Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Dr. Mom strikes again

In the spirit of the what-else-can-come-our-way lifestyle that seems to plague my boyz and me, Tuesday evening brought more trouble our way.

Grant and Gavin were at a friend’s house playing and Grant came running home screaming and crying. He had fallen and bent a finger backwards. He was in terrible agony, but was able to move his fingers some. He can be quite dramatic at times, too, especially at the sight of blood. However, there was no blood. Because he could move his fingers some and the finger did not look out of alignment, I knew he had strained or sprained it and some time would minimize his pain. I googled ‘broken and dislocated fingers’ to confirm my theory and felt quite comfortable with my diagnosis.

Naturally, this all happened on a night when I had a babysitter line up due to plans w my bf and on the eve of a trip to see family in Kentucky and Missouri for a few days.

Because of our impending trip, I decided to take him to prompt care to have it looked at because he was quite relentless with his insistence that he could not move it without pain.

While at prompt care, he was able to regain some motion in the finger (his right hand ring finger) and started talking a lot about “if it’s broken, can I call Mommo as soon as we get home and tell her.” Or “if it’s broken, I bet Gavin won’t even believe it.” I began to get the impression that he WANTED a broken bone – as if it would be some sort of bragging right or some sort of kid-rite-of-passage into coolness. So, I explained to him that he did not WANT this to be broken and listed all kinds of things that would become a pain in the butt if in fact it WAS broken, not the least of which was our mini spring break vacation that may not happen. I was convinced as his range of motion continued to increase and his pain level continued to decrease that the finger had been strained and was getting better with time just as I had suspected.

I declared to Grant a few times in the waiting room that if his finger was better and it really wasn’t hurt, this was a waste of time and money. I told him that there was no way he would be able to keep moving his finger like that if it was broken or dislocated. I was increasingly convinced he WANTED a broken bone. When we were finally called back to the exam room an hour later, the nurse asked what we were there for. I retorted, “We are here to waste your time.” Yes, I really said that. The doc came in a few minutes later, pushed on and rotated the finger. It seemed to cause no discomfort to Grant until he pushed just below the first knuckle.

He ordered an x-ray. I knew after the x-ray that it was not broken because when Grant was demonstrating the poses he had to do with his hand and finger, he did them with the wrong finger. I quite sarcastically pointed out that he was holding the wrong finger. He said he keeps forgetting which finger. I knew it wasn’t broken or dislocated for sure then, as only a mom can know.

In fact, I KNEW it wasn’t broken or dislocated as only a mom can know until the doctor came in and said, “Well, he broke it.”


(deep breath)

(proverbial tail between my legs, head hung very low)

“Grant, I am SO VERY SORRY for not thinking it was broken,” I said, hugging him.

Grant looked kind of panicked then and said, “So it IS broken?”

“Yup. It sure is, Bud.”

“What’s gonna happen?”

“They are going to wrap it up and we will have to see a special bone doctor to get it looked at again and they can tell us how to take best care of it.”

He got kind of excited about entering the elite club of those plagued with broken bones asking me if he could call Mommo when he got home now and once again declaring that he bet Gavin would NOT EVEN BELIEVE it when he showed him. Having been a member of the elite club of those plagued with broken bones as an adult, I knew it was not a club of which you want to be a member. The glory wears off quickly, but the inconvenience continues for weeks.

This doctor mom realized her track record for diagnosing broken bones is NOT A GOOD ONE. And even though I vowed to stop practicing medicine and making home diagnosis that day, I did not learn from my own mistakes.

Today, I am awaiting call backs (over 2 hours later) from the pediatrician because our insurance situation requires a referral from the primary physician even though they did not even see Grant. Alas, we are slave to the system, so we impatiently await the return phone calls now. Our trip is inevitably delayed, but we do not know to what extent until we receive the appointment time.

My family's track record of broken bones always falls on dates when events are planned. Gavin broke his wrist on my anniversary. I broke my foot on home leave from Canada the day we were heading from Peoria to Perryville to celebrate Gavin's 5th birthday. Grant broke his finger the day before we were leaving for Spring Break vacation.

Today, Grant is also learning that a broken bone is not exactly as glamorous as he had originally thought and the litany of reasons I gave him in the waiting room (which I naturally regret) as to why he would NOT want a broken bone are all, in fact, true. Today I am working with a very grumpy 7 year old to have a better attitude about his situation because we have to make the best of it for a yet-to-be-determined amount of time. Still, a 7-year old who just realized he cannot easily feed himself or open the milk, and worse yet, operate the Wii remote control with his fingers, is a difficult audience to convince. I don’t blame him one bit, but we are all continually developing our patience and our come-what-may response and attitude.

Ironically, just 24 hours prior to said incident causing the broken bone (which was nothing more than running in a neighbor’s yard), he and his brother were doing this for the first time ever. They walked away from this without a scratch.



  1. First off, ALWAYS go for the x-ray with a finger. Fingers are tricky and if you wait past 3 days you end up with surgery.

    Secondly, did I ever tell you the story of how my son walked around on a broken foot for 3 days before I took him in. And that was only because his brother had an ear infection re-check scheduled. Bad Mom!

    I hope your plans get back on track soon.

  2. Welcome to the doctor mom club, I'm president. Big Sis broke her ARM, and I blew it off. Yes I did. Told her it was just sprained, until she held it up and I saw that it was bent between her wrist and elbow. :gag:

    I hope Grant enjoys the extra attention and that you get to reschedule your date.

    (I'm buying you a cyber might need one at the end of this week! ;-)

  3. hey angie-boys bring many broken bones, we have managed 2 broken legs 1 broken wrist 1 broken finger 2 broken arms 1 broken collar bone a few stitches and stress fractures...yep all in the life of multiple boys!!!! :) I must say that Ken is actually the bad doctor- I must have a degree, I am averaging 100% in correct diagnoses!!! :) Rhonda

  4. Oh girl...I spent ALL of last Spring Break (09) going from one doc to the next for Samuel's possible broken arm. I sooo understand. (His did not end up being broken after all.)

  5. Don't beat yourself up. We all do these things. I hope you get going on your trip soon! Sending healing thoughts.

  6. Claire was sure she sprained her ankle yesterday while at a friends house. I like you have taken it with stride and not thought too much of it. Being a mom and knowing the right course of action is tough. I hope you can get to your plans and that Grant adjusts to his new situation. How long til it will be healed. Praying for you all.

  7. I guess we've all been 6 year old son played soccer with a broken foot! I felt like a bad mom for months!!

  8. I would have done the same thing, Angie. In fact, if you ask my oldest daughter, who was about the same age as your son at the time, she'll tell you that I did.

  9. Boo....what a bummer. Don't feel bad - we made Abbie sleep on her broken elbow all night before I took her to the doctor about it. OOPS! Hope he is doing ok!

  10. I had a son who broke his foot at school and stayed at school all day because he did not want to be a "wimp". By the time he returned home he was wimpery alot. Hope Garwin heals real quick. Kids usually do. Then back to your plans just a little late. take care.....

  11. You are singing to the choir sista! All us mom's are doctors and we tend to diagnose our are not alone! By the way...did Grant call his Mommo and tell her about his finger? You really should become a writer...your stories crack me up!

    Becky Cooper
    Plano, TX