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Yesterday Hannah got her cast off. It was a day we had been anxiously looking forward to for 4 long weeks. I think we all may have gone into this day a little unprepared. Initially I assumed that Hannah would need physical therapy to help rehab her arm after the cast came off, but was told that was not the case by her orthopedic surgeon. He had told us that kids bounce back quickly and she should be just fine.

After hearing that, I think we all just figured that she would go in, have the cast removed, pins taken out and life could go on; our summer activities could resume. That is not the case.

Hannah did get her cast and pins removed, but has more recovery time ahead of her. Realistically this makes sense. I mean, come on, Kim, the child broke 2 bones in her upper arm! She is very stiff. Her wrist is sore. She can’t straighten her arm or let it hang as she gets up or walks. She holds it with her other hand while she does anything but sit. The surgeon told us yesterday that it would be roughly 3 months before she has her full range of motion back.

I can see in her eyes how disappointed she is and my heart aches for her. She just wants to go back to normal. Her birthday party at the trampoline park will be cancelled, it is just too risky. I swear I asked the surgeon about it 3 weeks ago and he said she should be fine; today he said “no way” in very clear terms. There will be no water slide action at the pool, no roller coasters at Kings Island.

I feel like I have failed her in more ways than one. First, not only did I almost pass out when the ambulance came that day she fell, but I almost passed out again yesterday when she was hysterical about her cast coming off. Second, I feel like we could have prepared her better for the rest of her recovery.

From here, we move forward. Aaron shared a quote with me yesterday about focusing on moving forward that I want to share with you all:

“Looking in the rear view mirror is a good way to get into a crash.”

This isn’t just fitting for this situation, but for many. While it is good to acknowledge past mistakes, there is nothing that can be done about them, so wasting time worrying about the past will do nothing but impede or impair the future.  What is interesting about the quote is that Aaron used it yesterday to try to communicate to Hannah that she shouldn’t dwell on the past as she was mourning the past 4 weeks.  I hope that we can all keep this in mind over the next few months as Hannah continues to recover.

Hannah needs to get her arm moving to increase her range of motion. We will still go to the pool – the water can do nothing but help. We will just have to modify her activities. She can still have a birthday party, she will just need to choose a different venue. Focus on the positive.

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13 comments to Emotions

  • It sounds like your surgeon did a poor job preparing all of you. Don't beat yourself up, kids really do bounce back fast! I can't wait to hear what new and exciting idea you come up with for the birthday party.

    • I was thinking the same thing re: the surgeon. I think he really knows his stuff, but he is so young (like I questioned if he was the same age as my son young), and I don't think gets the everyday part of a child's life. KWIM? She is thinking of inviting 4-5 girls over to go to the movies and then have a sleepover now. Probably a good idea to keep it low key.

  • kim, she will be well much more quickly. granted i have not physically seen her, but.what you describe is very normal. after a week or so, with her trying to use it as much as possible. play games with her so she has to use the arm. catch with a nerf ball is great. you will be surprised how quickly she gets better.

    • Thanks so much, Erin. I am so scared that she is going to hurt herself again! I feel like putting her in a bubble. She was so pleased with herself this AM when she was able to unbend it a little! Love the nerf ball idea!

      How are you feeling? I have been thinking a lot about you. Hope your recovery is going well.

      • You are being a mom. Totally normal :)
        She will get used to letting it hang down, and swing while she walks, It will take a little time, but much less than you think. Just keep encouraging her to use it. The more she uses it, the less stiff and sore it will feel. After a month or so if she is still having limitations then I would ask for a PT referral, but I really doubt she'll need it.

        I am doing well, almost 2 weeks post op. I am still slightly swollen, but considerably less than what he had expected. I am also getting quad control back faster than expected. My stitches have been removed and the incision looks good.

        I am to remain non weight bearing for 2 more weeks, but he has allowed me to open the brace (makes sitting much easier!) and I can begin some active range of motion exercises as well as continuing the isometrics and CPM. I am also allowed to ride the stationary bike without resistance for ROM, which makes me very happy.

        In 2 weeks I can progress to PWB (partial weight bearing, about 30 pounds) which will allow me to drive and considerably progress my exercise. In 3 weeks I can D/C the CPM. In 4 weeks I can progress to WBAT and begin to wean to one crutch and then off crutches completely. At that point, once I am off crutches and have quad control while weight bearing, I can D/C the brace. That will be a happy day :) Meanwhile, since I cannot carry anything, do laundry, or grocery shop, we have been eating a lot of takeout. I love my husband dearly, but a cook he is not ;)
        Thanks for asking about me!

  • Diane

    I can't believe he said no PT was necessary. My daughter had some for 4 weeks following her cast removal a couple of years ago. I am already scheduled for after my carpal tunnel surgery. I agree the water will help since she will be able to raise the arm with less pain.
    I can admit to almost passing out when my daughter broker her wrist. I am just not good when my kids are in pain. Don't feel ashamed at all!! Good luck!!

    • I called last week to ask about PT and they said not PT for at least 4 weeks. If she is still struggling, then he will order. I am going to double check with my sports dr when Jon sees him this week for a sports physical.

  • Water is good! Just think how fast time flies and all of this will be a memory. She will only remember some of it as she gets older and remember it could always be worse! I hope she has a great birthday!

  • Kim,
    what a great post. of course that's hard for both of you…and yet she will learn so much by the wise ways you take care of both of you. Hugs!

  • Ortho surgeons don't really understand much. Their focus is on surgery and not rehab. I've been down this road before when I dislocated my knee cap (not fun!). She'll have to work each day on bending and straightening it as much as possible. Hold for a few seconds and release, a little each day. Just what she can tolerate. Plus there will be a sense of fear there as well, "If I do too much, it will break!". That will eventually subside and go away but just know she probably has those thoughts. You may want to have Dr. B just look over it and let know you if there's any exercises she can do to help strengthen that arm back up. :)

    • Thanks Andrea! Jon sees Dr. B this week for a sports physical and I am going to see if what he thinks. If he wants to evaluate her, I will make her an appt (she has seen him before for a back issue from gymnastics). I trust his opinion, so if he thinks the ortho is right, then we will just continue working. She is gaining some movement at the shoulder, but still can't really bend at the elbow at all….that hasn't changed.

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