My Son’s Broken Arm Changed Me More Than It Did Him

Almost two weeks after the incident I’m still trying to make sense of my son’s broken arm. Before this I thought broken arms were no big deal.  Even though I had never had one, nor did either of my brothers, I thought they were a normal part of life.

I don’t know if it’s just me or just this experience, but it has been anything but normal.  Our 4-year-old needed surgery, and for days after we struggled with the appropriate pain management.  He would alternately writhe in pain or glaze over in a sort-of catatonic state.  Thankfully after a few more days than the doctors considered “normal” he dropped the pain meds and our little boy is back to his usual self.  But it’s been a scary ride.

I’m sure he won’t remember the night we spent in the hospital or how terrifying the operating room looked as we walked in to the sterile space.  I know he won’t remember that I carried him and his sister the two avenues to the hospital as we all cried for different reasons.  In fact, he probably won’t have any recollection of the recent events around this broken elbow, but it may have changed my ways as a mother forever.

I’m featured at Mommyish today talking about my arc from free-range parent to helicopter mom.

Of course I know that kids break their arms no matter if they have free-range or helicopter moms, but maybe I’ll feel better — at least for now — hovering over them at every turn.


13 thoughts on “My Son’s Broken Arm Changed Me More Than It Did Him

  1. I keep waiting for it to happen. This boy. He jumps and leaps and I can’t always stop him or catch him or yell loud enough to cut that shit out before I have a heart attack and die and your 3 year old self keeps mistaking 9’s as 6’s so you’ll be dialing 611 WHICH WILL NOT HELP ME.

  2. I’m so sorry to read this. It doesn’t matter that other people have it worse, a mama seeing her baby in pain causes a primal response. What a horrible situation but am glad you are through the thick of it. He will heal, and you will too. It is just going to take a bit.

  3. I’m so sorry to read about your son. Nothing is scarier than our kids hurt – nothing. I hope you’re being gentle with yourself and getting some TLC too. Hugs to both of you!

  4. Thank goodness he’s ok! I am lucky in that my sons have never broken a bone (knock on wood). But I’ve had to go to the ER multiple times for various other things, including potential concussions…

  5. You poor thing. And your poor little monkey. I’m so sorry you all went through this.

    I’ve always considered myself helicoptery, but I think I’m not really. I let them run way ahead of me on the street, and I stopped going on the play structure with them when they were two. I firmly believe in climbing trees and using sharp tools. But I still watch them with lifeguard focus because they make really, really poor decisions.

    And mine broke his arm two weeks ago. An enviable, “if it has to be broken, this is a great way to go” clean break non-displaced and not on the growth plate. But I was still mad at the chaperones of that field trip. Who probably couldn’t have prevented any of it. Maybe.

    So maybe if we join forces and lasso them all together, and handcuff ourselves to them, and never blink again…

    • I’m so sorry you are going through it too. I’m sure even an “easy” break is still traumatic in other ways. I saw a post of yours about the broken arm but I think that was one-day post-op for me and I just didn’t have the stomach to read it. Now, two weeks later, I’m ready to make plans that involve lassos, bubblewrap and never blinking again.

  6. I’ve had this post saved in my inbox and I’m only just now getting to it (sorry!). What a terrible experience and I can’t believe someone didn’t ask if they could help. We’ve only had one ER trip so far and it ended up being gas, but Nathan was 2 and was in so much pain he was screaming and couldn’t stand. It is so scary to see them hurt and you can’t fix it.

    Hope he’s feeling better these days.

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