Wanted: New Drama Coach

When I prayed for my kids to excel in drama, this is not exactly what I had in mind. I was thinking more in the musicals department, not so much in the health care field, but in the last month we’ve had more drama around here than I’d care to admit. Ben had been taking the lead role, first with his poison ivy/cellulitis performance that thankfully was resolved with little more than several trips to the doc and a long wait in the ER. It was quiet for almost an entire week in our home–I don’t even think we had a skinned knee and our tissue box went untouched. I should have known that the lack of activity was really just the quiet before the storm.

We were socializing (trying to be good examples for our unsocialized homeschooled children) before church a few weeks ago when Patrick and Ben ran into the courtyard room, Patrick hollering and Ben crying holding his mouth. “Mom! Dad! A ball hit Ben’s face and broke his tooth!” Apparently, Ben had been watching a game of carpet ball (a ‘fun’ game that involves rolling pool balls into buckets) when one of the players threw a ball a bit too exuberantly while Ben was standing a little too close and ball met tooth. Obviously, it hurt the guy and he was crying from the pain. I was one hair away from hysterics when I realized it was his front permanent tooth that had been broken off. Seriously. I still get all ALL upset and angry when I think that his permanent tooth has been permanently damaged. You don’t get a second chance with that! Meanwhile, Todd was acting as the more responsible parent and actually taking care of the injured child. Of course, even thought it was Sunday, I called the dentist’s office to see if maybe, just maybe someone was there that day to see him. Clearly they didn’t view it as the emergency situation that I did.

After the sting of catching a cue ball with his mouth wore off, Ben was fine. We heard many stories that day about how other children had incurred similar accidents and how their situations had gone–from a mild repair to months of work, including root canals and other seemingly horrible things. I didn’t know what to expect from our situation.

Todd called the dentist early Monday morning and found out that Ben couldn’t be seen until Wednesday afternoon. I was surprised that they still didn’t view it as an extreme emergency, but that only revealed my mom genes in full force, I suppose. Ben was fine with his tooth the way it was and even proudly showed it off to his classmates and friends at CC that week.

Here’s the only picture I snapped of his “busted” tooth:

When Wednesday afternoon finally rolled around, I didn’t know what to expect. The office staff was very calming to this crazy mama’s hysterics (to my credit, I had calmed down considerably, at least on the outside, by then). In the end, it was an incredibly painless process. They took an x-ray to examine the tooth and found that there was no nerve damage at all, which was fantastic news. With a warning that problems could surface at any time, though, they gave us signs to look for in terms of tooth damage in the future. The plan of attack that day, however, was to build up the tooth with filling material and leave it at that for as long as it would last. In less than two hours, our trip to the dentist was complete. They explained that the first bond would be the strongest, and although they could replace the filling as many times as they needed to, the original repair would hold the best. He was instructed not to bite sticky or especially hard foods with that tooth (again, a wave of stomach sickness washed over me as I thought about the permanence of this situation), but other than that, we were free to go. The worst part of the entire procedure for Ben was waiting for the numbness to wear off. He did not enjoy not being able to feel anything in his face. All in all, however, I think he escaped what could have been a lot worse and many more visits to the dentist for repair.

Since then, he seems to be fine and his new tooth is holding up just great. We know that as soon as he gets a few more permanent teeth that braces are in his future, but for now, he just has to protect those teeth! The fact that they protrude a bit only makes him more vulnerable to tooth attacks. Poor guy.

Here’s the after picture:

After the tooth drama, I thought maybe we were done for a bit. HA. I should have known better. Instead of being finished, we merely changed lead roles. To set the scene, it was the morning that my parents were preparing to leave after an enjoyable visit with us for Hannah’s birthday. We had great, unseasonably warm weather every day they were here, and had the chance to enjoy soccer games, a TBQ match, and a trip to the apple orchard along with a fall break from school. As Mom and Dad were gathering their last-minute supplies, we could hear the boys in the family room raucously having a pillow fight. They were loud, but I was trying to ignore them in the hopes that the fight would run its course and that would be that.

