Sunday, May 17, 2009

A Tale of Guilt and a Fractured Tibia

It has taken me several days, well four to be exact, to work up the courage to write this post. The guilt had to subside enough for me to be willing to share our tramatic experience.

Last week, we met church friends at the park for a playdate. Before we left, I opted to take Snugglebug down the slide. On the way down, the rubber of his shoe caught the side of the slide and popped to one side. He cried for a few minutes but seemed to be fine. After our slide ride, we said our goodbyes and headed home for naptime.

Snugglebug was his normal self and had no issues with naptime. He had had fun at the park, was worn out, and went right to sleep.

After his nap, I noticed he favored his leg. Then when he tried to pull up on the coffee table, he cried as he put his weight on his leg.

Now, I am incredibly grateful that my child only cried when he is hurt. This was true even as an infant. He cried constantly but only because of the pain of acid reflux. Since then, he complains only rarely. So, when he cried I knew something was wrong. I checked for swelling but found nothing. He didn't cry when I felt of his leg and ankle; it was only when he stood on it that it hurt.

Upon the advice of my sister and my sweet husband, I called the doctor who ordered x-rays as soon as we walked in. The x-rays showed a mild fracture on his tibia (the small leg bone between the ankle and knee). I looked at the x-ray and couldn't really tell that it was a fracture. It certianly didn't look like the x-rays they showed on ER. There was no massive gaping between parts of the bone, only a tiny little bump.

After a temporary splint was placed on Snugglebug's leg, we were sent to an orthopedist who replaced the temporary splint with a sturdier one that was to last three weeks. We were also given strict orders to immobilize him! Yeah right! How is this possible with a child who just learned how to crawl and pull up!

Needless to say, after only three days, the sturdy splint needs to be replaced and we are headed back to Ortho on Monday. Hopefully, they will understand that I just don't have the hear to pin him down for three weeks.

As for the guilt, it has waned over the last several days. Several people have told me the same thing happened to them or to friends of theirs. The Orthopedist even said the fracture is called a Toddler Fracture and that he sees them quite frequently. I felt so guilty the day it happened because it was my decision to take him down the slide. Yes, a freak accident indeed, but still I blamed myself. I realize how ridiculous this is but still it is hard to deny the guilt one feels.

Guilt is a whole other topic that I am focused on at the moment. Perhaps, I'll write a post on it in the future. For now, suffice to say, the best medicine against guilt is the encouragement of others. I called my sister and said, "you have to tell me I'm not a bad mom," as I wailed into the phone. She encouraged me and told me several stories about her kids that made me laugh. In the end, I still felt guilty, but her words resonated with me for the next couple of days.

Everyone I have met and that has heard our story has been so encouraging and has told me not to feel guilty. It has been a wonderful feeling knowing that the strangers who are all too often critical can be countered by the strangers who are encouraging and uplifting.

And finally, I can't forget the words of my sweet husband. The ever-calm police officer had no issues whatsoever with me or the accident, never blamed me for the injury, and was so consoling. He came home early and went to the doctor with me, never taking a moment to even change out of his uniform. He was the stability as I constantly pushed back the tears. And, as is usually the case, while I panicked, he was a calm rock, making jokes, and telling stories. So, I got a police escort from the doctor's office to radiology. Which made for great jokes for the nurses. They really enjoyed the irony!

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