Postponing Disney.

This was due to be  posted a few weeks  ago, but I  just managed to get my photo uploader sorted out so it’s late.


If all had gone according to plan, we would be somewhere in the Carolinas today; maybe even Virginia or somewhere in Pennsylvania, slowly making our way back to Ontario from a ten-day vacation that would have included a trip to Disneyworld and nights spent camping on beaches along the Eastern coast, watching sea turtles come ashore to lay their eggs. But all didn’t go according to plan.

Despite our restless nature – the kennel name “Nomad” was not just chosen on a whim – we have never been on an extended trip together. The timing has never been right, the finances have never been available, there has never been anyone to take care of our dogs and, for the past few years, we have always had some form of livestock in the summer. This spring, however, we made the decision to forgo the livestock and to take a trip instead. Jenn spent at least a solid month booking hotels, planning the places we’d visit and mapping out the route we’d take; after all, why fly when, as they say, getting there is half the fun.

We were supposed to leave on a Wednesday. By Sunday, our bags were packed and at the front door; passes, hotel conformation numbers and tickets were on a shelf with our passports; sunscreen poked out of every almost-zipped compartment; the groceries had been done for the house/dog sitter; the kitchen floor was swept and the living room was vacuumed. We were ready to go.

Monday evening came, one full day left before we were supposed to leave, and I was outside with Hunter. I had some last-minute welding to do and she was playing in the yard. I had just set up my work pieces and was about to tack them together when I felt more than heard a loud thud and then the scream. I flung my welding mask one way, the welding rod another and ran to the sound that came from the other side of the truck only thirty feet away.

At first, it didn’t look that serious. It looked like Hunter had fallen a foot and a half off of the trailer and was more embarrassed than hurt. But I remembered the heavy ‘thud’ and the scream. This was not embarrassment. I ran over to her and lifted the heavy tailgate of the trailer off of her. Her leg was pinned between the ramp of the tailgate and the ground. I scooped her up and carried her to the steps where we sat down.

Normally, I try not to coddle her too much; I try to divert attention from cuts and bruises rather than make them worse by over reacting to them. But not this time: this time she was really hurt, probably scared, and definitely in need of attention. I held her tightly and tried to get her crying to stop. She managed to get herself under control enough to hear me. I tried to get her to move her foot a little, asking her if it hurt. It did. Lots. Already it had started to swell. My heart sank: it looked bad. I ran into the house to get some ice for the swelling, saying to myself the whole way “please don’t be broken, please don’t be broken…”

As soon as I had wrapped her leg up with the only suitable thing I could find – a bag of last year’s frozen blueberries – I lifted her into the truck, fastened her seatbelt and took off to get Jenn from work and then go to the hospital.

Hunter was in pain the whole ride in – thirty minutes and I was not paying much attention to the speed limit – but she scarcely said a word. Jenn was sitting between the two front seats helping hold Hunter’s leg still and comforting her. At this point, we thought it was badly sprained. The swelling was held in check a little by the blueberries and we had the leg elevated with all the crap we had left in the truck. Thank goodness we can’t seem to keep our truck neat.

At the hospital, the triage nurse moved Hunter’s leg around, rotated her foot and had her push against his chest with her foot. If it hurt her, she never complained. He took her temperature and fitted her with an ID tag and sent us out into the waiting room. It was now six o’clock.

The waiting room was full of people in various stages of pain and suffering. Some were sick with a cold, some were wheeling around IV bags, others were losing blood at a worrisome rate and yet, not many seemed to be paid any attention. We all had to sit on uncomfortable chairs and for anyone in a similar situation as ours, with a kid who isn’t comfortable unless one leg is elevated, this proves to be a challenge.

I could make this post about our seriously understaffed, over-administrated hospital, or wait times, but I won’t. I will leave it at this: we were finally called to the examining room at 02h30, a full eight and a half hours after our admittance. The people beside us with an infant suffering from severe bloody diarrhea waited equally as long. When we were finally called to the examining room, we waited a further half-hour. We still thought that Hunter’s leg was sprained because the swelling had gone down and there was no bruising at all. Jenn and I, amid our frustration earlier, had debated going home but since we were headed to Florida in a day and a half, we thought it best to stick things out and make sure.

It was well that we did: the x-rays that were finally taken at 03h00 showed a break in Hunter’s leg. Both bones, just above the growth plates. The balloon of excitement for our trip lost all of it’s air at once because with a cast on her leg, Hunter would be in no shape to run around Disney or frolic on the beaches. Our trip would have to wait.

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The first x-ray of Hunter’s leg.  As the technician said: “There’s a reason it hurts.”

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The hastily applied cast that Hunter left the hospital with.


Hunter’s leg was put in a cast that left Jenn and I wondering if this was the doctor’s first day at the hospital or perhaps their last. Finally looked at, diagnosed and treated, we left the hospital at 03h45.

Jenn spent the following day in the hospital, waiting for the orthopedic surgeon to reset Hunter’s leg and put on a proper cast, which ended up being a three quarter length, fiberglass cast, ending mid-thigh. Even with an appointment at 09h00, Hunter wasn’t fully finished until around 19h00 at night. She and Jenn spent the night in the hospital and were finally released mid-afternoon on Wednesday, forty-two hours since our admittance Monday night.

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Hunter’s x-ray after being set and re-cast.


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Hunter and her new cast.


It has now been just over two weeks with Hunter and her cast. She has found her mobility in a wheelchair quite well and is managing her walker with ease. She goes in to see the orthopedic surgeon on Thursday to see if everything has set well enough to have the three quarter length cast removed and a shorter one put on in its place.

Once things had sorted themselves out, I managed to find out what happened with Hunter and trailer gate. She had pulled out the only pin holding the gate upright because she thought it would make a great drawbridge for the game she was playing. I can’t begin to explain how bad I feel that I never bothered to replace the second pin for the gate.


*UPDATE on the kid: Hunter’s leg is healing well, according to the orthopedic surgeon. Her long cast was removed and a shorter one below her knee was put on. Next week, the doctors will have another look at Hunter’s leg and then decide if she is ready for a walking cast.


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Hunter’s leg after two weeks of healing.


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The new cast.  (and a tiger drawn on the other leg – she ran out of room on the old cast.)


2 Responses

  1. ah, so that’s what happened! Ouch, can’t believe she wasn’t wincing in pain when they were first manipulating her leg. I remember breaking my foot and squealing when the put the cast on, just keeping it straight was SO painful. And they did a crap job on my cast too, all bumpy and ugly. How embarassing(well, I was 16, everything is embarassing at that age!).

    Good to hear she’s on the mend, nice green cast too!

    When is the trip to Disneyland now??

    • I think she was pretty brave, all things considered. We haven’t yet decided when we’re going, but are thinking sometime between the end of tornado/hurricane season there and the beginning of winter driving here. We also don’t want to jeopardize training season…

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