Wednesday, March 2, 2011

The Amazing Adventures of Hop-Along Sam and the Splinter of Doom!


Normally, a splinter wouldn't be blog-worthy, but when you're the parent of an overachiever, it becomes a major production.

Our story begins on a rainy winter morning. While stalling in her preparation for our friends' wedding, Samantha decided not to put on her tights as Mother had instructed, but to instead play a game of Chase After The Cat on the hardwood floor of our dining room.

And Sam got a splinter.
Sam screamed.
I pulled it out.
It was big.

(Now, I say "big" and, in average splinter terms, this one was about half an inch long total, with half of that under her skin. That would be "big" in Splinter-ese. Have you got the picture?)

She complained that her leg hurt even after the splinter was removed, but how much of that was pain or general crabbiness we didn't know. We suspected that it was sore because it was such a big splinter. She limped for an hour. She then proceeded to dance the night away with her sisters and the bride and groom, doing the Hokey-Pokey and turning herself around, limp and pain-free...or so we thought.

The next day, it looked like this:

Still a little swollen, I was concerned that there might have been another piece in there. We picked off that little scab and to our amazement, there was another piece of splinter attached to the scab. This one was about a quarter of an inch long. Well! NOW she should be feeling MUUUCH better.
We thought that was the last of it.

Two months later, while I was tucking her in, she requested a pillow for under her leg. I said, "What for?" "For where my splinter was. Hello-o." "What?? Is that leg bothering you?" "No, just when I lay on it." "Let me see your leg. Sam."



After many exciting (for Sam) and nerve-wracking (for Mom and Dad) visits to the doctor, an orthopedic specialist, an x-ray and an MRI, we finally learned that there were still pieces of that danged splinter in her little leg muscle. STILL! AFTER TWO MONTHS! And it would require surgery to get those pieces out!

(I accept this Darwin Award on behalf of the clueless parents of splinter-filled children everywhere.)


Finally the day of Sam's Splinterectomy was upon us.

First, she watched Dora the Explorer while we waited for her nurse to ask us a bajillion questions.

Then a nice lady came in and painted her leg with Snooki Bronzer. Ooh, purdy!

Then they put this adorable little shower cap on her and wheeled her off.

But first, a smile for all her FANS:

Still all giggles as she's wheeled into surgery.

Forty-five minutes and two planks of wood later, a groggy Sam wakes up.

Sam, can you give me a smile, honey?

*snicker* Thanks, Dopey.

She got a few ice chips and a cherry popsicle. We were sure to remove all wood from Sam's vicinity when she finished it.

These are the sticks the doctor removed from my baby's tibialis anterior. They look to me like they'd support popsicles of their own.

And this is what her leg looked like when she woke up:
Oh, but the excitement doesn't end there. We knew that she would be spending the night, to get a jump and a boost on the antibiotics to clear up the infection that Wooden Nastiness had created. We were prepared to have her sleeping at the hospital hooked up to an IV. What we didn't realize (and were not told about until she was in recovery) was that the pediatric unit is at the hospital across town. So the Medic Team came...

And transferred her to the East campus. I had to sign to have the child shipped. Weirdness. Of course, we got a picture of her first (and hopefully only) ambulance ride. Doesn't she look thrilled?

The bumpy ride from the West campus was entertaining/embarrassing.
EMT #1 (girl with ponytail in pic): What did she have?
ME: Splinter.
EMT #2 (dude without glasses in pic): Wha-huh?
ME: She had a splinter. Two of them, actually. Doctor Hussein just removed one that was over half an inch long and one that was just less than half an inch. They were in her muscle. For about two months. Without complaint.
EMT #1: Oh-Em-Gee!
ME: Right?!
EMT #2: Tough kid!
ME: She's like the Black Knight in Monty Python's Holy Grail.
EMT#3 (with glasses): Ha-HA! "It's just a flesh wound! Come back and fight!"
ME: Exactly.

We got her into her room where they scanned the UPC code on her bracelet and told me she would cost an arm and the other leg and then put a little anti-theft device on her ankle that we were promised would sound off many an alarm in the event of her sleepwalking, attempted escape or kidnapping. Let it be known that you can't pull a Dine and Dash at Genesis East without serious repercussions...or at least a heck of a lot of noise.

My mother helped her get settled in. In the picture below, Sam is reading her the list of movies. Apparently the hospital gets Netflix. I don't even want to know how much they'll charge for that on our bill. $140 for The Jungle Book 2?! WTH?!

After school, her sisters came to hang out. There was at least some semblance of normalcy again with all of them in one room. No one argued, which was super-nice.

Madison's 12th birthday was that same day, and more than slightly overshadowed by the Splinterectomy, the poor girl. She took it really well and let Sam's recovery take the front seat that day. She's a great kid.

Weird fact #68: I gave birth to Madison 12 years earlier just two floors up from where we were sitting. She declined my offer to re-enact the moment of her birth. *humph* Some kids just don't care about history.

Thankfully, she had already celebrated with a Slumber Party of Awesomeness the Friday before. Still, we got her a little something for her actual birthday. See that little brown thing in her hand? It's a gift card. She's texting her friend to tell her about it. The purple and green blankets are gifts for their newly decorated bedroom and we just decided to make them hospital/birthday gifts for each of them.

Sam liked the hospital food, at least the stuff that Madison didn't sample.

Operation is THE game to play when you're in the hospital. I think the pencil (Writer's Cramp) in his forearm is about the same size as the larger of the two splinters removed from Sam's leg.

Weird fact #99: Operation dude's name is "Cavity Sam".

I laughed my face off at that. Samantha didn't find it as amusing.

And finally she slept. The book you see there is Curious George Goes To The Hospital, which her Aunt Jennie brought her a few days before surgery. Seems that George eats a wooden puzzle piece and has to have surgery to get it out of his little monkey belly. Wood is the debbil.

And the next day, she was ready to roll...posing with the candy that Uncle Marky brought her the night before. Notice the Anti Theft Device on her ankle. They removed it and discharged her shortly after this pic was taken and we were able to get her dressed and head home. She was thrilled at the idea that she would get to ride in a wheelchair (but the ambulance ride had her completely unimpressed).

We'll close with a picture of Sam on the mend. This is her "Can we play Just Dance on the Wii" face:


Some Other Stuff I Wrote