Monday, January 04, 2010

IV - Owen's Broken Collar Bone

(Written by Braydon)

We've always known and have often said that both our boys have an absurdly high tolerance for pain.  On more than one occasion we've found a blood trail in the house leading to one of our kids who had cut their toe or shin or something, only to find them playing happily as though nothing had ever happened.  Or we've seen many a crash on a bike or scooter or toy that would toppled pretty much anyone, but they bounce up with a laugh and keep going.  They are not immune to pain by any stretch of the imagination, and are also acutely sensitive to touch and feeling, but they can tolerate a lot of pain. Don't know why.

So, we've discovered we're a family that loves to ski together.  We took the boys when they were 3.5 and 4.5 and now at 5.5.  This year, like last, we went skiing before Christmas when the lines are short and the mountain has 2 for 1 deals going on - and it's wonderful.

We started on the bunny slope and way beyond what we expected, the boys picked up where they left off last year.  Both K & O grabbed the tow rope and up they went.  No poles of course, but right on up.  And then right down, with a little snow plow and a little turning.  A few of these little practice runs and we were off to the rest of the mountain.

We were not planning it this way, but I skied with Kyle and Heather skied with Owen. We got to the top of the lift and dumped out onto our favorite run from last year - a nice easy green trail.  I followed Kyle, who, turns out, is a total speed demon, adrenaline junkie.  He took off, blasting down the mountain.  Now, I am a pretty aggressive skier, but he was bombing fast even for me.  We went past a little tree'd area that I liked to ski through last year and flew to the bottom. Totally crazy.

Kyle and I got to the lift and waited for H and Owen.  And waited, and waited and waited. Until I started to get very worried, and despite my best efforts to both hide it from him and also assure him, so did Kyle.  So we took the lift back up. I imagined that Heather had a terrible accident.  It did not occur to me it might be Owen.

When we got to the run, we saw Heather sitting on the snow holding Owen.  A ski patrol passed me and Kyle and asked if that was them.  I didn't know what he meant, but seeing it was not normal, sent him right there.  When we got there, Heather had our boy cradled in her arms, he was not moving.  I was freaking out. But when Kyle and I clicked out and got close, we could see Owen was awake and ok - just very still and in a lot of pain.  Thank goodness he had his helmet on.  He rode the ski patrol sled down like a champ, with me and Kyle flying down behind and Heather going down too.  We headed to the ski patrol room where they carried him in for an exam.  Later Owen told me that he wanted to ski down between the trees like Papi had done last year.  Cutie pie.  Unfortunately, it was all crusty ice this year and he slammed down very very hard.

In the ski patrol room, they wanted to cut his new turtle neck shirt off, but Heather managed to get him out of it.  They articulated his left arm to gauge his reaction to it and determine how hurt it was.  He was able to move it forward and back and all around and they declared that no matter how high his pain tolerance, that if it was broken he would have screamed bloody murder.  Which he did not.  It was hurting, but not broken.

After a little recovery and an attempt at some hot chocolate, we went back out skiing again to make sure he was not too afraid and we had a great rest of the day.  Owen was a bit more tentative, but had a lot of fun.  Then we did it again the next day and also had a great time.  Owen was again more caution, but that's not really all that unusual for him.  Kyle bombed down the mountain.  People commented that if he lived in NH they would have him on the junior ski team.

Over the next few days O favored his hurt shoulder and we gave him motrin regularly for it.  But generally he was himself and just seemed ok to play and move around.  We went ice skating and at one point we did a long chain of 6 or so of us with Owen in the middle all holding hands and swinging around.

When we got home, his shoulder was still hurting him.  We were going to make an appointment with our family doctor, but they said we should just go up to urgent care.  Since that was like the emergency room, but with a 3 hour wait, we made an appointment with our local Chiropractor for the next day.  But that night Owen woke up with a lot of pain.

Heather and I examined him and noticed a bump along his collar bone that we had not seen before.  He was still really hurting so we decided I should take him to the emergency room - which I did. It was 11 PM.

The ER doc examined him, articulated his arm, up down, back front, pushing pulling and trying to see if it hurt.  Owen said it did, this and that hurt, and mostly when the doc pushed on the bone with his thumb, but nothing dramatic.  So the doc decided that he should get an x-ray to find out what was up.

Broken collar bone. Clear as day on the x-ray.  Bent now, not curved.  Starting to knit together, but with a little bump.  Broken.  Our 5.5 year old had a broken collar bone. For 8 days.  

We're taking him to the orthopedic surgeon tomorrow for a review.  The ER doc both assured us that he was going to be fine and that he would have full range of motion with no limitations.  But that we should have the orthopedic group look at him.  So we are.

Unbelievable in so many ways on so many levels.  But I guess maybe that is just our boy.

Note:  the photo above was taken in MorMor and MorFar's back yard on Christmas Eve Day. Yes, his collar bone was broken at that time. 


Emmers said...

You have one tough and brave kid! I hope it heals well!

Haitian-American Family of Three said...

Oh man you guys that must have been insanely scary. My sister fell down ice skating when she was five and went to gymnastics the next day and did a back bend and THEN said, "My wrist hurts" yep, broken. Oh the guilt we all felt! I hope he feels better soon.

Chapter Two Manmi said...

Oh, poor Owen. I don't think I'll stir your thoughts with this knowing how well in tune you are to your boys' beginnings, but I wonder that the high threshold for pain is at least somewhat learned from not having some needs met in their first year of life. Or maybe it's more about their genetics. It just got me thinking.

I'll be curious to hear what the orthopod thinks.


Shannon- said...

Oh my! The collarbone is like-- on e of the MOST PAINFUL breaks you can have! Poor bugger.

Heather said...

Hi K -- (Chapter Two Manmi) --
Yes, we totally 100% think that Owen and Kyle's high pain tolerance is a direct result of their early history. We have always entirely believed that. This was something we knew about them from our first days together-- we have a story about Owen, at age 8 months, in Haiti when we were there to bring them home-- he had no shoes (had never had shoes on his feet and had always been barefoot). He was already toddling around at that point, and -unbeknown to us- he sliced his foot open on a piece of glass on the hotel balcony... we only realized it because I saw red dots on the floor and pointed it out to Braydon-- we thought it was red paint splattered around and I was trying to figure out why it was there (since nothing around it was painted red). As I looked closer I realized it was wet blood. And then we realized it was dripping from Owen's foot. Owen was in Braydon's arms, with a sliced foot, blood dripping, and had never even flinched (let alone cried). We have many other stories like this one from over the years with both K and O. It is incredibly deeply sad to think of how and why this pain tolerance took root. It still hurts my heart to think about it. But it is, in a deep way, part of who are boys are and will always be. Surely there are some genetics involved too -- and we have reason to believe that their birthmother, too, had a very high pain tolerance (but again wonder if that is genetic or due to her own history herself). But yes, thanks for raising this-- it is always at the surface of our minds. As I know these things are for you too.

Jenn said...

Kids never fail to amaze you in their tolerance for pain. Our daughter, at age 7 fell on the trampoline and said her arm hurt. Seeing that she is a bit of a drama queen and I the unsympathetic RN, simply told her she was fine. After 3 days of complaining and favoring her arm I took her to the dr to find out her elbow was broken in three places. Oh the guilt!

I have often wondered if our little guy, adopted from Haiti at 27 months was exposed at an early age to pain. His pain tolerance blows my mind. He dropped a can of peaches on his toe so hard the toenail bled copiously and fell off and he didn't make a sound. Sad.

Jonez said...

Wow! All in all I'm glad he is OK!