Where to begin.
If you follow me on IG or if you know me in real life and are FB friends with me, you know we had quite an eventful Saturday. Donnie and I got the kids mountain bikes hoping to get them into a new popular hobby that a lot of kids in our area do since we live at near the trails. They’ve been riding their bikes on the roads getting the hang of them and Saturday was their first trail outing. The problem is, we don’t have a functioning bike rack on Donnie’s Jeep yet (he needs a new hitch) so he drove the kids up to the “easy” trails on the mountain and I took TWO trips up in my Honda Fit to get all of the bikes up there. After the last trip I headed down the mountain for a yoga class and when I was about 3 blocks away from my class Donnie called.
“Kim. Wesley broke his arm. We’re going to the hospital.”
I panicked appropriately and tried to sort through the information until I landed on, “Wait. What are you going to do with the bikes?” He said, “I don’t know…I had kinda forgotten about that.” I told him I’d figure it out and then I’d head back up the mountain.
After a few calls/texts trying to figure out the best solution to the bike problem so that I could join my broken boy as fast as possible, I ended up with friends who were in the right place at the right time – with a bike rack. They met me at the Ranger’s house on the mountain where Donnie was standing up holding Wesley up like he was a human gurney. Wes was OBVIOUSLY in shock and just kept rolling his eyes back and licking his lips and just not at all WESLEY, you know? And y’all? THE ARM WAS DISGUSTING. I was so impressed everyone was calm and collected because ARMS DO NOT BEND THAT WAY.
(We have a picture from the ER that we only show people if they WANT to see it, it’s too much to just show people without warning.)
Nikki told me later that at some point while they were waiting at the Ranger’s house Wesley said to her, “I love you in case…in case I died.” I MEAN ARE YOU KIDDING ME?
We loaded up one bike in my fit and two on my friend’s bike rack and we were going to get them home while Donnie waited with Wes for the ambulance. Donnie was obviously a bit in shock too and I asked if he needed anything to which he said, “Shoes. Real shoes.”
That’s when I looked down. He was still wearing his clip-in bike shoes. He had walked a few hundred yards holding his broken child upright while wearing shoes ONLY DESIGNED FOR BEING CLIPPED INTO PEDALS.
Nyoka and I ran back to his Jeep which was parked down the road, grabbed his flops and came back while my friend did a drop-off of my other friend who lives on the mountain.
(SIDENOTE: These wonderful angel friends had just come back from the BARBARIAN CHALLENGE and were’ covered in mud and sweat and were tired and exhausted and detoured to help us and OH MY GOD I WAS SO GRATEFUL.)
Nyoka and I helped get Donnie in his flops while he was holding Wes upright (Me: “Wes, you’re doing great.” Him: “NO I AM NOT, MOM.”) and then we headed down the mountain back to our house to unload bikes and grab some basic essentials and walk the dog. I also changed out of my yoga clothes because there’s too much cleavage in those tank-tops and it didn’t feel appropriate for an ER.
We did everything on our checklist and headed to the ER. We arrived there about the same time as the ambulance and I had this wonderful text from Donnie.
Y’all. Wesley did not cry EVEN ONCE. Donnie gave me the full story later: He was riding a little behind Wes when he went over on the bike and put out his arm to catch himself. When he got to him he said, “I’m sorry Dad, I broke my arm,” and held up what Wesley kept telling doctors and nurses was his, “Spaghetti arm.” He then asked Donnie to put it back together. (SOB!)
Some wonderful hikers saw everything, ran to get Nyoka who was ahead of them (she heard Wesley screaming for her so she was heading back) and then they helped push the bikes to the Ranger’s house. AT NO POINT DID WESLEY CRY. Donnie said the first/only time he cried then was when the Ranger’s wife was trying to distract him by asking about hobbies and he realized he was going to miss basketball camp and he got upset.
I know 99% of his stoicism was shock-induced, but that text from Donnie showed he was still turning on the charm even when the pain parts of his brain were shut down.
I finally got to him in the ER where he was still charming nurses with his politeness. He didn’t get pain meds until after they put his IV in, which is the only time he got upset with pain…WITH THE I.V.! Not the spaghetti arm with the double broken bones. Nope. That didn’t upset him. It was the I.V. that upset him most. He continued to charm doctors and nurses in the E.R. – especially because he kept telling us he loved us and they were asking how much of that was from the pain meds, “Not much of it, he’s our affectionate kid.” They all LOVED him.
After he got pain meds in, they sedated him for a bit so they could temporarily set his bones before admitting him for surgery in the morning. He was VERY happy to get settled into a real room where we could give him some food and water and he could watch YouTube. Donnie and Nikki ran home so Donnie could shower quickly (we luckily only live 2 miles from the hospital) and take out the dog while we were getting transferred. They also brought back Wes’s order for dinner: TACO BELL.
After he got some food in him we got him settled with the laptop and some YouTube. Since his right arm was broken (Yep, he is right-handed) and he had his IV in his left arm, he only had one working finger which is what he was using to control the computer. I told him, “Wes, I’m so impressed you’re able to do all of that with just one finger of your left hand.” To which he replied, “I’ve been training my whole life for this.”
