About Me

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I am a Christian. I am a loving wife to my Army-National-Guard-Recruiter-Husband of 15 years. I am a stay-at-home-mother to our four handsome sons. I am a photographer. My blog is about as erratic, eclectic and random as I am, painted with rainbows of photos and words that are hills and valleys you travel; so lovely sometimes that they hurt you. These are the stories of how far we've come in the last 15 years as Christians, as a family and as individuals.

Sunday, June 26, 2011

The Whole Story {Garrett}

Warning: These photos are graphic!
Yesterday - June 25, 2011 - was to be the day we celebrated Garrett turning nine on the twenty-first and Hayden turning five on July eighth, but as things go when you have four very active and energetic little boys - plans got interrupted.
In the morning before the party was to begin, the boys were all in their own respective little worlds -in their room, on the computer, jumping on the trampoline or swinging on the swing set in the back yard - Garrett had shown me his new trick  on the swing where he swings up really high then jumps off (yep, that's how this happened) - while I rushed to frost 100+ cupcakes, decorate the 6-layered cake, make Pebble Krispies/Marshmellow Kabobs, set up the craft tables and generally get ready for the guests to begin to arrive; I was down to 4 hours and the boys were getting antsy, they kept coming in tattling or complaining, asking, "how much longer?" and the like. So at 9:15 AM when Garrett came in saying, "Ow, ow, owowowow" I rolled my eyes and thought What now? A sticker in your foot or something? Then I turned around to see what his complaint was and froze/freaked/screamed/shrieked! This is what I saw:
(I later learned that my reaction caused him to look -for the first time- at his arm and then he freaked out!)  I immediately realized my mistake and tried to correct it - - I turned on my tough-mommy face and dropped to my knees, grabbed his face in my hands and told him to just breathe (all the while trying to take my own advice).  I told him his arm was severely broken and I was going to take him to the hospital.  I asked Tristen to get his cell and try to contact his daddy (who was at RSP, working) to tell him to come home NOW - EMERGENCY!  First time I've ever done that!  Seth took it upon himself to walk Garrett over to the couch and have him sit down then he got some frozen edamame (our go-to bag in lieu of ice, it's too hard) to put on the arm and Hayden informed me that he had to go to his room because "that looks creepy and I don't want to have nightmares."  I got dressed in ten seconds, grabbed a water bottle and was out the door with Garrett while calling my sister, Lauren, to come take my place as "Party Hostess" and be with the other boys until Brad made it home.

Brad made it home.  Between him & Lauren, Hayden still had a great birthday party - will post their photos of that in another blog.

In the meantime, Garrett & I made it to Loma Linda University - Children's Hospital in record time, but safely.  I set my phone up and captured this video in the car on the way down -- just to give you a better idea of what he was like during this phase.
Video translation (you can hear me)
I was jumping off the swing and just fell off. 
In shock.
Um, I wish that I was dreaming right now.
I really don't want to miss my party.
I really don't want to miss it.
On the way down I prayed and asked God to get us in quickly, not have to sit in the waiting room for too long with "looky-loos" and that he wouldn't need surgery.  I thanked him for Lauren & Brad being able to be there for the party guests.  I asked for comfort and peace for Garrett and strength and patience for me.  I kept Garrett talking to me about how he was feeling - basically about any and everything, I just wanted him to stay awake.  He told me his pain level was about 75% and he was tired when we first hit the freeway.  By the time we arrived at Loma Linda he said his pain was down to 60% but he was very tired.  I helped him out of the car and he had a hard time walking to the entrance, he became very dizzy and weak.  When we got to the emergency entrance the security guard in the front turned green at the sight of Garrett's arm (I later learned that he first thought it was just a deformity, but when he realized it was broken like that he felt sick!).  Before he could even direct us to the registration desk, Dr. A. Thorp walked passed us and smiled, took one look at Garrett's arm and gently asked us to come with her -- without even changing the sweet smile on her face!  She placed Garrett in a wheel chair and took him straight into the Children's ER Center; within seconds he was surrounded by doctors, nurses and X-ray techs along with a portable X-ray machine.

Barely an hour after the incident - and we're in!
 Dr. A Thorp is the one in the white coat to the upper center/right of the photo with the long dark ponytail.
 Garrett's arm getting braced for X-rays on one side while another wonderful person inserted an IV into his other hand.
 The female x-ray tech couldn't handle looking at his arm and placed a towel over it as she positioned his arm for x-rays to be taken.
Remember the mention of an IV?  Yup!  They gave him morphine! 

