NO idea the cast would make such a difference!  The doctor didn’t make any promises, but when I asked him about the PAIN, he said she should be more comfortable in the cast because it immobilizes it.

When we got home, she actually PLAYED and was in good spirits. Just to see her playing again made me feel like everything was going to be okay. 

Moms with kids that have had broken bones: is this what you experienced too??

So we are actually doing amazingly well.  One week down, only 3 more to go.   No doubt it is a pain in the neck but I have been amazed at how much she has learned she can do with it on.  It is honestly like you wouldn’t know she was wearing it most times throughout the day.

We have had to improvise on some things. We play “beauty salon” at the sink to wash her hair which she actually quite enjoyed.

See pic below {and little sis always has a front seat to all the action.  There she is in the background offering us a graham cracker…}

And afterwards, of course her BABY DOLL had to visit the beauty salon too…

She has also gotten a WHOLE lot of attention…get well gifts, and pretty much anyone who sees her out in public makes a big deal out of it.  Everyone asks “what happened to your arm??”  The other day she told me she was going to tell people, “Oh, I’m just wearing this for fun!…I’m kidding.”  I laughed so hard. My husband said she actually told someone that at the store yesterday.

The attention did bring out a little “cast diva”  attitude in her, but I figure she’s allowed every once in awhile for what she has been through.

And lots and lots of signatures with the black Sharpie!

It is a bummer preschool starts next week, but I think the kids will be intrigued to see a girl with a florescent hot pink cast.  And we most certainly will always remember her first day of preschool and the pics in the years to come!


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  1. 1
    Merri Ann says:

    Ours was a fractured leg. My daughter was about 20 months old. She tripped on a raised floor. The doctor actually called it a “toddler fracture” because it is so common.

    She didn’t seem to have much pain. Our biggest problem was when the doctor advised us to to “keep her off of it until it could be casted”. Sedantary and toddler are two words that should never be used together.

    Being new to the are I’d love to have a recommendation to a pediatrician and a preschool. I’m having trouble finding both.

    Hope she has a fun first day at preschool.

    • 2
      Jen says:

      Oh Merri Ann, I have to say that is one of the things that crossed my mind during this, what if this happened when she was younger? I can’t imagine. At least at 4yo you can reason with them and explain things, but at 2? Forget it! That must have been a nightmare, so sorry! Drop me an email at regarding the ped & preschool recs! Thanks again for the comment!

  2. 3
    Holly says:

    Oh wow, poor Emma. I can’t imagine what those few days were like when she was in all of that pain. It’s so heartbreaking as a mom to see your child in pain!! Glad to see the smile on her face though- she is a little trooper!

  3. 4
    Caryn B says:

    Jen….I started crying reading this…I can’t even imagine what you’ve all been through. I’m so glad the pain has subsided and she’s been able to play and that she’ll be able to go to preschool. I KNOW how much a broken bone hurts because I broke my arm in Europe a few years ago….worst. trip. ever.
    Hope to see you soon

  4. 5
    Jen says:

    Thanks so much for the sweet comments….it has been a lesson to ME too on just how resilient kids are! She is just fine. More than fine! It’s mom that is going to take a little more time to recover!

  5. 6
    Cameron T. says:

    So sorry! Poor thing. Let us know if you need anything. We are SO close. 🙂

  6. 7

    So sorry for all of your pain and her pain. Anyone who’s had a broken limb (I broke my wrist) understands the high level of pain.

    Sounds like you’re on the road to recovery. God bless you all.

    Be well.

  7. 8
    April says:

    I feel for you! My daughter broke her arm when she turned 1. Got a bright pink cast too! She had to have it set twice because the cast came off after the swelling went down the first time. That one was a nail biter! Kids are amazing. Not only do they recover in record time (it’s amazing how little time they have to wear the cast) but they use it to their advantage. I don’t know how many times other parents would walk up to me to recount their stories of their children’s broken limb. It made me realize that broken bones + kids happen frequently!

    • 9
      Jen says:

      I really can’t imagine this happening to a one year old! I am a little nervous about the swelling & cast fit, but we go back to the ortho ped dr. tomorrow to have it checked. Hope all is well and NO resetting necessary!

