Saturday, January 28, 2017

Oh Nose!

My last post was about Connor's 10th birthday. Every year on his birthday, I make him pose for a few birthday pictures to commemorate the day. Nothing fancy, just some shots in the front yard before school. Little did I know how much I would be thankful for these 10-year-old pics on May 3, 2016!

Connor age 10. Make note of that handsome face!

Why, you ask, would I be so thankful of these 10-year pics? Well, make note of that handsome face on my sweet little man, because it'll never be the same again!

A few days after Connor's birthday, he was in school taking the STAAR test. For those unaware, the STAAR test is the Texas state assessment test required by all public schools, and all 4th graders are required to take the writing, math, and reading portions of the exam. Let me just say, the STAAR test days are brutal for these kids. Heck, they're brutal for everyone. The poor kiddos are essentially on lockdown in their classroom for HOURS while all kids take the exam. By the end of the testing day, the kids are worn out mentally but have so much pent up energy since they haven't been out of their chairs for most of the day.

So on this particular day, a few days after Connor's 10th birthday, Connor had just finished taking the STAAR test and was perhaps a little antsy in his chair as he waited for the last few students to wrap up their tests. Have I mentioned that the classrooms are cold? Well, they are. Ridiculously cold. So not only is Connor bored out of his mind, he is also freezing to death. Because, you know, it's May -- in Texas -- so he's wearing shorts and short sleeves. And the classroom is so cold that he's miserably uncomfortable. Luckily he had his sweatshirt/hoodie, but as you know, that type of garment only covers so much. Connor, being the genius kid that he is, decided to try to use his sweatshirt to warm as much surface area on his body as possible. So he pulled his arms inside his sweatshirt. Seems harmless enough, right? Until he decided to bend his legs and pull his knees up inside there as well. This, I later learned, is what he referred to as "turtle mode."

So there is Connor, riding out the last few minutes of the STAAR testing period, all warm and cozy in "turtle mode" in his seat. Alas, the boredom and subsequent squirming took over, and that is when the poor turtle clumsily rolled out of his chair and onto the floor. Sadly, "turtle mode" doesn't allow for much flexibility. So when Connor hit the floor, he didn't have the use of his arms or legs to catch his fall. The front of his face took a direct hit with the hard floor, square on his nose.

Connor recounted later that he just laid there, in extreme pain, facedown on the floor. His classmates immediately started laughing. Because let's face it, it's funny when someone falls out of their chair! Soon the kids realized that Connor wasn't moving because he was in pain and, well, he was still confined by his sweatshirt. His teacher asked him to get up, and he slowly extricated himself from his sweatshirt and sat up. And THAT is when Ms. Vivier realized that Connor was injured and needed attention. The kids' laughter turned to gasps when they saw Connor completely smashed and bloodied. Ms. Vivier sent Connor and a friend to the restroom to get him cleaned up. He was a bit in shock and also in extreme pain, but he told me later that he did NOT cry (and it was evident that he had to try very hard not to)! Connor did his best to wash his face and stop the bleeding, and then he returned to the classroom. Ms. Vivier took one look at him and thought, "Oh my gosh, his nose is so crooked!"

Ms. Vivier needed to get Connor to the nurse's office, but the classrooms were still on lockdown for STAAR so she couldn't leave the room. She happened to see the principal, Mr. Mosher, walking down a nearby hallway so she called out to him to escort Connor, still bleeding heavily and in terrible pain, to the nurse. Not long after he arrived at the nurse, I got the call from her office. She was so sweet, telling me that Connor was OK but that he had fallen from his chair and hurt his nose. Of course, I nearly died laughing because that was SO something my clumsy boy would do. But then she said, "Well, it looks broken..." and of course I was no longer laughing. Broken... what?!

I was right down the street so I went straight to the school to see Connor. When I walked into the nurse's office, he was there with the nurse, her assistant, his teacher, the principal, and one of the office staff members. They were all SO worried about him, and I guess that's when I realized how serious it was. Poor Connor was covered in ice packs. As soon as he saw me, it took everything he had not to burst into tears. His eyes welled up and he removed the ice packs so I could see the damage.

My first look at Connor's new nose.

It was very swollen but his nose looked terrible. Poor Connor, he was in so much pain but was trying to stay strong. The nurse and everyone present was sure his nose was broken, so we began talking about how I should handle it. I was so touched by everyone's concern for Connor and how sweet they were to him during the entire visit. We pulled Kaitlynn out of class and decided to head to the emergency room at Texas Children's Hospital.

On the way to the ER, Connor was finally able to let down his guard, and he was in so much pain. He wasn't saying much about the accident. Kaitlynn and I felt SO bad for him! Kaitlynn started crying because she was so worried.

Connor on the way to the ER in so much pain.

We got to the ER and got all checked in. About that time, the adrenaline had worn off and Connor was hurting and scared. He shed some tears and it just broke my heart.

Close-up of the nose injury. It really looks broken here.

Of course, as bad as I felt for him, the humor in the accident wasn't lost on me. I was texting my friends and family, joking about how only MY kid could break his nose -- during the STAAR test! Connor and I later joked that we think he got his clumsy genes from his Dad!

With an ice pack and throw-up bag in the ER waiting room. Not in good shape.

When we were finally seen by the ER nurses, they were all commenting on how broken it looked. They told us that the only thing they could do was to refer us to a plastic surgeon. Apparently plastic surgeons are the "only ones who will touch noses." But they suggested that we get an X-ray of his nose to take with us to the surgeon.

Assessment by the ER physician.

Getting his face x-rayed.

It was around this time that Connor began to feel much better. He had initially stated his pain level at a 9 out of 10, but after the x-rays it dropped to a 1.5. He was ready to go home! And then the ER nurse came back in with some surprising news: according to the x-ray, his nose was NOT broken!

Say what?? We were shocked and so were they, but hey, we were so happy that Connor could go home and resume normal activities. So that's what we decided to do!

Finally leaving the hospital.

It wasn't until a couple days later that we realized something wasn't quite right...

Continued here... Oh Nose! Part 2