They determined that his elbow was unaffected so they tried to straighten it out to get a better angle of the rest of his arm/wrist.  --He did not like that.  -- here came the second dose of morphine.
They had to cut his shirt off...
 ...but they managed to get it done, still no tears from Garrett! 
They asked him to try and move his fingers but the pointer was the only one he could manage to move.  I knew what that meant!  Possible nerve damage!  I've been through this with Hayden when he broke his arm.  She used this sharp end of a Q-Tip-looking thing to poke him and without looking, he had to determine which finger she was poking.  He passed!  So that got them thinking maybe his wrist was broken because that's where he'd pointed when she asked where it hurt when he'd complained that trying to move his fingers made his arm hurt.  But they couldn't get a good x-ray of his wrist without causing excessive and unnecessary pain.  They will take care of that when they knocked him out to reset the arm. --more waiting!
 So, we watched Monster's Inc while we waited.  Garrett talked a little too... about how he's glad he broke his left arm since he is right-handed, about how he's glad he's out of school for the Summer and won't have to miss and possibly fail classes, about how he's glad he broke his arm and not his leg because this way he can at least walk, about how some friends couldn't make it to his party and maybe they will all be able to make it to the rescheduled one... I mean!  This kid was being so optimistic!  I was/am so very proud of him!
Garrett was very worried about the possibility of having to have surgery.  His heart rate would rise and his oxygen level would drop, then he'd turn to me and ask, "Mom, will they have to do surgery?  'Cause I really don't want surgery."  I would assure him that they'd do everything in their power to fix his arm without surgery and his heart rate & oxygen would go back to normal.  Then he'd turn a stressed out face to me and again his heart rate would rise and his oxygen level would drop and say, "When they fix my arm, will I feel it?"  I'd tell him absolutely NOT!  I told him he'll be asleep; once again his heart rate & oxygen would go back to normal.  This kept happening - he asked, "What if I wake up while they're fixing my arm?"  I promised he wouldn't and that he'd not even remember it happening - he then made us both laugh by asking if he'd forget he broke his arm altogether!  I told him that's not likely to ever happen!
The movie ended and I barely had time to use the restroom before the doctors showed up again.
Around 1:15 PM Dr. A. Thorp and other staff members were back, this time with ketamine to knock him out before taking him to another room and resetting his arm.  They made me leave, of course.  Which I suppose I'm grateful for.  I was able to go to the parking lot to thaw out (why do they keep hospitals so darn cold?!)  The thawing didn't take long in the 104F temps!  I made a few phone calls and tried to post an update on Facebook while I had a signal --Brad and Mom were thankful to hear from me.
I was told the procedure would only last 30 minutes (and that's about all the heat I could take) so I went back into the waiting room.  What a terrifying place!  But God placed two of the most amazing security clerks in my path to talk to me, keep me calm and basically distract me from the waiting, one loaned me his personal cell phone charger since my phone was dying and the other (when her shift was over) came to find Garrett and me back in the room to meet Garrett and let us know we touched her heart.

When I was finally called back to the room (an hour and 20 minutes later!) Garrett was just barely opening his eyes and trying to talk.

Video translation ^^
(you can hear me)
Wow!  The sky is kind of moving back and forth.
It looks like the sky is moving back and forth.
Ok, it looks like my presents are flying away from me.
It looks like my presents are flying away.
I nearly broke down when they brought these birthday presents in for Garrett (but was able to hold it together for him)!  They said no kid should miss their birthday party for a broken arm.  Said he was so brave and calm and that he made their jobs so easy, he got two!

I thought I didn't get it on video! When Garrett first looked at his arm he said, "Oh, I guess my wish didn't come true. It wasn't a dream." Then he fell back into a trance-like state.

Video translation
(you can hear me)
Not really 'cause the, the thing on the ceiling's still going like up and down.
And I really want people to like it.
When I look at everything else it doesn't go up and down.
(then he's out again!)
I wish I was dreaming but I'm not dreaming.
I want to go home.
I think they gave me too much medicine.
He kept asking me what time it was.  My guess is that he thought he'd still make it home in time for his party. :`(
Video translation:
(you can hear me)
...Tristen here?
Are Seth and Tristen here?
Garrett kept falling back to sleep while getting additional x-rays taken so I asked if that was normal.  I was told it may take him longer to come out of it because towards the end of them resetting his arm he started to wake so they gave him a second does of ketamine!  But they didn't need him to be awake for these x-rays, they were able to determine his wrist is NOT broken, only his ulna and radius which are broken at a near 90 degree angle!  I got the x-rays on a disc but my computer does not support the program to open them.  I'll have to come back and add them after he sees his pediatrician and we get printed copies for me to scan.
In the meantime, enjoy some funny stuff I captured on video while Garrett was trying to come out of it!  Laughter is the best medicine.
Video translation
(you can hear me)
Oh, like dizzy.
it looks like you have four eyes.
It looks like you have four eyes.

