A Girl, a Tree and a Very Nasty Squirrel

Thursday July 2, pretty much started like any other.  Jim and M were off feeding the animals and I was hanging out with the kids in the house.  Sophie was watching one of her programs on TV when one of my friends called on the phone.  So I sat down with my coffee, opened up a mindless game on POGO and settled in for a chat, secure in the knowledge that Sophie was sucked into her program and the boys were doing their own thing.  Periodically Sophie would dance through the room so I knew she was still with me.  Several minutes (maybe 20) later Jim came in to take out the waste milk to the pigs.  And very few moments later I heard Jim coming in the door and saying to hang up the phone that Sophie was hurt. He was using the “this is serious” voice so without much ado I hung up and rounded the kitchen corner to see him holding a bloody and obviously disoriented Sophie.

When he had walked out on the porch he heard her crying in a tiny voice “I need my Mommy” over and over.  He had looked over the edge of the porch and found her disoriented, trying to make the stairs, but unable to negotiate the temporary fencing we had put up for the sheep.  He leapt over the edge of the porch, swept her up in his arms and brought her in.

We immediately took her to the bathroom to assess the situation.  She had blood all over her face, but the only injuries I could find were on her wrists, no blood in her ears or nose or eyes, just her wrists.  She was repeatedly chanting that she needed to lay down on the sofa so that she could go to sleep.  So we washed her up and figured out that she had rubbed her bloody wrists on her face and had bitten her tongue (but not terribly).  Once she was clean we noticed that her hands were quite limp with her right index finger painfully swollen and bruised, and that she wasn’t walking well.  We couldn’t decide if her walking was due to a foot injury or due to a head injury.  So after a brief screaming match (me against M and Jim, who are a nurse and nursing student respectively) I decided she needed to go to the ER.  So Jim called ahead to tell them we were coming and off we went.

I am not going to go into the horrors of the ER visit.  Suffice it to say that I was unhappy about a few things, especially since that’s where Jim works and you’d think it would be better because of his familiarity.  But no.  They gave her a drug that I didn’t approve, blew off my concerns about her foot, and had to be reminded an obscene amount of times about her finger. 

But anyway.

Needless to say Sophie pretty much had every part of her body (except her legs, interestingly enough) X-rayed and we now have lovely images of her brain (they gave us all the films on CD… Sophie hasn’t seen them yet, but I think they’ll fascinated her!) and bones.  So it was decided to just splint her arms and even though I repeatedly asked for them to X-ray her foot I was blown off and informed that it was simply soft tissue damage and she would be able to just “walk it off”.


So they splinted her up.  Splints are very heavy cotton wrapped plaster bandages that are held on with ACE bandages.  Once the splints were on we were invited to leave the ER so fast my head was spinning!  I was a little overwhelmed!  They sent us home with a couple doses of Lortab Elixir from the hospital pharmacy and wished us well.  Jim was supposed to go to work that night, but was given the night off due to the trauma of the situation, M was able to be off as well. 

So we came home, a rag-tag ball of misery.  We had been in the ER for a very long time, Sophie had thrown up her breakfast during the X-rays and had had nothing else to eat, so M had made homemade pizza for her.  She ate half of a piece and then asked to go to bed.  Jim carried her up and when he laid her in the bed she tossed the pizza as well.  So there was a flurry of activity to change the bed, wash Sophie (her hair had to be washed, which was difficult what with the splints and all) and get her settled back down. 

That night was horrible.  Sophie slept in our bed with me.  Jim slept on the couch and the boys slept with M.  We gave her some of the Lortab and that seemed to help, but we only had the two doses so we were giving her half doses to make sure she didn’t have a bad reaction to it while still meeting her pain needs.

By morning I knew that the foot was a problem.  She was unable to bear weight on it at all and it was puffy and slightly bruised.  So I thought, that’s ok, we’ll just have the orthopedist look at it when we go in this morning (July 3) as we had been told by the ER doc that we had an appt(more or less) for that day with the orthopedist.  After a multitude of phone calls to the orthopedists we discovered that their offices were closed for the 4th and that we would have to wait until Monday.  This was not happy news.  So I had Jim call back to the ER to talk about the foot.  They had us come back in and have a few more X-rays and  what do you know?  Two broken bones in her foot.  WOW… So I do know what I’m talking about… imagine that.   I was a little more than P.O.ed at this point. 