We both thought at that moment, “Wesley’s back.” He’s got this great wit that goes along with his charm and in that moment we felt like our boy was back!
Donnie stayed the night at the hospital so I could get Nikki home and take care of the dog. Saturday night just happened to be the night of a big concert at the caves behind my house and my dog was INSANE because people park on our street and walk and so people were EVERYWHERE. I was up until after midnight which was good because so were Donnie and Wesley and so I was getting updates. Wes was in a LOT of pain but they didn’t want to give him morphine because we have family allergies to it but there was some confusion from a nurse who was CERTAIN he had it in the ER (he did not) and it took a while of him looking through charts to believe us. And of course Wes got his notorious foot cramps too so Donnie was massaging his feet through all of that. They finally fell asleep around 4:45am, I got to the hospital for the day around 5am.
The morning was a lot of waiting/prepping/waiting for surgery. Wes was very nervous about the anesthesia because when they sedated him in the ER he said the medicine burned going through his arm. Once they told him they’d do the gas in the mask first, he felt better. (He’s had that on his eye surgery before.) We were having surgery in the main O.R. – not the pediatric O.R. – because it was prepped faster, so I’m not sure how used to kids they are. They were great though.
It was very hard to leave him in pre-OP. He was being very brave but was obviously scared and just kept telling us he loved us.
Luckily the surgery didn’t take long and they let us in the post-OP where he was in a lot of pain until they gave him Fetanyl which then knocked him out again for the commute back to the pediatric unit of the hospital. (It’s a long bumpy gurney and tram ride.)
Once we got him back in his room he was irritable and in pain and angry and sleepy. He would wake up enough to yell at people for touching him and then ask to leave and then go back to sleep. We had a big family dinner on the schedule that night for Father’s Day and he 100% refused to miss that so the FIRST THING he asked when coming out of sedation was, “WHAT TIME IS IT?” And when he would wake up he would say, “DID I MISS FAMILY DINNER?”
I think he was so upset thinking about all of the fun stuff he’d be missing – swim and basketball and bike riding – that he was REFUSING to let go of Family Dinner even though everyone said we could reschedule he kept insisting, “I WILL GO TO IT IF THEY LET ME OUT OF THIS DAMN HOSPITAL IN TIME.”
Eliah brought him some Burger King which perked him up a bit and then they prospect of leaving perked him up a bit and then he got some hydrocodone which helped and he finally stopped yelling at everyone and was ready to get THE HELL OUT OF DODGE.
We got him home where he rested in bed before changing out of his hospital gown (thank god for summer and tank tops with big arm holes) and he enthusiastically got ready for Family Dinner. He did really great, let me feed him some pizza and hung out on the couch talking to family. And then it just became all too much for him and he passed out again.
We got him home and settled into bed for the night. Our most challenging thing now is managing pain and trying to keep the wrist elevated above the arm. It’s easier to do when he’s laying down and we can prop it up with pillows. But he WANTS to get up and move around more but then he would have to hold the arm up himself and he does NOT want to do that. I think we’ll spend most of today and tomorrow in bed to try to keep it elevated and mediate pain and then maybe try to venture out more later in the week.
He goes back to the bone doc in 2 weeks to take off the cast that’s on it now and do another x-ray. HOPEFULLY at that point he’ll get a much smaller splint/cast that will be coverable for swimming. PLEASE SEND ALL OF THE HEALING THOUGHTS FOR THAT OUTCOME BECAUSE HE WILL BE DEVASTATED IF HE CANT EVEN PLAY IN THE POOL ANYMORE THIS SUMMER.
If all goes well after that, 6 weeks he’ll get 100% cleared. It just so happens that the 6-week mark is the day before we leave for our summer vacation so PLEASE LET US ALSO PRAY HE GETS CLEARED BEFORE THAT.
All-in-all he has been such a champ. Everyone has. Donnie had to deal with all of the pain and trauma firsthand and the obvious parental guilt we all suffer when things like this happen on our watch. He has been simply spectacular. And then Nikki basically had to hold us while we cried when we got away from Wes because we were so tired from holding it in around him and we could only get away one at a time so she had to be the recipient of our breakdowns and she was lovely and supportive and wonderful. All while carrying her own guilt of worrying about what she could have done differently.
It was an accident. Accidents happen. No one was at fault. We always look back at things with 20/20 vision and see what we could have done differently, but then some other day something might happen on a playground at school or on a hike with me or on the soccer field. I mean, Wes has had stitches twice and an orbital fracture once. HE IS AN ACTIVE KID so these things are going to happen.
I’m grateful for all of the friends and family who came to our aid and helped in so many ways. Donnie’s brother helped get Donnie’s Jeep off the mountain the night of the accident since I can’t drive two cars. Donnie’s Mom sat at the hospital with us. Eliah brought us food. Friends and neighbors checked in constantly and have offered so many arms of help I can’t even keep track. We are blessed to be surrounded by such loving and supportive people. This will just be another story for Wesley to tell about his active childhood. Honestly? We are lucky he is healthy enough to be active enough to be injured periodically. These things are signs of adventure and we wouldn’t trade our adventurous life for one without injuries for anything in the world.