Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Clara's Broken Clavicle

On Monday when I went to pick up the girls from the Kids Club at the gym after my workout, Clara was sitting coloring at a table and one of the childcare workers started telling me how Clara had been playing on some low platforms, jumping from one to the next like lilypads (they were about 6 to 10 inches off the ground) and had missed her footing and landed on her shoulder.  They said that she had cried about it a bit but they had given her an ice pack to make it feel better and nothing looked swollen and she calmed down so they didn't come get me.  But as Clara walked over and heard them retelling the story of the accident her eyes started welling up again and she pointed right to her collarbone and told me that it hurt.  I got the girls out to the car and started loading them into their carseats and could immediately tell that Clara was majorly favoring her right arm, and when I buckled her in she started crying even more because the jostling and adjusting of her arm and shoulder into the harness hurt her even more. 
So as soon as we got home I carefully slid off her shirt as best I could so I could really get a good look at her shoulder and figure out what to do.  Through all of this Clara was a little trooper.  She whimpered and tears rolled down her cheeks, but she was pretty brave about the whole thing and I felt all around the shoulder joint, first thinking that maybe she had dislocated something.  But I couldn't see any bruising or swelling or anything at all really and the only place that Clara identified pain in was on her collarbone.  The only thing I could physically see was that her right shoulder was hanging lower than her left shoulder, so at that point I was pretty sure we were dealing with something like a fracture.  I called Kaiser and got the last appointment of the day with Urgent Care, which was lucky because otherwise we would have had to wait until the next morning to see somebody about it.  So while we waited for her 3:00 appointment, Rose took a nap and Clara and I watched Wild Kratts and I showed her pictures of x-rays and explained how they worked. 
Sure enough, after an initial exam followed by an x-ray to confirm, we learned that Clara had a broken right clavicle.  Poor little thing.  She was cheerful throughout the process though and was such a good sport, even though she was obviously sad that something in her body was "broken".  Mostly she was afraid that it would be something that couldn't be fixed, I think.  Now she has to wear a sling for a few weeks and has to miss out on gymnastics and swimming lessons.  Which was hard for her this morning when she could only sit on the side and watch Rose participate in her gymnastics class and wasn't able to go join her own class that practices at the same time.  Her coach and class members came over to say hi and see what happened, which was sweet.  The break doesn't seem to bother her too much unless she moves her arm too much and then she gets this sad, teary frown.  She keeps saying that she only has to use the sling for 3 days and I have to correct her to say it is for 3 weeks, which I can tell she is still trying to wrap her mind around.  3 weeks must seem like an eternity when you are 4 years old.

We had to give this form to the nurse when they came to call Clara's name and I spent the time entertaining Clara by "reading" the instructions and making things up like "please be sure that Clara gets some medicine to make her arm feel better.  She needs to eat lots of candy so her arm won't fall off..." and other ridiculous nonsense like that.  Clara loved it and eventually took the letter from me and came up with increasingly silly prescriptions like needing to smell dirty laundry, etc. 
She was very brave and listened well to the directions when getting the x-ray taken.  Also, the doctor commented on how intelligent Clara is because he tried to trick her a few times about where the pain might be but she was very specific and was never confused about what was wrong with her body and he said that is unusual in someone her age. 

When I wasn't distracting her, she would start to get a little nervous or sad, but if I told her stories or silly jokes, she would perk up and smile again.

Dr. Rose did her own diagnosis while we were waiting.

I think the x-ray is pretty straight forward - there is a definite break in her clavicle where it snapped when she landed on her shoulder wrong.

She has to wear her sling all day, except for at night when she can take it off to go to bed.  So far, she hasn't had too many complaints about it.

Poor little miss.  But really she is doing great and you would hardly know she has a broken collarbone except for the way she is cautious with that arm.  We have been singing "Five Little Monkeys Jumping On the Bed" and talking about that because she is constantly jumping off couches and beds and rocks and basically anything and it finally seems like that lesson might stick.  I also think that Clara is a little pleased with the attention the sling is getting too because she has told the story of her fall to multiple adults now, somberly including all the important details about where and how the fracture happened and using new vocabulary words like collarbone and sling.
This is the first broken bone in our family (neither Paul or I have even broken anything) and hopefully it will be the last.


  1. What a little trooper. I can guarantee you that Noah would have been hysterically bawling his eyes out for the entire day. That boy definitely has a flair for drama and has zero pain tolerance!

    Also that is such a cute idea to make up silly prescriptions for her. Fun mom alert!!

  2. This is so so sad! I hope she heals quickly. Such a bummer to have it happen during the summer too.


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