As the mother of two sporting sons, I steel myself to deal with my share of bumps and bruises. But I have to say, up to now I've been verrrry fortunate that the injuries have mostly fallen in the "minor" category as they've grown up, with no broken bones or traumatic events occurring over the years. (Pausing to tap on wood and offer up a silent "thank you" to the Patron Saint of Active Boys...whoever that might be...) That being said, last night we had a scary incident involving Riley...and a pack of rowdy adolescent boys known as "his teammates".
You see, we were attending the first Team Meeting called by his new coach, to get acquainted with the man who'd be leading our players for the next year, learn about his philosophies and policies, hear important information regarding the season, blah blah blah. After he'd finished addressing the points that related directly to the kids, he released them to run amok on the adjacent field in whatever sort of chaotic pick-up game they could devise to amuse themselves while he continued chatting with the parents.
It was as the gathering was just breaking up and I was walking over to retrieve Riley that I noticed him...on the ground...sobbing. Uh...oh. That in itself was troubling enough, since this is a kid who rarely sheds a tear, and tends toward stoicism when suffering any kind of pain. He managed to gasp that he'd fallen while trying to take the ball from a friend, catching his ankle underneath his body and twisting it as he went down. (Owwwwww...) One of the other parents, I quickly found out, is a physician of some kind, so he hustled over to do an impromptu on-site examination of the ankle and shin. The immediate, obvious good news was that there was no bone sticking out...nothing misshapen...and no blood. All positive things, right?
But as he gently probed the area and directed questions to Riley questions about where it hurt, he looked up and me and apologetically murmured, "He's gonna need a picture, to make sure it's not broken. It could just be a high ankle sprain, but you won't know for sure until it's x-rayed." Ay yi yi. Meanwhile, Riley had not stopped crying, and seemed to be in the same amount of agony he'd been in since it happened. So it was decided that Urgent Care was our next logical step, (or, you know, "hobble"...sorry, I'm still a little stressed, can you tell?) and UNC happens to have one a couple of minutes away (open until 8). With the assistance of several of his taller teammates, we managed to carry/drag Riley to the car...where he collapsed in a heap, grimacing and sniffling.
I then drove my sweaty, grass-and-dirt-covered child to the clinic, where we arrived in the nick of time, at 7:45. The very kind staff took excellent care of him--offering a wheelchair, water, and acetaminophen to try and take the edge off, before whisking him off to the imaging room. The doctor then came in to share the results, and his opinion agreed with initial diagnosis of a sprain. He fitted Riley with a space-age-looking pneumatic boot that fits snugly almost up to the knee, and can be pumped up with air to provide support and compression. He further recommended that we follow-up with an orthopedist (conveniently, there was one right next door) in a couple of days, to make sure everything was moving in the right direction, healing-wise. With Riley having calmed down by now, and saying he already felt somewhat more comfortable in the extra-special footwear, we took a deep breath and headed home to update the rest of Team WestEnders on the evening's...excitement.
As we were driving, however, I apparently missed a call from our doctor, who left a voicemail indicating he wanted to share something additional about the x-ray. Hmmm...this was worrisome (as if I weren't already spazzed and frazzled enough) but it was now well past after-hours, and no one answered when I attempted to return the call, so I was forced to postpone the discussion until the morning. In the meantime, Riley ate a long-overdue dinner, settled in as much as possible, and got ready for (hopefully) a good night of sleep.
So, today a couple of things happened right away: I contacted the clinic again and inquired about the "new details", and the orthopedic practice reached out to me, having received the referral the Urgent Care doc had already sent over. Regarding the first part, it turned out that the M.D. had changed his mind...and was now calling the injury a "non-dislocated fracture". YIKES. Yes, I realize that means the parts of the bone haven't separated, which is obviously preferable...but my brain also immediately translated the last part to "broken". Well, whoop de doo, Riley--congratulations on being the very first member of our family to incur a broken bone (with the exception of my baby toe a few years ago, which I mostly ignored anyway, so it doesn't reaaaalllly count)! Um...you....win?
Yet...the orthopedic receptionist (I'm guessing) tried to briskly relay that they'd already set up an appointment for--get this--NEXT WEDNESDAY. I'm sorry...WHAT? Did you hear the part about the "fracture" and the "12-year old boy", and can you possibly imagine all the many, many things that could go wrong between now and then to make this situation infinitely WORSE? She stuck to the party line, which evidently was "the doctors and nurses think that's appropriate". Riiiighhht. Somehow I find that impossible to believe--or else they don't have all the facts at hand. In either case, we're on our way, like, NOW, for your walk-in hours, thankyouverymuchseeyousoon.
So once more I assisted Riley in hopping to the car, and we headed out on the familiar route to Orthopedia Land. Incidentally, he was feeling a bit better and the pain had lessened a little...but we still wanted this sucker treated sooner rather than later, to allow the getting-well to begin. We saw a very nice Physician's Assistant who scrutinized and manipulated the leg once more, pronounced it an even more specific "non dislocated fracture to the distal end of the tibia" (Hey, I've never heard those words in Real Life...only on episodes of Bones). Then she made the expected-but-dreaded proclamation: "I'll send someone in to cast you now." Siiiiighhhhhhh.
I didn't catch the guy's name who did the actual application of the cool purple casing, but he was awesome. Riley nervously asked, "Is this gonna hurt?" To which he cheerfully he replied, "Nah, I won't feel a thing!" Even Riley thought that was pretty funny, which is saying something, given his anxious state. Fortunately, Mr. Hilarious kept up the distracting banter as he was pressing Riley's foot back into a normal position in order to wrap it properly--a process that appeared utterly excruciating based on Riley's facial expressions. When it was all over, though, Riley declared that the cast actually seemed to help...which is lovely, since he'll be wearing it for 6-8 weeks. That's right, school ends next week, and there'll be no pool, no beach....no running around...no playing, really...until sometime in July. Oh, and our vacation to Seattle just got waaaay more...challenging, yeah?
But, you know, it could've been MUCH worse. And Riley took all of it soooo well; I think honestly I was more upset FOR him than he was. Besides, we stopped and picked up a sympathy Slushy on the way home, which never fails to improve matters. So yeah, here goes Day 1 of Operation Tibia Rehab (aka "lots of sitting around")...and, let the countdown begin...