Friday, March 28, 2008

Crash Strikes Again!

Believe it or not, the smiling boy in this picture had just gotten home from a 9 *hour* visit to the ER. Why is he still smiling? Because he's Hunter! And Hunter is the happy-go-luckiest guy I know. It takes more than a 9 hour wait at the ER, and a broken foot to bring this little one down!

I'll first back up to Tuesday when I "think" this all started. Louisa and Hunter were playing around on an old swivel-y desk chair that's in our living room. I heard Hunter fall and cry. He came to me for hugs and kisses, and was on his way again. Limping a little. At bedtime his foot was a bit swollen and bruised, but he said it didn't hurt him.

Wednesday morning his foot looked worse. We had a playgroup thingy, and Hunter was walking on it just fine (except with a little limp), so we went to playgroup. The opinion of the playgroup mommies was pretty unanimous, take him to the ER.

I dropped Louisa and Drew off at a friend's house and Hunter and I headed to the ER armed only with a small backpack full of Cars cars, one small snack, one diaper, and a sippy cup. (Isn't hindsight always fun?!)

Here's the rest of the day:

Approx. 1:00 pm~ check in to ER
1:45 pm ~ screening nurse .... um.... screens Hunter

4:00 pm ~ ask front desk person if they can check where we are on the list.... he tells us "not at the top, but not at the bottom" (how diplomatic of him)
5:30 pm ~ decide to leave and make an appointment (HA! ya right!) the next morning
5:35 pm ~ Feel guilty as I watch Hunter limping back to the truck, so, in tears, I turn around and go back in to ER waiting room
5:40 pm ~ talk to some soldier guy who's working in the ER and, as I'm crying, beg him to get someone to at least look at Hunter's foot to see if it's worth the wait. get another very diplomatic answer that "yes, it's always worth the wait", and "you're not at the top of the list, but not at the bottom"
7:45 ~ FINALLY called back to an examining room
8:10 ~ doc sees us, quickly tells us we need an x-ray, and leaves. (DUH!)
8:30 ~ very nice nurse quickly whisks us to x-ray
8:45~ back in examining room.... watching Supernanny.
9:30 ~ doc finally shows us x-ray and sure enough, metacarpals 3, 4, & 5 are fractured.
9:45 ~ very nice nurse very quickly and efficiently wraps Hunter's foot in a temporary cast, gives me instructions, gives Hunter orange popsicle to match his shirt, and signs us out
10:00 ~ arrive back at truck near tears at the exhausting day we just had!
10:15 ~ pick up kids who spent the day playing Monopoly, Sorry, and Clue.... and thank my friend a million trillion times!
10:45 ~ arrive back home with a now wired, tired and hungry Hunter, who is full of smiles regardless of what just happened.

We had nothing to eat the whole day because I didn't think we'd be there that long! We walked in to a full ER waiting room, watched it empty out, fill up, and empty out again. So of course, I want to know what was so important about all those other people, that they were seen and released so much ahead of Hunter? Hunter, with a broken foot, who is walking on it the entire day, could possibly do more damage to it, had to wait for almost 7 hours just to be seen in the first place! Hunter was showing no signs of discomfort, playing and running on his foot. But that doesn't mean nothing is wrong! Shame on that ER staff, and I'm guessing the screening nurse, for making such an assumption.

One of the few consolations of the day was that the 2nd shift nurse was just as upset that the 1st shift made a baby wait so long before taking him back to be examined. She said she would mention something to the 1st shift nurses about it. And when we walked out of the ER with Hunter's foot all bound up, I wanted to yell, "See! It WAS broken, jackasses!" But it wasn't the same staff in the waiting room/screening rooms anymore, so it wouldn't have done me any good.

Thursday morning I call orthopedics first thing like the nurse instructed. They don't do feet that small, so they are referring us to a foot clinic in the nearby town. And no, they don't know how long it will take for the foot clinic to contact us. Great.

I call the insurance company and they haven't received the referral paperwork yet and they won't be able to tell me which foot clinic until they get the paperwork in their system. Not sure what else I can do besides wait for paperwork to hit the system.

At 1:00 I decide to call ortho back, just to see if they can tell me anything. The guy who answered was so nice and helpful! He got us in to the foot clinic right away. (With a little haggling on his part!) I also went on the hospital's website and went to their customer comments section. I told what happened and how angry I was that a 2-year-old had to be in the ER for 9 hours, walking around on a broken foot. So don't worry, I reported this!

When we got to the foot clinic, they had been expecting us. They were so nice to Hunter and I. Very welcoming, took good care of Hunter. The doctor clearly enjoyed his job, taking a long time with Hunter and I, as if we were the only two patients in the clinic. He explained that Hunter broke something called his "growing plates". Little kids have growing plates at the ends of their bones, which will eventually grow into one long bone as we get older. But when they are little it's important to have those growing plates intact and growing straight, so that the foot (or bone) doesn't end up growing crooked. He recognized the seriousness of this, while at the same time alleviating any fears I might have had.

He said we need to keep this temporary boot on Hunter until early next week because he can't put a cast on a swollen foot (when it's the foot that's broken). On Tuesday we will go back in for a real walking cast. For now we are keeping the little boot on (see above picture).

I have to say that Hunter was amazing throughout this whole situation. He didn't cry or whine or act naughty. He waited, played, behaved, eventhough he was tired and hungry and his foot had to be bothering him at least a little because he was walking on the side of it and limping. I've said it a hundred times since Wednesday and it bears repeating, he's my little trooper. Definitely his father's son!

And speaking of Daddy, he didn't get to find out about any of this until today. I emailed him the above picture on Wednesday night, and up until today, he had no clue what the details were. He's glad we got it taken care of and he's proud of his little guy for being so brave.


Nichole said...

I am so glad that you got this taken care of and that you reported it to customer service! Making a little one like that wait is absurd!

snowflake said...

So sorry that he broke his foot, but what a great picture and what a little trooper he is!

scrapperjen said...

Oh my goodness!!!! I hope he's doing ok. What an ordeal!

(Thank you for the card - you're so sweet!)