Thursday, November 11, 2010

Why Did We Have to Be Such Good Parents?!

It was Sunday afternoon. The weather was actually pretty nice - a sunny autumn day. But the girls all wanted to go skating. We haven't been skating since last winter, and Hannah's class will be going skating soon as a class field-trip. So, she wanted to practice up a bit. I really didn't want to go skating because I'm still fighting a bad cold, plus I'm basically a lazy person, and Karla didn't really feel like going either. As we were getting dressed to go, Karla said something like "Are we good parents, or what?" "The best", I said.

So, we drove to Bill Copeland Sports Centre in central Burnaby. As we got out of the van, Karla said "It's far too nice a day to be inside an arena". We should have listened to her.

We waited in line to pay the entrance fee, skate rental fees (Ellie and Sasha have outgrown their skates), and the helmet rental fees. After 15 mintes of tying skates and adjusting helmet straps, we were on the ice.

We weren't on the ice long though. In fact, I got one picture:

The next picture I got was this one:

Too bad they don't make everyone rent elbow pads too.

Yes - as a lot of you reading this will know already, Karla fell on the ice and broke her elbow. Of course, at the time, we didn't know if was broken, but I certainly suspected it was, just from her description of it and reaction at the arena. She was hot and nauseous, her lower arm and hand were numb, she couldn't move it much, and she was in serious pain.

Backing up a bit . . . I didn't actually see it happen. I was helping Ellie learn to skate when a young man came over to and said "Your wife is looking for you. She's hurt herself. She's over there." When I saw Karla sitting on the ice, the first thing I thought of was her back. I figured she'd wrenched it or something. Her immediate need was to get her jacket off. She was so hot and sweaty. Then, I helped her get up off the ice and into the dressing area.

Karla had been helping Sasha, skating behind her, when she (Sasha) slipped and fell. Karla was off balance at the moment, and that caused her to fall backwards and her elbow slammed into the ice. Hard. She kept saying that she felt like she might throw up and that "something just isn't right". I managed to get everyone's paraphenalia off and get ready to go to the hospital amid a huge crowd of people. It just happened that the Zamboni had to clean the ice at that moment, so all the people had to get off the ice. It was a zoo in there, so the workers finally clued in that Karla might not be comfortable there and moved her into an empty room.

After the requisite paperwork was filled out, we left for the nearest hospital, Burnaby General. Fortunately, it was only about 7 minutes away. Also fortunate was that Karla didn't have to wait long to be seen by a doctor. Within 30 minutes of walking in the door, Karla was having x-rays done. The picture above is Karla waiting for the doctor to come back with the results of the x-rays. We soon found out that at least one bone was broken, with a possible second small crack in another place.

The emergency doctor put Karla in a temporary cast as we waited for the on-call orthopedic surgeon to call the hospital. We waited and waited but no call. Finally, I asked why we needed to sit there and wait. Why couldn't she just phone us when he calls back? She agreed but jokingly said something about how her shift was over an hour-and-a-half ago and she wanted to go home too, so if she has to wait, so do we. Ha ha. Good one doc. Bye.

We picked up Subway for supper on the way home. During supper, the emergency doctor phoned with the arrangements. The orthopedic surgeon on-call happened to be based out of Chilliwack. Chilliwack! That's over an hour away from Burnaby. Apparently, there's a pool of orthopedic surgeons that cover the entire Fraser Valley area. At any one time there are three doctors on call. Each on-call doctor takes five calls in a row and then it's the next on-call doctor's turn. We just happened to get the one in Chilliwack.

So, Karla got an appointment at 11:00 a.m. on Wenesday to see Dr. Locht - in Chilliwack. I took the day off work to drive her.

Here's Karla sitting in the hallway waiting for another set of x-rays.

As she was getting her x-rays done, I spoke to an older gentleman with a cane who looked to be in considerable pain as he sat down. We chatted for a bit and he told me his story. He had been a truck driver until two years ago when a woman committed suicide by driving her car into his truck on the highway. He almost lost his left leg in the accident. When he woke up in a hospital bed, he had an artificial left knee - all metal from the middle of his thigh to the middle of his calf. He hasn't been allowed to drive a truck since because he can't pass the medical. Now his right knee was bothering him, likely because he's compensating for his left knee. Then there's the psychological injury to deal with on top of all the physical pain. Makes a broken elbow not seem so bad, eh? So I told Karla his story.

Dr. Locht showed us the new x-rays and I took a photo. I couldn't tell where the crack is. Can you?

The crack is indicated by the two small, darkish areas on the right. "Karla has a lateral humeral condyle fracture". Okay doc, whatever you say. Well, not exactly. We sent this picture to a doctor friend who is friends with an orthopedic surgeon or two - just to get an informal second opinion. Doc #2 says Dr. Locht is right on the money. Turns out Dr. Locht actually taught Doc #2. We feel better.

Karla now has an elbow splint that is wrapped in a tensor bandage. She can take it off to shower (and scratch her arm). And surgery probably isn't required since the bone isn't displaced at all, but this will be re-evaluated in 3 weeks. She's supposed to take the splint off several times a day to exercise her elbow - to prevent it from stiffening up too much. Problem is, moving it is really, really painful.

This is Karla's right elbow.

This is Karla's left elbow.

You could say it's a bit swollen and bruised.

The prognosis is good though. Despite how painful it is now, apparently this type of injury is supposed to heal fairly quickly. She should be ready to start learning how to ski by January.

Maybe I'll get her some elbow pads for Christmas.


  1. yeouch. That looks nasty. I'm sure Karla loved having her photo taken while she sat in pain at the hospital. Sheesh. But it does make for good blog storytelling.

    Thinking of you Karla. I hope the pain lessens quickly.

  2. Karla wins the 'best parent ever' award hands down. Hope it heals up quick. Real quick.

  3. I'm so sorry Karla. That looks so painful. I hope it at least gets you out of doing some household chores. ;)


  4. mike, i'm glad you were there when this all happened and karla didn't have to rely on strangers to help her with everything! what a long ordeal, waiting to be seen by docs, having tests...all with tremendous pain.
    thanks mike for the "full story".
    we send lots of love.

  5. Ouch. Ouch. Ouch. Karla, I want you to feel better NOW so that's what I prayed... And Mike you are a prince. As well as head cook and bottle washer now! Hang in there both of you. You are loved. Di

  6. I hope your elbow's better soon, Karla! Lots of love from Thea :)

  7. Dr Polle says get better soon! So do I! It does make quite the story, though, thanks for that, Mike.

  8. well, that should learn you to listen to your inner voice of laziness and practicality.

    ouch. Sorry, Karla, that just isn't fair!