Monday, April 27, 2009

We're Gonna Get Our Own Wing If This Keeps Up

We spent last night in the ER.


This time, for Patrick.

At least that was a first.

It started because he was playing at a friend's house, down the street. Teddy is another Kindergardener, with an older sister, Nell, who is in third grade. The kids like to play with them from time to time, particularly Nell. Teddy, while he is Patrick's age, has fairly serious autism, and used to act out pretty aggresively, hitting the kids with sticks he would find in the yard if he got upset. However, K has done him good, and his social skills have improved to the point where Patrick, who is used to adjusting his expectations of playmates due to his cousin, has been increasingly willing to play with him again. So, yesterday was a welcome surprise, both because Patrick was having enough fun that he wanted to stay for dinner, and because Teddy was doing well enough that Patrick wanted to.

An hour later, we heard wailing in the street, and Teddy's mother was walking Patrick, who was clutching his arm, up the street. After about a half hour of debate, we all packed up and went to the ER.

Once we got there, I was encouraged by how empty the waiting room seemed, and how quickly we got through check-in. Then, we were transferred to Minor Care, down the hall.

Their waiting room was PACKED. When I gave the nurse the paperwork, she barely even looked at me, and when I asked if she could estimate about how long the wait would be, she told me Three. Hours. I repeated this to myself, and said, 'he's six, and I think he has a broken arm, and he'll have to wait three hours.' I wasn't complaining; I was more shocked than anything. I know from experience that the waiting rooms are slow, but he was so little, and his little face was swollen from crying, and I just couldn't believe it. The nurse said, 'Sorry, that's how it is.' Nice.

I went back out, and Patrick climbed onto my lap and, thankfully, dozed off. We waited an hour, and an Xray tech came out to collect us and another man. He barely looked at us, and walked so quickly that Patrick had to almost run to keep up with him. When we got into the Xray room, he was pretty brisque - I think he thought that there really wasn't much wrong, since Patrick had stopped crying long ago, and was just quietly holding his arm, waiting, when the tech arrived. I finally stepped in when the guy started raising his voice in response to Patrick crying and saying that he couldn't hold his hand that way, he just couldn't, it hurt too much. 'He's only SIX', I hissed quietly, and the guy backed off a little, and let me hold Pat's arm for him rather than him sitting there crying on his own, with all this huge machinery around him, being so small and hurt.

When the tech came back from reviewing the films, he was MUCH nicer, and while I was relieved about that, I knew that it probably meant that he had seen something Not Good. I was right - he pulled me aside in the hallway, after we had returned to the waiting area, and told me that he had moved us up on the schedule because Patrick had broken both bones in his right wrist.

An hour later (we had been there for almost two hours at this point), we were moved into a triage room. Where we waited.

And waited.

And waited.

An hour later, a resident came in and said that a nurse would be in soon to make a temporary cast, and give Patrick a shot of morphine. He had been permitted no pain medication this entire time, for some reason. The resident began asking him if the scratches on his head hurt, whether he had a headache, if his ribs or stomach hurt (the whole time, all I could think was, um, if he'd had a head injury, or you thought that there was a possibility of one, why are we HERE in MINOR CARE, waiting hours upon hours?!?!). Then she told him about the pending shot, and All Hell Broke Loose. He started crying again, got all worked up, and when the nurse finally did come, half an hour later, with the huge syringe, he had a full-blown panic attack. He flailed, and screamed, which made his pain and exhaustion even worse, and his pupils dialated to dishplates.

Here, I have to tell you, is the only funny thing that happened all night. He began in all earnestness to tell everyone in the room, VERY loudly, that 'that needle is TOO SHARP and I can't possibly sleep like this, and I am NEVER COMING HERE AGAIN'. Like it was a bad restaurant or something!!! I agreed wholeheartedly.

We finally left the ER at 11pm, with a temporary cast and a script for tylenol with codeine that I couldn't fill because it was too late. They said the shot would wear off during the night, but they wouldn't give us anything to take home. Luckily, he's a HUGE trooper, and he was OK through the night, and made do with regular Tylenol all morning, including at his 9am appointment to have his permanent cast put on. He shed not one tear.

Teddy's mother came by this morning, to see how Pat was. This is the part that disturbs me a little - Teddy pushed him off on purpose. Apparently, he told her that he had wanted to pretend that they were in some Benji movie he likes, and he wanted to reenact a part where they jump off a bridge or something and swim away, so he shoved Patrick off the top of the playset in their packyard and then jumped off after him. Patrick had no idea what was coming.

