Saturday, October 20, 2012

Broken Bones

Our school system has a new calendar called Balanced Calendar. It means students had two weeks off for Fall Break instead of just two days, and will have two weeks off for Spring Break as well, but then a shorter summer (I think it's 8 weeks.)  Autism and balanced calendars don't really go together for single working moms.  I decided to send him to the YMCA program where I figured they would keep him busy all day playing.  He did amazingly well all week.  I was pretty shocked, as he knew no one going in the first day. All week I had my cell phone attached to me at work, expecting a call any minute saying, "This boy is out of control, come pick him up."  Nope, each day at pick up they said, "he had a good day!"

But when I picked him up Thursday the lady said, "he said he fell and hurt his arm this morning. He took a nap and laid on it and slept." To her credit, it didn't really look broken. No bruising. A slight bump. But very hot. And he was definitely holding it wrong, favoring it. 

After I knew it was broken, I came back the next day and spoke with the staff supervisor, who had the director call me.  I made sure to tell both of them that in future, if a child with Autism says anything hurts, you call their mom immediately. They often have very high pain tolerance and it's rare that you will hear them complain about pain. I feel bad that he had to spend his whole day in pain before I got there, but I'm not angry with the staff because they didn't know any better.

In the car I asked Hayden how much it hurt, a little, a lot, or zero.  "A lot."  Hmm. If 1 is a happy face and 10 is a very sad face and crying, how much does it hurt, 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 or 10?  "10"  Are you sure it doesn't hurt maybe a 7 or 8? "No, it's a 10." So we picked up Rylie and I told Hayden we were going to the doctor to get an x-ray. "Oh, it's only a 4 now." A few minutes later:  "it's only a 2. I don't need any shots."  I told him, "you don't need shots. You'll get an x-ray. It's a picture. Pictures don't hurt. How much does it hurt now?"  "Only 2 or 3."  Hmm...

It's hard to tell in the picture above.  But when he fell the doctor said his bones crumpled, like when you step on a soda can and it crumples up.  The arrows point to where the bone broke. In the top picture on the left bone you can see how it should be straight but bunches out at the side.  

Rylie helped in the waiting room at MedCheck by stealing Hayden's noise-blocking headphones for herself. 

And coloring.  She was being super cute.

Once Rylie got into this room, however:

She decided to scream at the top of her lungs, destroy the paper on the exam table, try to pull over the trash can, bang on the door and shout "Close!," escape to the hall when the nurses came in, tried to push buttons on the equipment in the x-ray room, and essentially make herself out to be the most misbehaved child I've ever seen.  She didn't want to be held, she wanted to thrash around on the floor and destroy things. The nurses tried to bribe her with candy, toys, and Gatorade. The Gatorade would have worked but she couldn't figure out how to drink out of it. They brought her a straw, but it was too big and she couldn't make it work. At this point I remembered I had sippy cups in the car from the morning and dragged her, limp noodle screaming style, out to the car and back in with the sippy cup.  It looked kind of like this: 

Only louder. In the parking lot she threw herself to the ground right as another car came by to park, and the passenger was looking at me like I'd just thrown my child on the pavement. By the time we got back in the room the nurses and doctor had finished making Hayden a temporary cast and sling and we were able to leave a few minutes later. She was silent the whole ride home. Of course she was.

Hayden was so good with Rylie's screaming. It was as if they'd switched roles for the evening. Usually he would have started screaming, too, making me doubly stressed-out and embarrassed.

Therefore the next morning I took Rylie to daycare while Hayden and I went to Ortho Indy to get Hayden his real cast. He made sure to tell everyone we saw there that he needed "a red cast and no shots."

This day went well until his ibuprofen ran out. Then he had an almost-meltdown about getting in the car to get Rylie from daycare.  It took me 15 minutes to get him into the car. He said it hurt 'alot-alot'. : (  Once I got him in the car he had his full meltdown because, in his opinion, juice boxes can only be held with two hands. 

Here's how the conversation went: 

"I can't hold it! I can't do it!"
"Hayden, you only need one hand to hold a juice box." 
"But that's not the same!  I need two hands!" (started crying)
"Hayden, it's not a big deal. You can still do it."
"No!  I can't!" (kicking the back of my seat like a maniac.)
"Hayden, I don't like when you kick my seat. Please stop."
After a few more attempts at reason I give up and just was quiet. Sometimes this gives him time to reflect and he quiets down.  After several more minutes of kicking my seat and screaming, he got quiet. Then he said, "You're right. I'm going to try what you said... Hey, it works! You're right!"


He cheered up a bit when he saw Rylie. 

On the way home in the car he said:
"Rylie, I got a new guy today. His name is Two Face. Can you say Two Face?" 
She stared at him. 
H: "Can you say two?" 
Rylie: "Three four... five." 
H: No, say two. 
Say Face. 
"Face." She smiles and nods.
Say Two Face. 
"No." (Shaking her head and smiling.)
Say Two Face.
"Bob. Spider up. Wash and... Yay!!" (Clapping)
H: "Mom, she won't say it!"

Sorry little bud. Nonconformity is in her genes.

We have survived the first week of the broken arm and Hayden is doing pretty well.  He was already fairly ambidextrous before, so he has easily switched to eating, writing, and using the computer mouse with his left hand. Wiping after using the restroom is kind of an issue... And playing the Wii doesn't work very well, unless it's Mario Kart where he just has to push one button.  For the most part he doesn't complain.

He doesn't like the sling and won't wear it. He insists on his shirts and jackets being pushed up above the cast. He won't let us write on it to sign our names. He picks at the white undercover. I'm a bit frightened of him when he's having a tantrum, because he doesn't know how much damage he can do (to Rylie) swinging that big cast around. 

We go in a week for the doctor to check him and see how he's doing.  At that point he may be able to take off the top part of the cast so it's not over his elbow.

Let's end on a good note with our pre-incident Target photo shoot:

The second one is my favorite, because he asked if he could try the glasses on and that's how he was standing there for a second, just staring in the little mirror with his mouth open!


TeacherJ said...

I love your description of Rylie in the doctor's office. Every mom has been there and you feel like everyone thinks you must be the worst mom on the planet. And Cal has definitely done the throw himself to the ground thing and people looked at me as if I flung him there. Good times. Love the photo shoot at the end. Whatever may happen, you are doing it right!

Sheila Damron said...

Thanks Jesica! I always try to smile at moms when their kids are acting like hooligans, so they know I get it. :)