Five year old with broken arm. Experiences? Advice? - Mothering Forums

Forum Jump: 
 
Thread Tools
#1 of 15 Old 07-24-2010, 01:41 PM - Thread Starter
 
bartleby's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2003
Posts: 305
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
My 5 year old daughter broke her arm two days ago after a fall off the monkey bars. She's in a splint now, and will get her cast next week.

She's doing okay, maybe better than me. I feel guilt and sadness over the fact that I didn't see her fall, and had actually lost sight of her at the playground that day. It was a new playground for us, and it was crazy busy and has tons of tall equipment. I am also feeling sad for her that she is going to miss her favorite activities--gymnastics, swimming class, and her best friend's birthday party at one of those inflatables places. I don't think she really realizes yet how much she is going to have to miss. I don't know how long the cast will need to be on. Her pediatrician said three weeks, but he was guessing.

Any advice on how we can get through this? And advice on cast care, preparing her for getting the cast on (not sure what to expect there). Advice for easing disappointment over what she'll have to miss? (I might be underestimating her resiliency, and projecting my own sadness on to her. That's a definite possibility.)

Thanks in advance!
bartleby is offline  
#2 of 15 Old 07-24-2010, 02:37 PM
 
One_Girl's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2008
Posts: 4,735
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 35 Post(s)
My dd broke her arm when she was five. She broke it very close to the elbow and we had to go to an orthopedic surgeon to get surgery to put pins in place. She did really well. She couldn't do a lot until the cast was on so we mostly watched movies until the surgery was over and then the cast getting put on. The doctor was very calm and wonderful about the whole process, he and his staff put both of us at ease. Getting the cast on was fun for dd. Getting it off was a little scary but the nurse showed her how the saw worked and that it didn't work on paper only on the cast so she was very reassured that it wouldn't hurt her. The only thing I needed to do because of the cast was help her wash so it stayed dry. We have a detachable shower head so it was easier than it would have been otherwise.

The worst part was getting the pins out because the first hurt and I had to hold her tight so she could get the second one out. It was over quickly though and she recovered from the whole experience faster than I did. She had to have some physical therapy to make sure she could move her elbow fully. Swimming really helped speed up the process. We also had to go in six months later for x-rays to make sure it had missed the growth plates in that area (luckily it had).

Once she had the cast on she could do a lot of stuff and wasn't concerned about what she couldn't do. It took me a long time to get over my guilt, even though there was really nothing I could have done except not let her play on the playground. She was a little less of a daredevil for a while after she got the cast off, but within a few months she was back to being a daredevil again. When I reminded her of her broken arm she told me that it was okay if she had to have surgery again because she would get another stuffed bear from the hospital. Your dd will probably recover very quickly. Breaks are common, especially with girls that age because their arms hyperextend. Things will almost certainly turn out fine.
One_Girl is offline  
#3 of 15 Old 07-24-2010, 02:47 PM
 
rhiOrion's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2009
Location: Durham, NC
Posts: 4,199
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
I can give you my experience as someone who broke their arm at about that age (I had just turned 7), and at about this time of year (day after the last day of the first grade).

I don't really remember, except as a fact, the things I missed. Like, I know I couldn't go swimming, but I don't remember missing it.

I do remember some of the cool things... like I got to have a plastic bag over my arm in the tub and in the kiddie pool!

I got to play t-ball, but I batted with one hand, and someone else ran for me (or something to that effect).

I got to have people SIGN MY CAST! Coolest thing ever. And I didn't even have a real cast. I had a half cast that was held on by an Ace bandage, so people were really just signing the bandage.

I got a lot of attention.

So, don't worry toooo much. Just give her some fun things to remember about it!

Hippie sympathizer and mom to L, 4.8.10.
Pet-mom to Squirt with FLUTD & Maya the deaf wonder dog .
rhiOrion is offline  
#4 of 15 Old 07-24-2010, 02:55 PM - Thread Starter
 
bartleby's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2003
Posts: 305
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Thank you for the replies! As I said, I do think she will handle this better than I will. She woke up this morning more cheerful and her usual self. Yesterday she was insisting she wanted to stay home the entire time her arm was in a cast, didn't want to see anyone or do anything, but I think she's changed her mind on that.