On top of that, they relegated us to the nurses’ break room (which is tiny) to have the splint put on (which they weren’t going to do because they thought we could just keep her off of it… yeah right! So I had to pitchanother fit to have the splint put on…which is probably why they were so ill with me).  Anyway.  All the nurses were trying to eat lunch, andwe were taking up over half the room with Sophie in a wheelchair… so there was a lot of bad energy going on.  Sophie had had her last dose of Lortab that morning and it was fast approaching afternoon and she was beginning to really hurt, plus the bad vibes were getting to her so at one point she was crying and I had to hold her (cradled, baby style) to comfort her, which again didn’t go over well with the nurses who were trying to eat.  Jim ran off to the hospital pharmacy  to have Sophie’s Lortab script filled and guess what?  They said they didn’t have any. WTH?!?!  We just got the same medicine the day before and now they mysteriously didn’t have any?  So Jim tried to get the ER doc (who had prescribed Tylenol 3 not Lortab, a diff. ER doc had prescribed the Lortab) to explain to the pharmacy that we needed the Lortab but he refused.  He stood by his Tylenol 3 prescription. So we were screwed.  We waited and waited and finally they splinted her foot giving us firm instructions to keep her off of it, several of the nurses indicating that Sophie didn’t even NEED pain meds because she was just a kid and they’re “resilient”… um no… kids are resilient, but how about you break 7 bones and not take any pain meds for it… see how that makes you feel….


So we left the ER and headed over to the Publix pharmacy only to be told that they didn’t have the Lortab elixir either.  So in desperation we had the Tylenol 3 filled only to discover that it’s bright orange… which means red #40 which makes Sophie hyper and jittery.

But what could we do?

Back home again, a dose of the Tylenol 3 (chased with Benadryl) and the mayhem ensued.  Sophie was agitated, coming off of the anxiety med that they had given her in the ER (the one I told them not to give her), the Tylenol 3 was making her head spin and the Benadryl was making her drowsy.  She was a ticking time bomb and we all knew it. 

So Jim tried to call into work again, knowing that I would be alone with all three kids (M had to work too) and that Sophie would need to be carried to the bathroom or wherever if she needed to move and that the odds were good that she wasn’t going to sleep again which meant I wouldn’t sleep which meant I would be keeping the boys (who would be well rested) and Sophie who needed constant supervision the next day while he and M slept.

His work said no.

Matter of fact, they said Sophie wasn’t hurt badly enough to warrant it.




So off to work went M and Jim and off to insanity went I.

I refused to speak to Jim at all over the rest of the weekend.  I was furious.  Angry. Sleep deprived and irate.  How dare they!  How dare he?  This was Jim’s beloved ER that was saying that my Sophie wasn’t really hurt “all that bad” and that I was just being melodramatic! 

Grrr.  Getting mad again just thinking about it.

So the whole weekend was horrid.  I never really saw the boys other than to make sure they had something to eat and that they were still in the house and to put them to bed.  Every night Sophie would sleep listlessly and at least once (more like 2 or more times) she would pull off her splints.  Which necessitated immediate rewrappingas she would flail around and threaten to worsen her wrist injuries.  She was so agitated but luckily we were finally able to get the Lortab Elixir problem sorted out Saturday (I think… the days started running together there after a while) and that helped with the pain.  But even with that she pretty much required someone watching her 24/7 as she would either take the splints off or try to walk (which she was absolutely not supposed to do). 

So Monday morning dawned and Jim called the orthopedist and was told that the first available appointment was on Wednesday.  It should come as no surprise that that was totally unacceptable to me after the Hellish weekend I had just endured.  So I snatched the phone away from Jim and preceded to illustrate how “guano loco” had become over the weekend before bursting into tears on the phone with the receptionist, who took pity on me and called back 5 minutes later with an opening that morning!  Hooray!

So , because I was still mad at Jim by association, I asked M to go withme to the orthopedists.  But first we gave Sophie her last bath for the foreseeable future.  Her poor wrists were bruised and she was very ginger about being splint free, however I’m glad she was able to have that pre-casting bath.  So off we went!  After filling out reams of paperwork (no surprise there) we were taken back to be assessed and Sophie’s BabyLeg covered splints were quite the big hit in the office.  And then in walked Dr. Roberson.  He rounded the corner and pretty much the first thing out of his mouth was”they didn’t tell me about the foot” so he immediately turned around and went back out to email for the films.

