Tuesday, 19 January 2010

The toddler fracture tale


I spent much of yesterday at Westmead Kids hospital.

My poor little daughter (1 year) started crawling strangely on Sunday after a tumble off the side of a low deck. She was otherwise happy, but the Monte Python silly-walk style crawl was consistently present all afternoon. I didn't think too much of it, but when she was still doing it the next day, I thought it best that I take her to a doctor.

The GP we saw was concerned and wanted me to get an x-ray of her leg. I tossed up all the options (private xray vs local hospital vs kids hospital) and thought that I should go straight to the hospital because when you are juggling 4 kids, the one stop shop seemed like a winner.

My M-i-l was happy to mind my 2 older boys (The Geege was still at work) and they ended up staying at her place for the night (phew!). So it was just me and the twins that went to Westmead Kids and we arrived at 4.45pm.

I hadn't eaten anything since lunch, so grabbed an enormous coke to keep me going. I had managed to scramble together some snacks for the babies, so I fed them on arrival and sat in the waiting lounge to be seen by a doctor. I was told it would take 1-2 hours.

The babies were unbelievably well behaved. They charmed everyone in the waiting room and I had more than one offer to adopt them if I ever got sick of them (not likely!).

Time ticked away and Dew Drop eventually reminded me that playing on the floor with toys and smiling at people at 8pm is not usually part of the bedtime routine by starting to grizzle up. He screamed his lungs out (I mean ear-pearcing) for 30 mins while I did laps of the hospital foyer trying to get him off to sleep (WW Bonus Points?). Funnily this was not the moment that people were offering to take them off my hands...

The Geege was calling me at this point trying to arrange to get a car to come over to the hospital to help me (we only have one car and he rides his bike to work), but I thought that was all too hard, and we wouldn't be much longer would we?

So Dew Drop went to sleep for a couple of hours, while the Minx (the patient) remained awake. She was delightfully delirious and we had lots of fun laughing and playing until we were (finally) seen by a doctor at 9.45pm. Yep. Five hours waiting!
It is really quite amazing to me that anyone should have to wait in an Emergency Department for five hours before even being examined or sent for tests or anything. Isn't our health care system meant to be one of the best in the world? Unbelievable.

I was lucky that my fellow waiters were pleasant and chatty and equally put out by the waiting they were participating in. They helped us pass the time. One of the women was doing Weight Watchers too (a new recruit to the meetings program in her local area), so we chatted about good food options for dinner from the hospital canteen. I got duped and had a Chicken Caesar wrap, which turned out to be about 8 Points (I kept the label off the box and looked it up this morning) and not at all filling. Luckily I had plenty of Points to spend - there wasn't much opportunity to eat whilst occupying twins in an Emergency department!

I spoke to my Mum at one stage to let her know what was going on (or wasn't as the case were) and she said "Can't they see you have two small babies? Surely babies are a priority?" I had to point out that most of the people waiting were with babies. How DO they prioritise one non-vomiting baby over another?

Anyway, we did eventually get seen (I did a little celebratory dance when they called our name which amused the nurse who came to collect us) and the Minx was diagnosed with a "toddler fracture to the tibia". A broken leg caused by a twisting injury. Poor little thing. So brave. She was incredibly good when they did the x-rays and put the plaster cast on. I was so proud of her.

The doctor was apologetic about how long we had waited with a baby girl with a broken leg. I think we may have had a higher priority had they taken the time to xray her sometime in the five hours prior to meeting with the doctor? Even with a letter from the GP REQUESTING an xray, we still had to wait 5 hours to get one. Incredible. You may be getting the message that the waiting was not kosher?

So, after all of that, we got home at midnight. The bubs went straight to sleep. I was exhausted. The irony of the situation started to become obvious. I am the mother of three boys and the first trip to the ED for a broken limb was because of my baby girl! Funny.

The Minx is doing well today, crawling around dragging her plaster along. I am bracing myself for the follow-up appointment at the orthopaedics clinic on Thursday morning at Westmead Kids. Surely if you have an appointment you don't have to wait for 5 hours???

* Weight loss update: Week 3 weigh in was yesterday. I lost another 1.1 kg! So that is 6.1kgs in three weeks. Unbelievable really, considering I am in no way starving myself. I am really happy and the success I am having is giving me motivation to go on. Even after my birthday blow-out last Monday I have still managed to lose weight. So great!

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