Broken Bones

His face was green and his pupils were dilated.

November 22, 2017 | | Headwaters Nest

It was just a regular workday at my government job, but I was excited because I was going to have visitors. My son Adrian had begged for a trip with his younger cousin to the trampoline park close to where I work, and they were headed down with his father. We would connect for a lunch date and I would show him around the office.

Around noon, as I sat in a planning meeting, my phone buzzed right on time. However, when I flipped my phone over, the text made my eyes open wide: “A is hurt and we are going to the hospital.” The hair on the back of my neck stood up. I left the meeting immediately, trying to get a cell signal which can be tricky in some corners of our massive office building.

Mercifully, I reached my husband quickly and he told me that just a few minutes into Adrian’s trampoline adventure, he stuck a landing – on his left shoulder. Ouch! We agreed our home hospital in Orangeville was likely to have a shorter wait time than the Brampton hospital. I was able to leave work and race back to Orangeville, all the while consoling myself it was probably no more than a bruised ego.

As I zipped through the sliding doors of Headwaters Health Care Centre, I received another text message: “We are in X-ray.” Knowing our local hospital so well was an advantage – I knew where to go without having to think or stop for directions. And there was my little guy, pale and shivery in a wheelchair. Oh, how your heart stops when you see your child in pain! He held his arm close, but it was at an odd angle.

My instinct was to gather him up in my arms, even though he is now as tall as I am. Instead, I gently touched his other arm and asked him how he was feeling. He told me he felt sick. Adrenalin was still coursing through his body, but I could tell that an hour or so after the fact, it was starting to wear off. His face was green and his pupils were dilated.

The doctor breezed in – and I suddenly felt old, thinking this fellow was young enough to be my son, never mind treat my son! But he was lovely, and his casual manner calmed us down, even as he told us that, indeed, Adrian had broken his humerus just below the big bulb-y part (my non-medical term). The doctor would sling him and we would see the surgeon in five days.

Those five days were an eternity. Adrian felt tired and, because there is no easy way to cast this kind of break, the sling did little to protect him. He cried out when he bumped it. The weekend was filled with attention and spoiling.

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  • On Tuesday morning we attended the clinic in the new wing of the hospital. Everyone was as cheery and bright as the clean walls, and sunlight beamed in. The assembly line of injured came and went, from a gentleman in suit who peeled off his socks for a review of his crushed foot, to a volleyball player whose nasty cast was being removed with a saw. Ah, the relief! We anxiously waited our turn.

    Adrian wouldn’t need surgery, the surgeon said positively. Just rest, wear the sling and let gravity pull the bone into place for healing. Fast forward four weeks, and X-ray number two wasn’t as positive – healing was slow and the bone was setting up a web on the opposite side of the break for support. Looking at the X-rays, I felt the magic and terror of the human body simultaneously. Adrian’s little body was in control and there was nothing I could do about it. No number of bowls of cereal, special meals, rented movies, or visits from Gramma and Grampa or friends could help me put that bone back together for him.

    I’ve been trying to keep my cool over this, but we will see the surgeon again this week and I’m not convinced Adrian’s little chicken bones have enough weight to pull his arm down and into place. Plus, he eats like a bird, so where will the energy come from to feed the magic bone factory? I am worried about his ability to play sports like baseball, or to ski with his usual fearless approach to the finish line. I know it’s not the end of the world – families look after children much sicker than this, and that helps ground me.

    While we wait for his bone to meld together, I look at him with a bit of awe. There are pieces of him that I can’t fix, I can’t feed or will away, and this is only the beginning.

    Fun Stuff To Do

    It’s (ugly) sweater weather!

    Enliven all the holiday parties by creating your own “ugly Christmas sweater.” Bring a sweater to the Shelburne library on Thursday, December 7, from 6 to 7 p.m., and the library will supply all the pompoms, tinsel and other accessories you’ll need to make your own hilarious vision come to life. Register at 519-925-2168 or [email protected]. Open to youth in Grades 7 and up.

    Tour the planets

    If you haven’t yet discovered the treasury of kids’ activities offered by Peel Art Gallery, Museum and Archives, the Christmas holidays may be the time to do it. For seven days (December 27 to 29 and January 2 to 5, drop in from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.) PAMA offers a tour of the planetary system, presenting a different planet each day. The other-worldly activities include creating a Mercury-inspired postcard, learning about the storms on Jupiter (and in Peel), imagining a journey to Uranus and making an edible solar system.

    Attention Girl Guides, Brownies and Pathfinders

    Credit Valley Conservation has teamed up with Girl Guides Canada to deliver programs at Terra Cotta Conservation Area’s Watershed Learning Centre. Winter day courses this year include snowshoeing and “Frozen Forest” exploration. Register by emailing [email protected] or calling 905-670-1615 ext. 436. Note that program participants can collect their seasonal winter badge from CVC. 

    Take the kids for an urban ski day!

    If you feel the need to head to a big city mall for the January sales, consider dropping the kids at Chinguacousy Park Brampton while you shop. They can enjoy tons of outdoor fun on “Mount Chinguacousy,” the park’s popular hill for beginner skiers, snowboarders and tubing enthusiasts. Then, when you return to pick them up, take time to enjoy the newly constructed, all-season, licensed facility which boasts a comfortable lounge area with fireplace, food service and an outdoor viewing deck. The hill is open December 27 through March, weather permitting.

    Have you seen our new website?

    We took the time this year for a refresh of our website. At, our full calendar of local events is now much easier to sift and sort through, and we invite you to take a look. All the Headwaters Nest columns are archived as well, if you feel like a look back over the years.

    Happiest of holidays to all our friends and readers!

    About the Author More by Bethany Lee

    Bethany Lee is a freelance writer who lives in Mono.

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