And then he returned and confirmed that 3 casts were in order.  Turns out her foot is pretty much the most severe break.  Her 2nd and 3rd metatarsals are cracked into the growth plate in her first joint of her foot.  Apparently it’s serious enough that he’s going to keep an eye on it and may require surgery (EEK!) at some later date (here’s hoping it doesn’t!).  Also her finger is pretty serious too in that it’s a crack that runs down her finger towards the growth plate but not into it… and it too may cause problems as she gets older, so he’ll be watching that as well.  As for her arms, she has buckle fractures in both bones of both arms at the wrist but not in the growth plate so while they’re annoying and painful, they’re not as “bad” as the other cracks. 

So she’s now sporting a bright pink cast on her left arm, a bright green cast on her right arm and a blue cast on her right leg.  God Bless BabyLegs and Hannah Anderssen leg warmers!  We would be insane without them!  Seriously!  The casts are quite rough and the BabyLegs have helped protect her clothes (and us) from being scraped to pieces!! 

So anyway, once everything settled down I asked Sophie what had happened. 

She had gone outside to the sheep paddock and decided to climb the hickory tree near the clothes line.  So she positioned the ladder (don’t start with me about the ladder… we have rules about ladders, and Sophie has always been very careful with them and other than a means to get up the tree she was careful with it) under the tree and climbed up.  Then she climbed up into the tree.  According to her she was “way above the ladder” so we’re guessing about 15 feet from the ground.  She was happily climbing “chasing a bird” when she was accosted by a rather nasty squirrel who took offense that a human was in his tree. And since Sophie didn’t leave immediately, it (the squirrel) threw a nut at Sophie, hitting her nose (she did have a bruise on the bridge of her nose to back up this claim) and startling her.  When she brought her hands up to protect her face she lost her balance and fell out of the tree. (Aside- we do have an ill tempered squirrel in the sheep paddock, it barks and throws things at people who get too close to its tree so this isn’t a far-fetched story).  She doesn’t really remember anything from that point on, but we believe that she landed “monkey style” on her hands and feet, which would explain the foot and finger and the wrists as well.  After the fall she got up and staggered out of the sheep paddock but didn’t remember that we had put up a temporary fence for the sheep that blocked the porch stairs so when Jim found her, she was trying to find a way around. 

It was, quite honestly, the scariest thing I’ve ever encountered with Sophie.  At one point, as she was laying in a morphine induced sleep in the ER bed, I let my mind go to the “bad place” and nearly came unhinged.  She was laying there, still and non-responsive and she looked so unlike herself. And I kept feeling like I couldn’t get the staff to understand how Sophie is and they were just breezing through like nothing in the world… and poor Jim… he kept reliving Sophie saying “I fell from the tree and you didn’t save me” (which she told him when he picked her up when he found her).  And I am very much an emotional loner… don’t try to comfort me, touch me, don’t even look at me… because that means everything isas bad as I’m imagining it to be… I think I yelled at Jim twice and I mentally b*tch slapped a couple of the CT people for being rude to Sophie before she had anything for pain.

But in the end, we’re ok.  Sophie is still our same Sophie… albeit a little more respectful of trees.  She and I have had some pretty serious bonding over the last 2 weeks and in some ways I think it’s been a good thing just for that… not saying I want to ever go through something like this again.  Ever.

4 thoughts on “A Girl, a Tree and a Very Nasty Squirrel

  1. Amie

    Oh, Yuck. Just YUCK. I’m sitting here with tears in my eyes – how terrible!!!! I hope EVERYONE is feeling back to normal very soon!


  2. michelle

    medical professionals forget their compassion sometimes…a lot of the times! J needs to bust some heads! haha…or you can do it for him. I love that you have seen the bright side. I always threaten Keith with stuff like this…”if you don’t slow down and spend more time with us…God might make you slow down and you probably won’t like the way He does it!”
    Sounds like everyone is doing a lot better!


  3. mombycalling4me

    Shea, I am so sorry for Sophie’s nasty fall from the tree and her injuries. I will be praying for you guys and that she has a quick and solid recovery with no surgeries needed.

    Mary from TN
    still waiting for our little boy from Kyrgyzstan


  4. Suzanne

    Wow. So that’s how it all went down. What a nightmare. Poor wee Sophie. And you. And Jim. Keeping you all in my heart.

    Man, it is so hard to ignore the siren song of a good climbing tree.



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