  8. 10
    Michele says:

    Being the ultimate klutz, I broke both my ankles (1st and 3rd grade) and my finger (6th grade). My poor parents! The cast really does make the pain go away. So glad she’s feeling better. I love how you call it “the incident.” And, if there is a bright side, it would be that you don’t have to teach her to use crutches!

  9. 11
    Jen says:

    BOTH ankles?!? Oh my gosh, do I feel for your parents!!! Yes, you are so RIGHT, all things considering, being her left arm, it is really not that bad. I keep thinking about how a leg would be worse. Thank goodness no crutches!

  10. 12
    carmen says:

    So sorry to hear about your little girl! At the end of March my daughter suffered a triple fracture in her left arm, just 2 wks before her 4th b-day. Unfortunately the accident was caused by an adult on the playground who bumped into my daughter and she fell almost 4 feet. She had a clean break at the growth plate and then fractured each wrist bone. The first week was awful and unbearable for me as a parent. We just couldn\’t get over the pain, and like you found that most children\’s pain meds had very adverse side affects. I recall the ortho telling me he treated 100 fractures a week in the 3-7 yr age group, mostly from playground accidents. (He is one of 7 docs in their practice, so how scary is that!?) Thankfully our daughter has recovered well (initially we were told surgery and then re-checks for the next 10 years until she stopped growing)…Anyways, my best advice to you is to be prepared that they may only recast her at 4wks. (for which you will be ultimately grateful)And then once the cast comes off it may take another few weeks for her to regain full range of motion and her arm may still appear swollen and/or bruised. I would expect your little cast diva to act like she has a pretend cast on for a few days once it\’s finally off. Through play, encourage her to reach for things and swimming would be good for her too. In the end we were 8 wks casted, about 3 wks for full range of motion, and received a clean bill of health mid July, but even today her elbow is still bruised at the point of the break. So, hang in there, take a gazillion deep breaths at every stage, and with each one smile at the sheer resilience Emma has shown and will continue to show thru all of this! Best wishes. -cc

    • 13
      Jen says:

      Carmen, thanks so much for taking the time to write, this was extremely helpful. I am SOOOOOO sorry for all you went through with your little one. As a mom, it is excruitiating to watch them go through this.
      Important thing I just learned from you – don’t expect 4 weeks as a FOR SURE thing. I will take each appt as it comes. Tomorrow we go again to check the fit of the cast. Thanks for all your invaluable info!

  11. 14
    Laura Debo says:

    Awww broken wing!!! I had tears in my eyes the whole time I read this! None of my three have had a break, but I did when I was young. So, I know the pain, and as a mother I felt what you must have been feeling for her!!!
    My break was considered a “greenstick” fracture….and my parents were told it would heal with only the splint. Two weeks later when x-rays were taken…it was healing in a broken position!!!! So, the only option was for the doctor to “re-break” the arm and then set it in a cast! OUCH!!! The doctor (with his hands) actually cracked my arm!!! My dad said he didnt know how he was able to handle that, and my mom had to leave the room! (I had no idea it was coming) Although, I believe they would do it much differently these days, I sure will never forget that!!!
    On the plus side, after all of that… I healed perfectly in 6wks and still never felt a thing in that area!!!
    Hope she is better soon!

  12. 15

    When my son broke his leg, we took him to an urgent care, rather than CHOC, because we were kind of far away. BIG MISTAKE. We really didn\’t think it was broken, otherwise we would have gone straight to the hospital. Anyway, I asked if I could give him anything for pain, and they said that he probably wouldn\’t be in any pain.

    They were wrong! He slept in our bed that night and was so miserable all night. We gave him Tylenol, but it didn\’t seem to do much for the pain. We went to CHOC the next morning and they were shocked that the doctors hadn\’t given him anything. They gave him Tylenol with codeine and that helped a lot.

    Once the cast on (as I\’ve already said a million times!) he was just fine and walking on his broken leg within days.

    She\’ll be good as new soon, but prepare for the stink when they remove the cast!

  13. 16
    Jen says:

    Thanks for all the info…OK, so we are set to have the cast removed on 9/27…tell me about “the stink”…does it hurt??? Want to be prepared!!! Thanks!

  14. 17

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