Thursday, June 27, 2013

The Broken Tank

January 3rd AD 2010, the morning after.
Tank was just on 6 months old when he broke both his legs on January 2nd 2010! The left leg was broken at the femur, and his right tibia fractured just above his ankle.

We had left our life behind in Adelaide and were on our journey north to start our new life here in Toowoomba, Queensland. We stopped for what was meant to be one night at Orange, NSW. We knew there was a Lutheran church here, and after checking out a less than satisfactory caravan park, we decided to ask the Lutheran pastor if we could set up our camper at the church.

It was nearing 7pm when we starting setting up the camper. As soon as the walls were up and the beds out, I put Tank on our bed and started dinner preparations. Tank, who has just started crawling, crawled behind a suitcase on the bed and I relaxed because he couldn't fall down onto the floor. Suddenly I heard crying, and my initial thought was "How odd! Ours are the only children here." Then I realised that Christian hadn't yet secured the tent and that was our Tank screaming. All in split seconds of course.
Okay, so The Man is cute, but this is as close as we got
to taking a picture of the exact spot. It's just under that bed.

I ran outside calling Christian. There was Tank flat on the ground, and all First Aid training when out the window as I picked him up. We were camped on bitumen, however, just where Tank's head fell there was a large tuft of grass. This was surely God's grace to us.

I tried to put Tank to the breast, but he just screamed. I wanted to drive straight to the hospital, but Christian wanted to bring the unfed children. So we called the pastor, who drove me and sat with me in the hospital. Again, this was God's grace to us.
Daddy playing with the children at our Orange camp spot.
On arrival the lady before me told the Triage Nurse that her baby had fallen off the couch. Tank was still crying, and I leaned forward and said: "My 6 month old has just fallen 1.5 metres onto bitumen." I was immediately ushered inside, the other lady had to wait.

X-rays were taken, and then MANY questions were asked. The only evidence of the accident was a slight graze on his right leg. But really, who were we? Why were we camping? Could our story be verified? I was so grateful the pastor had remained with me.
The only physical evidence of the accident.

The orthopaedic surgeon came around, and brought the bad news. Tank had broken his LEFT leg and due to a possible head injury we would have to stay in hospital overnight for observations.

The treatment options for the break were: 1. Traction for two weeks, that's both legs in the air (No thanks!) 2: Full body cast, nipple to toes (NO thanks!) or 3: Do nothing. If we could keep him from crawling around, and be careful when touching his leg we would be okay. Oh and he could have some Pain Stop medication now, and as required to keep him out of pain. This treatment was also God's grace to us, either of the first two options would have been very stressful for a very active boy, and delayed our arrival in Toowoomba.

After a restless night in hospital, and then a good night sleep back at our spot, we decided to move on to Inverell, NSW. We camped on my parent's property, Geebung Flat. At the end of the week (Friday) we took Tank for review X-rays. I happily went in on my own, leaving Christian to contend with the children in the waiting room. X-ray taking over, I observed another fellow come in to look at the x-rays, and look at me and then back again. So I did my naive doctors wife thing, and walked over to ask how it looked.

Too cute, swimming in the creek.
Tank's Great Granny, Irene Campbell. Already his leg is
healing, with just the faint scars showing.

Now the barrage of questions came: Where do you live? "um...we are of no fixed abode as we are moving." Where are you from? "Adelaide, moving to Toowoomba." Why are you here? "We are camping at my parent's block." By now I was anxious! The tone was NOT friendly! Do you have the report from the x-rays in Orange? "My husband is a GP, he would know about the report." Who do you know here? Ah now here is a question I know the answer to. "The Wiedemanns" and then realising that perhaps that might not be enough I mentioned every other family member in town (it is my family hometown)! Where is your husband? "He's in the waiting room with our other children"

Finally, I came to my senses. "What seems to be the problem?"

"You mentioned only one leg was broken, but we have TWO broken legs showing on the x-ray!"

I burst into tears! I had noticed that he cried when I touched his other leg, but two broken legs!?

Sleeping peacefully.
Bathing at Geebung Flat

Christian was brought to the x-ray room. He was horrified. How could this have been missed!? The orthopaedic surgeon hadn't read the report, he had just looked at the one leg on the x-ray! Christian insisted that we see another orthopaedic surgeon that day, but the nearest one was in Armidale over a hundred kilometres away! We tried to get a hold of the doctor, but when a return call didn't come we headed to Armidale on spec. I guess Christian thought he would use his GP status to get someone to see him.

We got within 20 kilometres of Armidale when our mobile finally had coverage and we received a call. All was good, we could wait until Monday.

February 21st...and this was not the first stand!
On Monday, Tank crawled around at our feet whilst the doctor explained that the fractures did not require any further treatment. It was okay for him to crawl and do whatever he felt comfortable doing, as unlike an adult who pushes themselves, a child will not move to cause themselves pain.

It appears that Tank fell on his feet when he fell from our camper. Then his head fell on the tuft of grass. We are so grateful that his injuries were SO quickly healed. We praise God for tough grass that grows in unlikely places. It is no coincidence that this grass was in just the right was God!

No comments:

Post a Comment