I imagine I will be nervous about her on a playground for a long while after, but I know these things are almost impossible to prevent.
bartleby is offline  
#5 of 15 Old 07-25-2010, 12:01 AM
 
Marimami's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2005
Posts: 807
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Ah, so sorry you are going through this! I think I wrote this same post 4 months ago!

My then 5.5 yo daughter had the dubious distinction of being the first official monkey bar injury of Spring '10 at our local, large university hospital. Her break was a pretty severe one to her elbow.

I won't lie.. it was a pretty awful situation. We had the ER visit, hospital stay, urgent surgery to insert a screw to keep the bone together, and then she had to keep her arm in a splint for 2 weeks for the swelling to go down from the surgery. Those were the hardest because we couldn't get a good fit in her carseat with the splint so we kept her housebound.

I stocked up on all kinds of new games and activities and gave her a new surprise to open daily during that time. She's a super active kid, and it was killing her to lose gymnastics, yoga, horseback riding. I tried to find lots of active indoor things she could do one-handed, like a nerf basketball net, indoor bowling set, toss across, and also just got bunches of new board games, art supplies, etc. Luckily she broke her non-dominant hand but until she got the cast on, she couldn't move her arm at all even to hold paper in place, etc. She also had no clothes to wear the first couple of days until I could send DH out to find button-up shirts because we had none!

Once she got her cast on, it got a LOT better. Clothing was so much easer. Bathing was still a hassle because even though we got one of the waterproof covers, her cast was from her hand to nearly her shoulder and it was difficult to get a good seal. She was able to hold on to things with her casted arm, etc. She was so active again that sometimes it was easy to forget she had a broken arm.

A word of caution though.. we have since learned that many kids have additional injuries while wearing their cast. DD had a completely freak fall where she was just walking through the room, tripped, couldn't catch herself and ended up hitting her temple on the metal back of a chair. That required another ER visit nearly 1 month to the day. To be honest, that experience of stitches was almost worse than the broken arm, and it's taken that much longer to heal!

She had the cast on for 6 weeks I think it was, which was 8 weeks from when the fall happened. At that point, it still wasn't completely healed which her doctor said was expected with the severity of her break. We went back a month later, and it was finally healed completely. In fact, he was pretty astonished by how well it had healed, but DD was super super careful with it, particularly before it was in the cast.

She still has another surgery pending to remove the screw they had inserted, but he was happy to have us wait until the end of summer.

You really can't tell at all that she had a break. She is back doing all her activities again and swimming has been amazing therapy I think! My heart totally skipped though when she and DH announced that she went on the monkey bars again last week...

If you'd like anymore specific tips or suggestions, please PM me! I am happy to share whatever info might help!

Holli
Marimami is offline  
#6 of 15 Old 07-25-2010, 09:24 AM
 
Softmama's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2003
Posts: 1,035
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
2 of my kids have broken their arms now.

the first break we had he was very little (only 13 months) and required surgery and pins. His cast went all the way up to his armpit. So for him I had to cut a slit into the sleeves of all his shirts for them to fit over the cast or he had to wear sleeveless (so I guess it was good that it was in the summer!).

The second break was my oldest and happened when he was 5. It was his forearm, so he was able to wear short sleeved shirts without a problem. To bathe I put a plastic bag (secured with a rubber band) over it and made him takes baths instead of showers (with his arm hanging over the side to keep it dry). He thought the coolest thing in the world was having people sign it.

I think the entire experience is much harder for the mom than the kid. They figure out pretty quickly what they can and can't do and adjust really well.
Softmama is offline  
#7 of 15 Old 07-25-2010, 09:34 AM
 
velochic's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2002
Location: Dreaming of the Bavarian Alps
Posts: 8,413
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Dd broke her foot and was in a cast for 6 weeks when she was 4 years old. Really, she just adapted to it and was fine. The casts they use these days are really durable and waterproof, so other than playing on the playground, it didn't affect her activities.

