Adventures, Thing 3

Wesley and the No Good, Very Bad Year.

If you’ll recall…Wesley broke his arm riding his mountain bike in June. He had surgery inserting two flex nails that run the length of both his radius and ulna. He’s been sans cast for about 6 weeks but we finally had surgery to have the flex nails removed on Friday.

Well…let me back up a minute.

Both of the flex nails are protruding from the bone a bit to make for easier retrieval. One protrudes at the wrist, the other at the elbow. The one at the elbow we can almost “see” in a sense because there’s a bump around his elbow and periodically he hits it and it hurts terribly. But even the last cast he’s worn since the end of August didn’t cover his elbow, so we got used to that periodic pain. But two weeks ago Wesley took a fall at soccer and landed straight on his elbow. He screamed BLOODY MURDER and the look he had on his face running towards me was TERRIBLE so we went straight to the E.R.

By the time we got there he had calmed down, the pain had subsided, but his arm was pretty swollen and tender around the elbow and there was already a small touch of bruising. They gave him an X-ray and determined everything was fine with the arm and they sent us on our way and told us to only bother calling our orthopedic doctor if the pain or swelling persisted, which it did not.

This happened 2 weeks before the nail removal surgery. A few days after the incident Wesley said, “Mom, I still can’t straighten my thumb after that fall.”

Now, I’ll be honest. I a) didn’t really believe him and b) didn’t really think it was a big deal. Part of this is that all of my kids overreact to injuries. We are not the parents that run on the field when they cry because they cry/yell/scream at all injuries. So to get my attention there has to be a pretty severe threshold met and well…the thumb wasn’t hurting and WHAT DO YOU MEAN YOU CANT’S STRAIGHTEN IT? That’s the dumbest thing I’ve ever heard.

But then Donnie’s Mom and Sister seemed concerned at Thanksgiving and I thought, “Oh. Oops. Yeah. Um. I’m concerned too.”

But we had his flex nail removal surgery scheduled for the one week later, I just figured I’d bring it up then. And so when the orthopedist came in pre-op we showed him.

And can you guess? HE WAS CONCERNED. Duh. Now, he didn’t make me feel bad, and he didn’t freak out but he definitely was concerned there could be tendon damage but we didn’t really talk about it until after the surgery. He was talking to us in the consult room and said, “So I’m concerned that when he fell that nail protruding at the wrist might have cut the tendon to the thumb. I want him to come back in a week and then I’ll probably get my hand specialist to look at it. If I’m right, we’ll have to do a surgery connect and extra tendon from the forefinger to the thumb.”


Now, we have not told Wesley. He has been SO BRAVE but this kid is worn out. He doesn’t come out of anesthesia well, we’re learning. He yells and writhes and begs for me and that is all very fresh in our minds and so talking about another surgery right now is NOT an option.

Now, maybe surgery will not be necessary…BUT…he was worried because it hasn’t healed at all and it’s been 2 weeks since his fall and so that seems peculiar and so he was talking like this was probably what was going to need to happen.

What I kept saying all weekend to people was, “I know this is going to sound like I’m joking but I’m dead serious, does he need to straighten his thumb?”

He has grip strength FINE. He writes and clicks and texts…it doesn’t limit his activity. WHY PUT THE KID THROUGH ANOTHER SURGERY?

Of course I’ve done reading since and it does seem there can be long-term side-effects from your hand not behaving properly if you don’t get these things fixed and so just not doing it is probably not an option. We’ll wait until we talk to the specialist for sure, but I definitely want to wait and do it at a time where he won’t miss any of his favorite activities like soccer or swimming.

I don’t know…this whole thing is just insane. I can’t believe how much this poor kid has been through and I know that there are kids that have been through worse but JEEZUS.

Oh, it’s also a lot for ME. It is so hard to see him post-op because – like the last surgery – he comes out freaking out about pain and it’s very hard to get him to calm down when he’s in that half-way state between awake and asleep and he kept screaming at me to rub his head because he had a headache and I was crouched over his bed rail trying to rub his head and everything in my back was screaming in agony but when I paused to reposition he’d scream, “DON’T STOP!!!”

It was rough.

It’s a little too soon to think about another surgery so we’ll just put that off until the next consult and cross our fingers that maybe just some physical therapy and splinting will work.

Until then he’s doing well. He’s still sore and tender but he’s hanging in there. I leave today to go start helping my Mom clean out her condo (she’s moving here…another story for another day) and so Donnie will be on wound patrol for a few days. Send some healing thoughts this way if you can!

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