Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Blue Palm, Swollen Fingers...this can't be good.

UPDATE: THANK YOU SO MUCH to all of you who twittered me with advice (and your sympathy and concern for the Rhino). We went back to the doctor, who took another look to verify that although he has numerous broken blood vessels in the hand, no ligaments or tendons appear to be torn, and since no bones are broken, he SHOULD be able to start using the hand on Monday. Until then, he has an ace bandage and the doctor recommend a sling to keep the hand elevated as well. You're all great, thanks for responding! ~Viv

This is the Rhino's hand after his Birthday party this weekend. In case it doesn't show up well, yes, his palm is blue. And that middle finger? It really is about twice as wide as each of his other fingers.

What happened? Well, I 'll tell you. It was a sleep-over party, the kind where kids don't really sleep, but stay up late all night playing videogames and drinking energy drinks and celebrating being thirteen and officially teenagers. At least, that's what they were supposed to be doing. But somewhere around midnight, when the Engineer and I had gone to bed, after all the pizza and ice-cream birthday cake had been served and eaten and cleared away, someone (and I suspect it was Big Brother Owl) thought it would be a great idea to play hide-and-seek. In the dark. With the lights out.

Now, if you have read my blog since the beginning, you might remember that the Rhino is my accident-prone child. If there is a wall, he will run into it. If something is on the floor (usually something he left there), he will stub his toe on it. If he has to carry something, half of it is likely to end up on the floor. He says this is because he is "unlucky." I prefer the word "careless." But I digress.

So, they are playing hide-and-seek in the dark, these 13 and 15 year-olds, and of course someone hits his hand on the door, and of course it is the Rhino. I would expect something like that to happen.

But this is where it gets interesting.

No one, not the Rhino or his brother or any of their friends, who are good kids, A and B students and usually level-headed (for the most part) and mature for their ages, no one thinks to wake up the parents.

Instead, they find the surgical tape and bandages (which, yes, I do have in the house, as prior experience has taught me it pays to be prepared), and they wrap the Rhino's fingers together, and he puts ice on the hand right away (which is actually a good move and what I might have done).

So, hours later, I wake up and go out with the Engineer to get breakfast ready for the kids, and find out what happened, and all hell breaks loose because (remember the picture?) his hand is blue, and swollen, and he has spent most of his birthday party watching the other kids play the videogames, unable to join in because he can't even straighten out his finger.

At this point, since all those hours passed without us knowing about the injury, it seems best to just wait until Monday morning (this all happened in the wee hours of Sunday) and take the Rhino to his doctor.

Which I do, and the nurse practitioner is filling in, and she takes one look at the blue, swollen hand (even after I've been feeding the kid ibuprofen and making him keep icing it), and scribbles out an X-ray order with "STAT" written on it in big letters, and I take the Rhino down to the hospital (which he is somewhat familiar with, after the last injury) for X-rays of the hand. I was assured we'd have some news by early afternoon.

And then we wait. And wait. And wait some more. Until, finally, I call the doctor's office, and they haven't even seen the Xrays yet. So, they will call the hospital and get back to me.

That was Monday. By Tuesday morning, I was all over the phone, the Rhino still home from school, the hand still blue, and no better off than before. I played phone tag with the doctor, who finally called in the afternoon to say, basically, "No bones broken or sprained, keep giving him ibuprofen, and if it is still swollen in a week, come back."

So, today the Rhino went back to school, with his hand wrapped in an Ace bandage, and he will have to have someone else write for him, since it is his right hand (of course!) that's injured. And I'm still upset, because I feel like the hand looks bad enough that surely there's some damage done there, even if the bones aren't broken, but there's nothing I can do about it right now. I've been using all my Google fu looking up hand injuries and haven't really found any research to help me figure out if I am doing the right thing in just listening to the doctor or not at this point.

Please, if any of you out there know about hand injuries, let me know what you think! I did have a friend of our neighbor's, who is an X-ray tech, just look over the hand, and he thinks there was damage to the "metacarpal area." Does that sound serious to you? It does to me.

Anyway, I'd love any input from my wonderful readers, because I don't have a clue what else to do!

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