I will say that once the last cast came off, she was reluctant to use the foot. She didn't want to walk on it... and couldn't explain why she didn't want to walk on it. I think it just felt funny to have the cast off. A few days later and she was right as rain. So, perhaps you should expect some psychological resistance to the cast and having it off again, but really, our experience was quick adjustment and no real problems with anything. Good luck and I hope your little one feels better soon!
velochic is offline  
#8 of 15 Old 07-25-2010, 01:32 PM - Thread Starter
 
bartleby's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2003
Posts: 305
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
It is so helpful to hear everyone's stories. Really! At this point, she is four days post-fall and I can't tell people about it without my voice cracking a little and choking up a bit, but my daughter is already confidently telling people, "Oh, yeah, I fell off the monkey bars. It's a fracture. I'm getting a cast on Wednesday." Like it's no biggie.

Thank you for the suggestions for one-handed activities. My daughter is an active kid too--swimming, gymnastics, biking--and my immediate reaction was: What are we going to do for the rest of the summer???? But, yesterday we went to my family's little cabin on the water for the day, and she had a blast, even with her arm in the splint. She could still fish, play with sand one-handed (plastic bags do come in handy for coverage), talk to her grandparents, bother the dog , eat, and more. I don't think she felt like she missed out on anything. I do think she doesn't quite get that her swimming lessons and gymnastics are totally out for quite a while, but we're taking it one day at a time here. And, again, she's doing better than I am!

I admit, I was feeling some anxiety about long-term implications of the break since it's a wrist bone on her dominant arm. I imagined her having difficulty writing or doing similar activities for a long time after getting the cast off. But, we haven't even seen the orthopedic specialist yet, so I can't get ahead of myself. Plus, I have to remind myself that kids heal so much better than adults, generally speaking.

Thanks again for the support!
bartleby is offline  
#9 of 15 Old 07-26-2010, 05:09 PM
 
Evan&Anna's_Mom's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2003
Location: So. CA
Posts: 4,477
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
DS has broken his arm twice (once on each arm), both in the summer time, at ages 5 and 7. Biggest advice -- If you don't have a cast yet, ask about a waterproof one before they do it!!! Our insurance didn't cover the difference between regular and waterproof, but it was about $50 extra and worth every penny (and then some). With the waterproof cast he could shower/bathe normally and swim in the pool. It made a huge difference in his summer. He still ran around a lot those summers and did almost everthing he would normally have done. It really was only about a month (maybe 6 weeks for the 2nd one) for each time, so its not forever.

As for missing things, gymnastics is probably pretty out. DS missed most of one baseball season though he still went to the games and helped by being the scorekeeper. Inflatable places usually ban casts from the actual play floor, but she could still go for cake if she wanted. A lot of times we found that there was a way to do part of an activity that was important, even if not all of it. We also found some "special" things to do that were completely possible -- more trips to the zoo ect. those summers.

Do warn her that the cast coming off doesn't immediately mean back to normal activity. I think that was what frustrated DS the most -- cast was off but it took a couple more weeks before he could got back to baseball, and I imagine back to gymnastics might be longer.

And, of course, if she still has the cast when/if she starts school, there is all of the excitement of getting it signed and such.

You will both live. And while parts of it will be hard / frustrating / painful, some of it will be easier than you expected. And it makes a great story.
Evan&Anna's_Mom is offline  
#10 of 15 Old 07-26-2010, 06:13 PM - Thread Starter
 
bartleby's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2003
Posts: 305
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Evan&Anna'sMom,

Could he really actually swim? I am definitely asking for a waterproof cast, but I was assuming that that meant it was okay to get it a little wet, but not totally submerged. Also, even if it could get totally wet I assumed it would be too cumbersome to swim with. No?
bartleby is offline  
#11 of 15 Old 07-26-2010, 06:26 PM
 
Katie T's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2008
Location: Iowa
Posts: 2,494
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
My DD1 broke her arm the day before she turned 5. She broke it right before the growth plate by her elbow. The night she broke it they put a splint on and told us to come back at a set day (after swelling went down) to get it a cast. I don't remember how much later as this was 5 yrs ago.

