The Story Continues: On Being a Parent Part 2

It has been one week and one day since my son had his unfortunate accident on his first day of camp.  So much has happened that it is amazing to realize that only 7 days have passed. My mother found a wonderful orthopedic surgeon. The only hitch was that Kalonji was going to have to wait two days to see him. The earliest available appointment was Wednesday at 4:30 pm, and his accident occurred on Monday at 1:15 pm.  When I heard his name, Dr. Paul Apostolo, I immediately felt better, probably because of my Christian upbringing. The apostle Paul was one of the most influential apostles, who was also known for his healing ability. I googled Dr. Apostolo, and after seeing his picture on his website, handsandjoints.com, I was even more comfortable, as he looked competent and kind. 

The two days of waiting were particularly difficult. Kalonji was very uncomfortable. His   entire forearm was in a splint. It was feeling hot, and itchy. It would also pain him intermittently. My parents were keeping him very quiet, so he was getting bored.  As a result, I was feeling tense, worried and unhappy. Of course, I kept reminding myself to relax, and think healing, positive thoughts and to affirm that all is well; but that is easier said than done. Ferron realized that I was stressing out, and when I asked him how he knew, since I made a point of not commiserating out loud, he said I kept sighing deeply all the time and having a serious, concerned look on my face.

Finally, Wednesday arrived.  I felt generally happy, but I also had mixed feelings, because up to that point, we still did not know whether or not Kalonji’s wrist was broken and whether or not he would have to be in a cast. I wanted to know, but at the same time I was afraid to know. Would his camp experience be ruined because he would have to be in a cast for several weeks or not, I pondered?

 I called my mom early on Wednesday evening to see what time she was planning to leave for the doctor’s appointment. I did not want any unforeseen circumstance to prevent him from seeing the doctor. We had been waiting for so long already. From 4:30 pm onwards, I made sure that Skype was on and that I was nearby to hear it, in case it rang. I also kept my cell phone on the loud setting, just in case.  I was on edge, and felt like I was on pins and needles.  By 5:30pm I could not take it anymore, I texted my mother to ask her how it was going.  She told me that despite my emergency health insurance card, the doctor required a down payment of US$150, before he would examine Kalonji. I ran to get my credit card and called her back immediately, but she had already written a check.

When I called her back half an hour later, she told me that Dr. Apostolo diagnosed him with a fracture of his wrist, and that he would have to be in a cast.  I felt sad, but deep down I think I knew, especially because of what Dr. Fleary had seen on the first set of x-rays. Particularly, because the place where he suspected the deformity was the exact place that Kalonji showed us he was having the pain.

Dr. Apostolo spoke to me before he treated Kalonji. He explained that the type of fracture was a mildly displaced Salter Harris 2 fracture of the distal radius. He was of the opinion that it was best to reduce it by pulling and squeezing the area that was displaced. He also felt it better not to give Kalonji an injection, because it would make him more anxious and it would not completely prevent the pain of the procedure.  

I agreed completely with him, but my heart contracted as I anticipated the pain that Kalonji was going to feel; and I, his mom would not be there to prepare him or comfort him. Unfortunately, I did not even suggest to my mother that Ibuprofen be administered before he went for his evaluation. Wow, sometimes it is so hard to be a mom and a doctor at the same time!  No wonder we are not supposed to treat our loved ones. It is difficult to think rationally and be objective where loved ones are concerned.

So after that, I went upstairs to attend to an emergency patient. A family had called me at 4:30pm with their ill toddler, but I explained to them that I would not be available until after 6pm due to a prior obligation.  I just felt that I had to be available for my mother, the specialist and my son at that time.  During the time I attended to my little patient, I could not help but think of Kalonji getting his little wrist yanked into place and a cast placed on it. The doctor told me that he would have to keep the cast on for 3 weeks, which would result in him removing it 2 days after he comes home.

Afterwards, I kept waiting and waiting to hear from my mom to find out how the procedure went and how Kalonji did.  I waited until 8pm, over 1 ½ hours later and I texted twice, no response. I called the home phone, the Skype numbers, and no answer. By that time my imagination took over, and I thought the worst. Maybe he refused to let the procedure be done; maybe he fainted… etc. etc.  The imagination is a powerful thing I realize, but maybe not as logical as we would always like it to be. In desperation, I texted my little sister, Katerina, whom I usually text when I can’t get in touch with my folks or don’t know what is going on in the family. Thank God for the younger generation, as they are always, always connected to and easily reached by technology and social media.

A few minutes later, my mom called me on Skype. She apologized that she did not get back to me afterwards, but reassured me that all went well. They were so tired and hungry after the whole ordeal that they ate Chinese food and were resting in the living room. I was able to see my son stretched out on the couch with his upper body cuddled in my mom’s arms. I was able to hear his little voice and I felt so much better.  This parenting thing is not easy, but I would not give it up for the world. 

Kalonji, age 8 in his red cast posing in his grandparents' living-room in Randallstown, Maryland

Kalonji, age 8 in his red cast posing in his grandparents' living-room in Randallstown, Maryland

Since he has gotten his arm reduced and in the cast, Kalonji is so much happier. He is pain free and able to move his elbow and fingers easily. He is back to being his active self.  Yesterday, he went back to camp. They transferred him from All Sports camp to Senior camp, which has more variety and he will be able to participate in more of the activities, such as painting, computer, playing games etc.

He had a good first day, and even made a goal playing soccer. I smiled to myself, as I imagine the kids gave him a wide berth because of his cast, making it easier for him to make a goal. I just congratulated him and told him how much I loved him, and how happy I am that he is having such a great time. I finally feel back to normal myself.