When Josiah fell while rollerblading on July 23, 2014, he received the dubious honor of being the first in our family to break a bone. Can you guess who was the second?
It wasn't any of my boys, despite their rough-and-tumble ways. Indeed, it was their sister. Yes, sweet little darling Moriah managed to do what three of her older brothers had never done. Now can you guess which bone it was that she broke?
It wasn't her wrist, like Josiah broke; neither was it her arm or leg or collarbone or anything like that. What then could it have been?
It was her head.
It makes me wince just to write about this; but for memory's sake in years to come, I want to have this recorded here. Here's how it happened...
On Saturday, September 26, 13 days after Benjamin was born, Moriah and her big brothers were playing outside in the afternoon; and Moriah fell. She said later that it had something to do with our dog Willow: either Willow and Moriah collided, or Moriah tried to avoid Willow and that made her fall, or something to that effect. She was on the driveway so she landed on a hard surface, but it wasn't as if she was up on something and fell from a higher height. However it happened, she must have landed with considerable force on her head.
She cried and cried (which is actually comforting in such circumstances--much better than the child being knocked out!), and I tried to comfort her, but her tears continued for quite a long time. I checked her head but couldn't see any surface wound; certainly there was no blood pouring forth, and I couldn't even find a scratch on her head. Despite that, I knew from her crying that it must have been a bad fall. Finally I tucked her in for her afternoon nap and laid down beside her in her bed, and then she drifted off to sleep.
After her nap, she cried some (but not like she had before) and said that her head hurt. When I checked it again, I noticed that the left side was a little softer than the right--the result, I assumed, of some swelling and bruising at the point of impact. I gave her some medicine and also the cold pack to ease the pain (for almost any kind of injury, my kids find comfort from having that cold pack--it's a miracle drug!). ;-)
That evening, I watched her pretty closely and was glad to see that she was acting fairly normal, even if she was a little more mellow than usual. I had talked with my dad, and he asked various questions, wondering most of all, I think, if she might have had a concussion. She didn't have any of the signs of that, and we were grateful! She ate some chocolate ice cream (from Kline's, our all-time favorite local ice cream place) and seemed like she was recovering OK from the fall.
The next morning was Sunday, and she seemed in good enough health that we all got ready for church; but a few minutes before we were planning to walk out the door to go there, she started fussing and crying--not a normal thing at all for her since she loves to go to church. As she cried, she started coughing, and maybe threw up a little, but not really because of an upset stomach, it seemed, but just as a reaction to the coughing. At least that's what we thought.
We quickly decided that I would stay home with her and Benjamin while the others went, so as they headed out, I got Moriah set up on the couch. By the time the rest of the family got to the church building, she had already fallen asleep--a very unusual occurrence for her since she never naps in the morning.
I was glad to be with her and have a peaceful morning at home, drinking in the sight of her dear face.
A week or so went by--a week in which Moriah, by and large, acted just fine--and at some point during the following weekend, Jeff and I talked more about Moriah's head. We both had noticed that she still had quite a large, obvious (not to the eye, but to the hand if you felt her head), soft, squishy place on the left side of her head. It concerned us, and we felt like we couldn't rest easy until we figured out exactly what was going on. We were fearing the worst while hoping for the best, but we were eager to find out some more concrete information about what had happened to her head.
So, about midday on Monday, October 5, I took her in for a head x-ray.
That little girl was a champ! I imagine that she might have been somewhat nervous, but she and I had a good time hanging out together in the waiting room (fortunately, Jeff's mom was still here during that time, so she stayed home with the boys--even Benjamin--while Moriah and I went to get the x-ray done). I love one-on-one time like that. :) And then when we were called back, Moriah did a superb job of doing exactly what the x-ray technicians (who were so nice, by the way) asked her to do. She couldn't have behaved any better. I was so proud of her! :)
The technicians were quite complimentary, and they gave her the choice of any stuffed animal in a bin there. She chose a yellow monkey, and we decided to name him Banana. He is currently swinging above her bed. :)
And then we waited for the results.
I can't say we were so surprised when we heard the news, but it gave me a sinking feeling anyway. Sure enough, Moriah had a skull fracture.
The good news is that her injury--a fracture in the parietal bone--is a fairly common fracture and, at least in her case, didn't require any further care. Only time, for it to heal. We were SO grateful that it wasn't worse. Some of the head injuries we had read about while trying to educate ourselves before we knew her diagnosis were so much more severe and required so much more intervention!
She needed time for her head to heal, and time was what we had to give her--time for the swelling, caused by bleeding under the skin, to go down as the blood and fluid was absorbed again, and time for the bone to repair itself. Easy enough.
But I declare, I sure wanted to surround her with bubble wrap, every time she did so much as go up and down the steps or jump higher than a centimeter off the ground!! At the very least, couldn't we strap a helmet on her until her skull was whole again?? ;-)
Well, as they say, all's well that ends well; and this story has a happy ending. Moriah doesn't seem affected by her ordeal; and really, the only reminders that it even happened are the yellow monkey she sees above her as she goes to sleep and the occasional trepidation I feel when I watch her do something I think is risky. But what's risky about playing on the driveway? And yet, that was how she broke her head!
A number of times since her fall, I've been reminded of this fact: we are so fragile. Despite our illusion of strength, inside we are, in many ways, so weak and vulnerable. Maybe instead of wondering at the strangeness of Moriah fracturing her skull just from falling down, I should instead wonder at the fact that more of us in this family haven't broken any bones yet! ;)
Thinking about the what-if's reminds me to be extra grateful that, here at the end of this episode detailing the second broken bone in our family, we still have a happy, healthy, whole little girl with, like Josiah, no serious, lingering consequences to report as a result of the fall. Josiah got a cast for his broken bone, and Moriah got a monkey; but other than that, all they got from it was a tale to tell their children someday.
And what I got was an extra measure of thankfulness!!! :)