When we went in to get the cast they did what looked like a half a cast that went from her wrist to her armpit then used ace bandage over the entire thing. It was only on about 3 wks that she had to have that and when they took it off it hurt her arm to straighten it. I hadn't even thought about that to warn DD. She actually asked for her cast back. Poor thing.

The 3 wks went fast and she did fine. We put a bag on her arm so she could still take baths. I know they sell things to put over casts so people can still swim. We bought one when DH broke his hand do she could shower himself.

I hope the wks speed through so your DD can get back to her summer. Don't beat yourself up, accidents happen and kids will be kids.

~Katie~ married to J, mom to DD- A 13 yrs ,DS- L 7yrs , and my little nursling DD2- R 5yrs.

crochetsmilie.gif

Katie T is offline  
#12 of 15 Old 07-26-2010, 06:48 PM
 
Evan&Anna's_Mom's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2003
Location: So. CA
Posts: 4,477
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Quote:
Originally Posted by bartleby View Post
Evan&Anna'sMom,

Could he really actually swim? I am definitely asking for a waterproof cast, but I was assuming that that meant it was okay to get it a little wet, but not totally submerged. Also, even if it could get totally wet I assumed it would be too cumbersome to swim with. No?
He actually finished his swim class with it. Yes, he was clumsy and made a lot of splashes but it could get totally wet without injury to the arm or cast. They did say only in clean chlorinated pools due to the possibility of bacteria in natural water and sand at the beach. I think they also said to let it dry completely between swimming sessions -- I think he swam twice a week that summer. I even remember him diving with it. He said it was a little awkward and a little heavy, but not as bad as it seemed. This was a cast from below the elbow to his hand -- it probably wouldn't have been possible if it had included his elbow so he couldn't bend more-or-less naturally. It will probably depend on where the break is -- his was almost at the wrist.

It also meant he could continue with normal bath/shower without help -- important for a 5 and 7 YO (2 different years, 2 different arms) who got dirty/sweaty and didn't want mommy in the bathroom anymore.
Evan&Anna's_Mom is offline  
#13 of 15 Old 07-26-2010, 11:20 PM
 
Marimami's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2005
Posts: 807
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Our ortho would not do waterproof cast. They said that they didn't really work well. So, we didn't have the option.

Holli
Marimami is offline  
#14 of 15 Old 07-26-2010, 11:27 PM
 
lynsage's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2004
Posts: 1,244
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Make sure you tell her to stay off the swings- I re-fractured my healing broken arm when I was a kid, by putting my weight on it when swinging, and had several more weeks in the cast- the novelty had THOROUGHLY worn off by the time I finally had it removed for good
lynsage is offline  
#15 of 15 Old 07-27-2010, 12:56 AM - Thread Starter
 
bartleby's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2003
Posts: 305
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
I really think I am going to have to ask the doctor to make a list of things my daughter is allowed to do while healing, and what she cannot do. As it is now with the splint, she is clearly trying to figure out what she can still do with her arm. I think she thinks that as long as it's in a splint or cast, she can do whatever she wants, which I don't think is exactly true. Last thing we need is more time in a cast!

Bummer that waterproof casts are not necessarily an option. I guess I'll just have to ask. I don't think she will be devastated not swimming, but it would be nice to at least be able to splash around this summer. We shall see.
bartleby is offline  
Reply

Quick Reply
Message:
Drag and Drop File Upload
Drag files here to attach!
Upload Progress: 0
Options

Register Now

In order to be able to post messages on the Mothering Forums forums, you must first register.
Please enter your desired user name, your email address and other required details in the form below.
User Name:
If you do not want to register, fill this field only and the name will be used as user name for your post.
Password
Please enter a password for your user account. Note that passwords are case-sensitive.
Password:
Confirm Password:
Email Address
Please enter a valid email address for yourself.
Email Address:

Log-in

Human Verification

In order to verify that you are a human and not a spam bot, please enter the answer into the following box below based on the instructions contained in the graphic.



User Tag List

Thread Tools
Show Printable Version Show Printable Version
Email this Page Email this Page


Forum Jump: 

Posting Rules  
You may post new threads
You may post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are On
Pingbacks are On
Refbacks are Off