A Broken Arm

by Chelsea Howard (2000)

A Broken Arm It all started at the Y, during my brother's football game. It was the last game of the season, and my mom, dad, Papa and Uncle Marc were watching the game. I preferred to play on the playground with my friend, Emily.

I was on the top of the jungle gym, near the slide. I was up on the slide, and began to fall backward. I knew I was falling, but I thought I'd be able to catch myself. Then, I fell into a little, steep hole, and my wrist hit on the side of the hole. I looked at my arm, and my wrist bone was popped up. I asked my friend to go get my parents. While I waited for them to come, I started walking slowing through the field to where they were. I was holding my arm carefully, because it hurt so bad. I was crying pretty hard. My parents saw that I was hurt badly, and ran to me.

They also noticed how my wrist bone was popped up, and decided to leave the game and rush me to a doctor. Papa and Uncle Marc stayed at the game so Josh could finish playing, while my mom and dad drove me to the nearest clinic. There were a couple of railroad tracks on the way, and when we went over them, it felt like my bone was sliding back and forth through my arm.

When we got to the clinic, they told us to go to the emergency room at the big hospital, Orange Park Medical Center, on Kingsley Avenue. They said the break was too bad for them to fix. Before we left there, though, the nurses gave me a lollipop and a towel to wrap my arm in. I said thank you, and tried not to cry. I don't like to cry in front of people, unless I'm related to them.

When we got to the emergency room at the big hospital, my dad carried me in the door. He went straight to the check-in desk and showed the lady my arm. She told him to bring me back with her right away, ahead of all the people who were already there, waiting. So, he carried me through the waiting room door, down a hallway, and into a tiny room with a table-bed, and laid me on it. Some nurses checked my pulse and asked us some questions. One nurse typed our answers into the computer there. Another nurse made me throw away my lollipop because they might have to do surgery on my arm. I started getting really scared about my arm. Mostly, I was scared I'd have to get shots or surgery. My mom stood beside me the whole time to try to make me comfortable.

My Papa came to the hospital with my brother when the football game was over. He wanted to see if I was alright. After visiting for while, he decided it was time for him to go home. My dad also decided to go home, so my brother wouldn't have to stay at the hospital a long time and get bored and get into things. So my mom stayed there with me.

After the nurses got all the information they needed, they moved me into another room. While I was in this room, different people kept coming in to do tests and stuff. A really nice doctor came in. He had the Tazmanian Devil on his tie. He hooked me up to a lot of cords. He gave me some medicine to help my arm not hurt so much, and it made me sleepy. He said that he needed to call a special doctor to come to the hospital and fix my arm, since it was broken so bad.

One guy came to take me to get x-rays. He was really nice. He had to unhook all the cords that were attached to me, then he wheeled my bed out of that room, now the hall, and into the x-ray room. Then, he put a really heavy safety vest on me, and one on my mom, too. Then, he put a flat, book-looking thing under my broken wrist. But it wouldn't stay in the right position, so he used foam shapes to hold my arm in place. Sometimes, he had to twist my arm in a way that hurt really bad. When he got my arm and the camera set up just the way he wanted it, he would go into a little room and push the buttons to take the x-ray pictures. He could see me through a big window. My mom told me he couldn't stay in there with us because he'd be getting x-rays all day long, since that's what he does all day long. And a body would get sick from that. He told us about his daughters and baby boy. He said one of his daughters was very careful and too scared to try a lot of things. But the other daughter was very adventurous and was not scared enough to try things. He said that daughter would most likely fall from the top of a jungle gym sometime in her life. When he was finished, he wheeled my bed back to my room, and hung the x-rays on a light board on the wall. Then he went away.

Soon after, the special doctor came in and said hello, and looked at my x-rays. He said I needed very strong medicine so I couldn't feel anything while he set my bones back in place. So, a nurse came in and gave me some more medicine, and we waited a few minutes for it to work. The doctor poked at my broken wrist a few times and asked if I could feel it. After a few minutes, it didn't bother me for him to touch it. I couldn't see well, and I started thinking I was at my Grandma Betty's house. My mom was getting very nervous, because the medicine was making me too weird. She says I was moving around in my bed really slow, my eyes were kind of rolling around. Right about then, the doctor held my wrist, turned it a little, and pushed the bones back into the position they belonged in. I don't remember this at all, but my mom says I instantly started crying really hard and leaned forward to her and tried to climb out of the bed. The doctor told her that the medicine causes amnesia, which means you can't remember. And that's true, because I don't remember that part at all.

