Jul 28, 2008 by Jared Smith

Life is full of lots of decisions. For instance, every day of my life I have to decide whether to wear dark blue jeans or light blue jeans, ham and cheese or peanut butter and jelly – you know, those kind of decisions. Today, we had to decide whether to subject our daughter to two surgeries or let her grow up with a crooked arm.

Abbies arm
As you can see, purple is the color of choice this week.

When Abbie broke her arm 3 weeks ago, it was VERY crooked. The doctor was able to get things set in place nice and straight, but things have since shifted so there is now a 20 degree angle in the bones in her forearm. It’s not freakish like it was when it first happened, but if you look closely, you can tell it is crooked. If you put your arm in front of you with your palm down, the arm angles upward half way between the wrist and elbow.

Today we spent A LOT of time in the doctors office reviewing our options. We could choose to let it continue to grow as is with the possibility that it would straighten out a bit (it won’t ever be perfectly straight) and that she will maintain good rotation of her arm, or we could choose to have surgery where they would straighten the bones and put them in place with some very expensive hardware (hardware they would have the gall to take away from her a few years later). Of three doctors that advised us, one said to definitely let it heal on it’s own, one said to flip a coin, and one said to definitely do surgery. A lot of good those 2nd opinions were!

It was a VERY difficult decision (and I can assure you that the cost of surgery never even entered our minds), but we decided to keep the cast on and see how it it heals. The risks of surgery outweighed the fact that she will have a slightly crooked arm. Did we make the right decision?

Of course, surgery may still be in her future if she cannot regain good rotation of her arm. None of this will affect movement of the arm itself, but will affect rotation of the arm. With your arm out in front of you with your palm down, rotate your hand so that the palm is now facing up. Notice how the two bones in the forearm rotate around each other. With both bones angled, she may not be able to fully put her palm straight down or straight up, which means she would be a very rotten volleyball player and it will always be “give me 5, on the side” for her. It might also affect her ability to grasp things with her palm down (think riding a bike, doing a pull-up, or pushing the lawnmower).

We’re hoping and praying that after 3 more weeks in the cast and after some therapy that she’ll regain enough motion that it will not affect her long-term. We’ll keep you up-to-date.

Now that this rather depressing post is coming to an end, here’s a video of our kids entertaining themselves.

They do that A LOT! Yes, my children have perfect equilibrium.

  1. 3 Responses to “Decisions”

  2. And you’re worried about her crooked arm? I think you may have a lot more to worry about:) We’ll keep Abbie in our prayers. Keep us updated.

    By Trisha on Jul 28, 2008

  3. I know what you mean about making tough decisions like that. Ethan has had to have ear tubes put in three times. Minor, I know, but that is still three times under anesthesia and it kind of freaks you out as a parent. I hope she heals well.

    By Erin on Jul 31, 2008

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