Friday, April 11, 2014

Collared Boy

I don't even quite know where to start. 

If I started at the beginning, I'd probably have to say that back at the very end of December, Garrett had a substantial sledding accident. It involved him flying down a hill, gliding quickly on icy snow farther than he ever had, hitting the edge of a metal grate with his sled, spinning up into the air, and landing on the metal grate using only his head in an effort to slow down. He cried a lot. He had a goose egg. It went away.

If I started in the middle I'd say something about how he went to Disneyland and Knotts Berry Farm and rode all manner of roller coasters. I'd also tell of how he wrestled for five weeks this past winter and won every single match. I'd explain that during these things, he complained that his neck hurt. He turned it and popped it and cracked it. We told him to stop doing those terrible sounding things. Some days he didn't complain at all. Some days he whined a lot. It was never more dramatic than when he was doing homework and wanted, instead, to be outside playing. Eventually, I took him to the doctor. Mostly to get him to stop complaining about what I assumed was just attributed to the way he was sleeping.

If I started at the end, the story would be long. I would tell of the pediatrician who examined him, declared him just fine, told him to stop popping his neck, and sent us for a handful of x-rays just to cover all of his bases. I'd tell of the technicians circling a spot on Garrett's scan and talking in hushed voices. I'd explain that, as I left, I felt a little anxious. And I'd tell you that on Tuesday night, exactly an hour and a half past the time we left the hospital, I missed a call from the pediatrician.

The x-rays revealed a skull fracture. The pediatrician was sending them to a neurosurgeon for consultation. I'd hear back from him by noon on Wednesday.

Except I didn't.

I called three times on Wednesday trying to get answers. He didn't have any. He hadn't heard from neuro.

I called on Thursday. 

I got angrier and angrier that skull and fracture were being used in a sentence with my son's name but no one could get back to me. I annoyed the good people that work at our doctor's office. Finally, I left to pick Garrett--who hadn't been able to go to recess since I'd first heard the news--up from school. While I was gone, the doctor called. He reached my husband and told him that we needed to take Garrett to the ER for further testing. And so I did.

And we stayed there for five hours. To have two x-rays and an examination. He did his homework. He watched episodes of The Brady Bunch.

Then this happened.

He has a fracture on his skull but there is nothing they need to do about it. Apparently these things heal themselves over time. He also may have something wrong with a ligament in his neck. He has to wear the collar until he can have an MRI and be seen by a neurosurgeon. Only he was so embarrassed, traumatized and upset by the prospect of wearing the collar that he hid under the gurney for a full fifteen minutes. I eventually coaxed him out before they got there to fit him for it. When they walked in, he hid in the corner, kicking and screaming and refusing to come out. For those of you that know us in real life, let me explain to you that THIS IS GARRETT WE'RE TALKING ABOUT. Hiding in corners, kicking and screaming is pretty much par for the course in our every day lives with Matthew. (I'm exaggerating. A little.) But Garrett respects authority. He listens. He almost NEVER acts out in front of people. Which is why it took me by surprise that after the nurse and I wrangled him onto the bed, he then picked up the hard, plastic collar and chucked it right into the nurse's face. 

He was mad as a cornered badger, that one. Of course, he got a swift and stern lecture from me. (And, eventually, he apologized to the nurse and she got him a popsicle.) Not that I'm in to making excuses for my kid but he was terrified and starving. It had been ten hours since he'd eaten anything.

Finally, around 9:30, we were discharged. Our first stop was McDonald's for a very late dinner which we scarfed in the car on our way home.

This was my poor guy at 10:30.
In the hospital he wailed about school and how he couldn't be seen wearing such a contraption. I didn't want to pick that battle and fully intended to pull him out and do independent study with him until he goes off track at the end of next week.

"Please don't make me go to school!" he sobbed.

A few minutes later he blurted out, "WAIT! TOMORROW IS SPORTS DAY!" Oh the power of spirit week. He desperately wanted to wear a hat to school.

"Well, it's up to you," I said because I wanted him to have some feeling of being in control of something.

"I just cannot decide. It's a hard choice."

We decided not to wake him this morning and just see what he thought he wanted to do when he woke up. At 7:15, he bolted upright (he was sleeping on our floor because sorry but you put your kid in that terrible brace and then see if they don't become the most pathetic, heart string pulling, get anything they want, kid you've ever seen). He immediately grabbed his clothes.

And off to school we went. No one made fun of him. Everyone wanted to know what happened. I stayed for twenty minutes to make sure he was okay. I told his teacher he could come home if he so much as mentioned it. He never did.

He has to wait until the 23 of April to have the MRI and see the neurosurgeon, but THANKFULLY my husband was persistent and contacted a nurse in pediatric neurosurgery who contacted a neurosurgeon who said he doesn't have to have it on ALL THE TIME. Only some of the time. Hallelujah!

We'll know more about how to proceed on the 23rd. Until then, we keep him down as much as possible. Which should be fun.

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