Right after that, he and a nurse put a wide cotton strip on the top of my arm, and another one on the bottom, and then wrapped wet material around and around my wrist and arm. Then, he gently squeezed it while it got hard and dry. After a while, the medicine wore off and I was almost myself again. But my arm hurt. He gave me an ice pack, and that helped a lot. Pretty soon, it was time to go home. My mom called my dad and brother to come back to the hospital to pick us up. We waited for them outside the emergency room door. I was miserable. My arm hurt so bad, and it was cold. It seemed like we had to wait for a long time, and people who walked by could see me crying. My mom just hugged me the whole time.

After they picked us up, we went straight home. My mom gave me some Junior Motrin, and it helped a lot. My dad went back out and bought the medicine the doctor had wrote a prescription for. But when I tried it, it tasted so nasty I never touched it again. Besides, the Junior Motrin and ice pack worked well enough.

My cast was pink, and it was called a 'soft cast', or a 'pre-cast.' I had to have this kind in the beginning so there would be room for swelling.

A couple days later, my Granny came over and brought me two Halloween books and a Super Jumbo coloring book. She also brought fried chicken strips for me, my brother, my mom and herself. I had orange juice with mine.

A week and a half later, I had to go back to the doctor's office so he could put on a real cast. He took off the soft one with big scissors. He asked me which color I wanted for my new cast, and I picked green. He also asked me if I wanted teal, or green, but I still picked green. First, he put on some rubber gloves. Then, he put some sock material on my arm. Then he wrapped white gauze around my arm. Then he dipped the green cast gauze in a pan of water, and started wrapping it around my arm. After he got all around my wrist, thumb, arm and elbow, he started squeezing the cracks together and getting it all smooth. His gloves were sticking to the cast, because it was sticky while it was drying. And some green water was dripping on the floor and on my pants. The cast seemed pretty heavy. Then, it dried and we went home.

This all happened over Christmas vacation. The first person to sign my cast was my dearest mommy. She signed 'Big Mama' with a gold paint pen. The next person was my brother – he signed 'Joshy Bo Jangle' with a gold paint pen. Then my dad signed, well, 'Dad' with a white paint pen.

When school started, every girl in my class signed it, including my teacher, Mrs. Howell. In class, I needed help writing, so my friends helped. They would write my answers for me when they finished theirs. I typed my homework on the computer. I had a great time picking fancy fonts for my spelling words. It was kind of like cheating, because the computer lets you know when you've misspelled a word by putting a red zigzag line under it. But my teacher didn't mind. By doing my homework this way, I learned how to take my work from one computer to another on a "Floppy A" disk to print it. This is because I usually did my spelling work on our laptop, since my mom was always doing her work on the big computer the printer was hooked up to. I had to hand write my math worksheets. The writing was left-handed, and looked pretty funny. I guess you could call it "Sloppy A," instead of "Floppy A."

A month and a half a week later, I went back to the doctor to get my cast off. He cut the cast off with an electric saw. I was scared at first, but he put the saw blade on his own hand to show me that it would not cut skin. He cut down one side of the cast, and then the other side, and then pried it apart with some inside-out pliers. He threw the pieces in the trash. Although it didn't hurt to get the cast cut off, it sure did smell. I guess my arm was rotten from not getting washed for a month and a half. I couldn't wait to wash it. I asked my mom if I could wash it there, but she said no. She made me wait till I got home to take a bath.

The doctor gave me a blue and black splint to keep my wrist in for another two weeks. He said my arm wouldn't be completely back to normal for about a year. When we left the doctor's office, my arm started hurting again really bad. My brother gave me a big fluffy jacket to lay it on.

As soon as we got home, my mom made me a huge bubble bath. I didn't want to sit in the same water as my rotten arm, but she explained that was the best way to soak my arm, and that I could take a shower after. I used my snow-man soap that I got for Christmas from the leader of the club I'm in at school, the Squirtle Squad Story Club, which me and my friends made up. The soap smells like a granny smith apple, and has a water globe inside of it. I scrubbed my arm with it 10 or 20 or 1,000 times, till my arm smelled good. And my mom gave me a scrubby sponge to gently scrub off the dead skin. Then I took a long, soapy shower, and I'm not a rotten egg any more.

I guess you could call me my brother's sister. He has an upside-down 'V' from stitches on his forehead, and one of my wrist bones now looks like an upside-down 'V' where the end of it cracked in half.

To Be Continued…