It did in fact stop when Patrick came in complaining that he’d fallen off the couch and landed on his hand. Being a mom of many, I offered my first and usual response of “These are the natural consequences that happen when you’re goofing around.” I gave his hand a quick once-over and waved him off, thinking it was fine. We said good-bye to my folks and watched them drive away before settling down to get back into our school routine after a lovely break. Over the next few hours, Patrick both complained about his thumb hurting and kept showing up the progressive swelling. While it didn’t look especially bad or misaligned, it definitely was swollen. Todd was fairly sure that it was nothing more than a jam, so we proceeded on that assumption.

Fast forward to Thursday when he was still complaining about the pain and making sure we knew how his range of motion had been affected. By lunch time, I had come to the realization that we should probably have someone of the medical persuasion look at it, with the hope that she would confirm the “it’s jammed” diagnosis we non-medical types had given. Thankfully, Patrick’s pediatrician had an opening immediately, so we went over there. She couldn’t tell definitively either, and after joking about how we just seem to be a parade of maladies of late, she wrote an order for an x-ray for the next morning, and sent us home to do the ice and motrin routine until then.

Patrick and I drove to the Lexington Diagnostic Center and were pleasantly surprised by the lack of wait time (the ER visit was still rather fresh in my mind…). In less than an hour, we were in an out. In fact, he didn’t even have the chance to go over his Latin flash cards while we waited to be called back. I think he was pleased about that! The tech was efficient and since Patrick was compliant, it took less than five minutes. As we walked out, the tech informed us that we should “hear the results in 3-5 days.” Patrick almost lost it at that point: “Three to five days!!” The tech quickly responded that if there was a break, we’d hear from them before then. Feeling slightly unsettled about the wait myself, I made sure we called Patrick’s doctor to let them know when and where we had the x-ray done. Then we waited. Or perhaps more accurately, we listened to Patrick’s every hour on the hour inquiries. “Mom, have they called yet?” or “Did you give them the right number?” or “Do you even have your phone turned on?!”

By the end of the day on Friday, when they hadn’t called, I was sure that there was no break and that we’d just proceed thinking he had a jammed thumb and time would take care of the pain. Patrick didn’t like that, but what could he do? He even spent Saturday and Sunday asking if we’d gotten a call, despite my explanations that doctors aren’t actually in their offices on the weekends.

We went to CC as usual on Mondays and our mornings are so full that even taking a phone call is all but impossible. Since my phone doesn’t ring all that much, it’s not usually a big deal, but on this particular Monday, my phone was lighting up. I didn’t even get the chance to listen to the voicemail, but knew that it was a call from the doctor (at least one call). I dismissed it, thinking that she was probably following up to let us know that the thumb in question was going to be a-ok. Around 10:30, Ben came to my class because he was having trouble breathing. He’d been using the nebulizer all weekend to help with his chest congestion, and I thought we had it under control before classes, but something in his classroom triggered his wheezing and coughing. Of course I didn’t think to bring the nebulizer with us, so I had to call Todd to see if he could bring it over to church. Since one of his job sites is just down the street from our church, I was hoping to catch him on his way out. Imagine my surprise, then, when Todd arrived with the nebulizer and whispered in my ear, “Umm, Patrick’s thumb is broken and the doctor needs to see him TODAY. They think he might need surgery.” WHAT?!!? Oh, goody.

Thankfully, Todd had been in contact with the doctor and was waiting to hear from the specialist for an appointment. It wasn’t long before he had secured an appointment early that afternoon, and was able to take Patrick. Within a couple hours at the hand doctor, they had gotten another x-ray, and learned that he did in fact have a buckle fracture in the distal phalange. We were relieved to hear that he did not need surgery and the break was not as bad as the initial report had led the doctor to believe (somehow our original x-ray films had not made it to the office). Before dinnertime, Patrick was the owner of a red cast. He made no attempts to hide his delight about having a cast.

In fact, he was the second kid in his CC class to have a cast within the month. His friend Allie had broken a finger jumping onto a couch only a couple weeks before. They shared a good laugh when thinking that she’d broken her finger jumping on a couch and he’d broken his thumb jumping off the couch.

Patrick is now already more than one week into his 16 day cast extravaganza, and for the most part it hasn’t slowed him down. He’s filled it with signatures from friends and family and can still write to do all of his schoolwork (although the way he has to hold his pencil is rather convoluted). As “excited” as he was to have a cast in the first place, I think he’ll be just as happy to get it removed next week.

I don’t even want to think about what could be coming next! Maybe nothing…that would certainly be a welcome change.


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