Video translation
(you can hear me)
I don't know.
It looks like the medicine is like... (mumbling and trailing off)...
It looks like the medicine is still on me, on me.

In this video he's trying to keep his eyes closed to "make the dizzy go away"

Video translation
(you can hear me)
How about now?
How about now?
Are my eyes still jumping?

I took these close up pictures of Garrett's eyes to show their dilation and crazy-cool color changing.
We thought he might be able to see more clearly if he had his glasses back on... no luck.
 We weren't supposed to be released until Garrett could stand/walk on his own.  He tried for over an hour and just kept falling asleep.  Finally they released us anyway.  They helped me wheel him out to the car and get him buckled in.  He woke up briefly and asked for chicken and french fries but by the time I gave him his food he was out again!  I just took him home where he was bombarded with love and questions and stories about the birthday party that he missed.
Within and hour Brad had filled his prescription for Tylenol with Codeine and he took a dose (after eating his chicken and french fries in addition to a banana) and asked if he could go to bed.  He slept well all night, wish I could say the same for me (I had nightmares all night about how much worse things could've been).  As soon as he was fully asleep, I allowed my tears to fall.  I tried to upload the photos and post this blog but just couldn't do it. 
Thank you all for your prayers and patience with me as I composed myself enough to tell this terrifying tale.  God sure answered my prayers and yours.  Garrett and I are handling things as well as can be expected (Garrett's actually handling things way better than expected) and I am so thankful.
As for what to pray for now?  Please pray that his arm stays in place while in the temporary cast so it doesn't shift in the slightest, otherwise he will need surgery to fix it.  Pray we get in to see his pediatrician MONDAY (tomorrow) for a different pain prescription because he's not handling the Codeine very well and pray that he gets an appointment for his full cast this week and doesn't have to go through another weekend with a temp cast on.  Pray for full healing, comfort and understanding for Garrett.  Pray that his friends will all be available to come back over for a "redo" party!  Then be sure to thank God for all He's already done in this situation, and praise Him for being so utterly awesome!  I still can't figure out how I'm dealing with all of this truly.  I feel I must be in shock still!   


adam said...

you did great!

Jennifer said...

Thank you for posting a full update. We will keep Garrett in our prayers and of course we will keep all of you in prayer as well. God is SO good! He knows what you need and He knows what Garrett needs. Sending our love and wishes for quick healing! Love to you all <3

Diane said...

Oh my gosh! That poor baby and what he went through!! You both deserve a medal for handling this accident so extremely well. Love and prayers are still going out to/for all of you. I certainly hope he can get his medicine changed. I love you both so very much and am so very proud of you. Call me if you need ANYTHING!

debby said...

Oh Mandy, what an amazing post. You are SUCH an awesome mom. He is so blessed to have you. Not only did you take care of him, but you documented EVERYTHING for him in a loving and humorous way!
Aunt Debby

Jilleneangel said...

Well, after the news about Liz's baby this morning, and reading this just now (after holding my baby just a little longer and rocking him to sleep tonight and thanking the LORD that he is healthy and alive) All I can do is cry. The LORD giveth, and the Lord taketh away, and He is sovereign! I love you, and have passed on your prayer requests to all of my groups. Hang in there!

April Winder said...

Man! When mom called me right after she spoke with you, all I could think was how sureal (sp?) it all seemed. I even laughed, thinking, geez, it's always something with those boys! I couldn't stop looking at the pictures, they still don't seem real to me. You did an incredible job helping Garrett through this. I wish I could've been there to offer my help. I'm so glad you had Brad and Lauren as well as others you could lean on. Garrett must have super powers! If that were my arm, I would've passed out or thrown up or both. So greatful he's doing better. Love you both!

Carrie said...

I am praying now for Garrett to get an appointment for TODAY! Thank you so much for the whole story. It looks like you were in exactly the right place. Those doctors seemed very attentive. Both you and Garrett were amazingly covered in supernatural peace. I cannot believe all you both had to endure. I will be praying that he will get his other appointment for his cast this week as well as perfect healing for his arm. Thanks for keeping us up to date. I will be waiting to hear... Love you guys,

Jena said...

Bless both of your hearts. You were both brave and strong.