Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Skull Fracture (she is ok)

Last Friday Sylvia went out sledding in our front yard. She was accompanied by two siblings and two friends. The sun was shining, spirits were high, they had a great time. Until Sylvia fell off her sled at the bottom of the hill and landed in the ditch. Ouch! She got up and started crying which is always a good sign since at least she wasn't unconscious (although later it turned out that she didn't remember the actual accident).

Kate was close to her, saw it happen and came over to console her. Together they walked up the hill to get back to the house and find me. Sylvia was crying a lot.

I was hugging her and holding her and we were using ice packs but she kept crying and crying. I still didn't realize that anything more was wrong than 'just' a fall on the head. Her ear had hit a rock, so even when she said she felt like her ear was bleeding I wasn't too worried. I had been checking out her ear and her head and everything seemed fine.


Until I started seeing blood in her ear. Given the fact that she had hit a rock I still wasn't too concerned, but my alertness level increased. I cleaned her ear out to try to figure out whether there was a scratch or a wound in her outer ear or maybe something else innocent.

More blood kept coming and I couldn't find the source which prompted me to call the pediatrician. I told her that I had no idea how bad it was or whether she needed to be seen at all. She gave me very short and simple instructions 'Bleeding from her ear? You need to take her to the Emergency Room.'


That was unplanned. I already had a list of fifteen things I needed to do in the next few hours and I had to go to the ER? I had two kids with strep throat and had been to the pharmacy too many times this week already. I was supposed to get ready for Christmas. I had no time for this!

Of course I had time and I crossed out all the things on my list and replaced it with 'spend day in ER' and off we were to the ER. Still hoping that they would find a superficial scratch, one of these which bleed a lot but is harmless and we would be out in no time at all. Heck, I was hoping they would laugh at me and say 'You took her in for this???? How silly!'


We were checked in and she got a stretcher with her very own personal tv. Now that was an unknown luxury. Watching Nickolodeon as much as she could. Not having to fight with her siblings. Cool!

The ER doctor came in to check her and she got scheduled for a CAT scan. The wait for the CAT scan was amazingly short and Sylvia did a great job lying still while the pictures where being taken. I was able to stay in the room with her during the scan.

Back to the room, back to more waiting and watching Nickolodeon. Another ER doctor came in and told us that they did see a small skull fracture on the scan. YIKES. They were going to get a neurosurgeon in to assess her. I was sitting there repeating in my head 'SKULL FRACTURE? SKULL FRACTURE??!!!' which was a totally new word to me in relationhip to my kids. Sylvia was more interested in Nickolodeon than in skull fractures.


Waiting, waiting, waiting. Finally we saw a neurosurgeon who discovered that she lost hearing in the affected ear. Which necessitated seeing another neurosurgeon and consultation with and assessment by an ENT doctor.

The ENT first vacuum cleaned her ear and did a thorought examination followed by another ENT who decided that her ear drum was ok and that the hearing loss was related to her fracturing a bone in her ear channel (temporal bone? My anatomy knowledge is increasing but not totally up to par yet). There was no sense in doing a hearing test right now, but she will have a full audiology exam in two weeks. He expects that her hearing will come back and that the current loss is related to lots of blood behind the ear drum.

By now it was many hours later. She was totally bored of watching Nickolodeon. She had been seen by lots of doctors and we had learned a lot more about skull fractures and concussions like the fact that skull fractures usually come with a free concussion because of the force that is needed to fracture the skull. Her condition was good enough though that they felt comfortable sending us home.

As an after thought they did a strep test which came back positive, so she is the second of my children to go to the ER to get her strep throat diagnosed. We spent at least seven hours in the ER and another two hours going to McDonalds (no food all day) and the pharmacy.

So much for my list of 'Things to do: Urgent'.


She is doing well, although her head is still hurting on and off. She is supposed to take it easy for a few weeks. It is not easy to keep a 6 years old child quiet so I spend a lot of time saying 'Sylvia! Remember your brain!'

She got a pink doggy (Hermione) in the ER, the blue doggy (Voldemort) at the ENT and the pink doggies (Mama Dog x 2) at McDonalds.

I am still in shock and very grateful that she is mostly ok and that the hearing loss hopefully is only temporary. I am also watching her like a hawk for any warning signs for complications.

By now five of the kids have strep throat so I also make sure that 14 daily doses of antibiotics and other assorted medication get dispersed timely and appropriately.

Not a boring life it is.


Mongoose said...

Honestly there is no such thing as "just" a fall on the head especially in children. I'm glad she's ok!

Angel Ladao said...

Sweet monkeys I'm glad she's okay. I probably would have had a heart attack somewhere between the first sign of blood and the word Skull Fracture. Hope everyone gets well soon and Sylvia heals well. You so have your hands full. Wish I could be closer to give you an extra pair.

veganbaby said...

So scary!!! Glad that she is OK!

Petra said...

Wauw, wat een verhaal! Blij te lezen, dat ze ok is, ik kan me voorstellen, dat je je lam schrok! Beterschap voor Sylvia en jouw zenuwen!

Anonymous said...

Holy moley!!! SO glad to hear she is ok! I can not even imagine how frightening it must have been to hear "skull fracture".


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