Now, I know that Teddy wasn't trying to hurt Patrick, but I am a little upset that I didn't know that this was a possibility. I was under the impression that since his aggression has abated, he was a pretty safe playmate, especially with parents around. I know that children hurt themselves all the time, and I fully expected him to break something at some point, but not like this. I wish I had known that Teddy was this confused about reality. I wish that his parents, who know him best, had protected Patrick a little more. I'm not really angry, just... well, I'm not letting myself think about it. He's going to miss out on the entire baseball season now, and won't be able to cool off in the sprinkler or our hot tub for six weeks.

The Mom came by with Teddy and his sister this afternoon to give Patrick a little gift, to help Teddy learn empathy. It was a nice gesture, and I appreciated them coming by again. Then they had to leave, because Teddy had to go to soccer practice. Meanwhile, Patrick sits here on the couch, while DH goes to coach the baseball team his son can no longer play on. Sigh.

Here's my brave little man:


desperate housewife said...

Oh, I am so sorry. What a sucky situation, any way you look at it- little kid with broken arm, awkward situation with the neighbors, endless waits at the hospital, grouchy staff... I hope Patrick's and your next week ROCKS from start to finish to make up for this!

d e v a n said...

Yikes! Poor guy! I'm sorry, but I'd be rather ticked that he pushed your kid off and broke his arm! And, sadly, I might not let him play over there anymore without MY supervision. :( The ER people sound just lovely. ha

AndreAnna said...

That is a crap sandwich with a side of iced pee all around if you ask me.

Poor guy.

Kristin.... said...

Poor Patrick! He did choose a rockin' cast color though! Annie did well with Advil for her arm when it was broken. And you'd be amazed how quickly he'll heal. How long did they say for the cast?

Kelsey said...

I'm so sorry this happened! What a lousy way for Patrick to have gotten hurt. I'm also sorry for your hospital experience - cranky hospital staff are awful, especially when kids are involved. I hope he feels better soon!

Not Your Aunt Bea said...

Oh, poor baby! He is such a trooper through it all. I am sorry your ER experience was so awful. You would think that since he is six they would have had more of a sense of urgency and compassion. And that is awful that he was pushed. I don't know what I would do in that situation.

Anonymous said...

Oh no, poor Patrick. Clearly your son is spectacular. I, too, would be pretty peeved at the situation down the street. I agree that I wouldn't allow any more playdates without being the supervisor myself. Did she even offer to help pay for doctor costs or anything???

Astarte said...

Thanks, everybody!!! Yeah, she did offer to pay our co-pays, but I declined, since I don't really want to get involved with money and neighbors. Our insurance is pretty good, so the whole thing will probably cost us less than $100. I didn't want to bicker for that amount.

He'll have to be in the cast for 4-6 weeks. The doctor said that he wants to re-xray in 4 weeks, because the break goes into his growth plate, to make sure that the plate heals right and doesn't end up crooked or something. I don't even want to think about THAT possibility.

Bring A. Torch said...

Oh my gosh! Hope Patrick is feeling better and that his bones knit up fast!

Hotch Potchery said...

oh no....poor Patrick. Our girl broke her hand when she was 9, it was brutal.

Kristi said...

Poor Patrick! He really is such a trooper! Hope things heal quickly!

Stimey said...

Poor guy. It's really upsetting that this happened to him. He sounds like he did great!

As for Teddy, here is my take, as a parent of an autistic child:

I bet Teddy's mom is at home kind of wanting to die right now. If she is anything like me, I think she is probably absolutely brokenhearted that this happened.

It is not okay for kids to hurt other kids. Autistic kids, however, often don't really get that other kids have different thoughts and feelings than they do. I'm guessing that Teddy was acting out his movie and assumed that Patrick was on board and ready because that is how Teddy felt. I wouldn't call this aggression, I would call this a misunderstanding based on the way Teddy's brain works. My son is not aggressive (although he will sometimes hit other kids hello (usually lightly *cringe*) because he doesn't understand how to engage them with words.

Something like this could happen even if Teddy's mom (or you) were standing as little as five feet away. I wouldn't necessarily chalk it up to bad supervision.

I'm not trying to excuse what Teddy did; I'm just trying to offer some insight into why it might have happened.

That said, oh my god, it sucks. Your poor guy having to have a cast right during spring. It's totally not fair. I'm so sorry it happened to him.

creative kerfuffle said...

hole.e.hell. first, i would be totally pissed at teddy's mom and probably not let my kid go over there and play any more. (i'm a bitch like that.) second--that er staff? omg. srsly? you'd think they would deal with little kids with more compassion and oh, i don't know, HEART??? urgency? this whole thing pisses me off. to send him home w/out anything knowing you couldn't get the scrip filled? sheesh. patrick handled it all so well though, that's really great!

Elizabeth Channel said...

What a sweet picture! I am so, so sorry it happened, but so glad it wasn't worse. The top of the playset? That's far!

Poor fellow having to miss t-ball and swimming...certainly not fair. He's a trooper all right, and I love his emergency room commentary!