I Drink Because My Daughter Feels No Pain

In a rare move, I decided to make our bed yesterday. As I pulled back the rumpled pile of sheets to smooth them back up, I noticed a straight pin. You know, the kind with the yellow heads that are used to hold fabric together for sewing projects?

I audibly gasped. What the hell?! Why is that in our bed and WHO and HOW and OMG. Ouch!

As I leaned over to pick it up, I started to register that this wasn’t… exactly… what I thought it was. Upon closer inspection, it looked thicker, with a larger head, and spots of blood on it.

I think it took half a second for my brain to jump from, “I can’t believe the kids got into my sewing stuff,” to, “I CAN’T BELIEVE SHE GOT THIS OUT OF HER ARM.”


Let me take you back to the beginning.

Leyna, our 3 year old, got a hard temporary cast a few days after she fell on New Years Eve and broke both the bones in her arm. The plan was to keep it on for a week, then replace it once the swelling went down with another cast that would be on for another 3 weeks.


Last Wednesday, she woke to go to school and we noticed we could barely see her fingers from the tip of her cast. Before we even made it out the door, she completely pulled the thing off, leaving a freshly broken arm with nothing to protect it.

She’d been in at least a hard splint since our first trip to urgent care, so obviously I was a little freaked out about her hurting it further now that it was exposed.

Long story short, that was the day I fired our pediatrician’s office (that we’ve been going to for 5.5 years). They told me they couldn’t get her in for 24 hours for a new cast (or even a splint, or even a referral for someone else who could put it in a cast or a splint). SHE IS THREE. Their advice? Just keep her still and keep it in a sling until tomorrow. 

Cue hysterical rage laughter and angry momma bear call to the office manager. She wound up back in that day after they magically found someone to re-cast her. But first, x rays.

As we walked out of the office, minutes after her 2nd cast dried, I got a call. We needed to come back in. The x rays showed something “different.” We got a referral to an orthopedic surgeon and were told to go there immediately.

The surgeon took more x rays, and the conclusion was she needed surgery. FAST. The bone was healing crooked.

So… really glad I didn’t let the 3 year old hang out without a cast and in a sling that she’d spend 24 hours trying to hang herself with. Except maybe she would have fallen and re-broken it, making surgery a little easier?

Last Friday, we showed up at the hospital at 5:30 am. They took her back at 7, fully sedated her, made an incision and re-broke her bones, re-set them, and held them in place with 2 pins. Then they put a hard splint back on and tightly bandaged her with several layers of cotton and a secure ace bandage.

She’s recovered well, and mostly just complains that the bandages are itchy. She sleeps like crap at night though, tossing and turning and always ending up in bed with us. This isn’t necessarily a problem associated with the broken arm, but it’s made worse by this whole ordeal.

A couple nights ago, I don’t think she ever actually fell asleep. She fidgeted and whined and talked. Scott and I dozed in and out, taking turns trying to make her comfortable. She never once cried from pain, though. And when she woke, the bandages on her arm didn’t look like she completely removed them and then re-wound them on her own.

Which is the only way I can even imagine removing something like this on her own.


But no. The hard splint (which is a lot like a cast but just not as hard on the outside) appeared to be untouched.

All the doctors and nurses have no idea how she did this. She had to work on that pin and pull it out sideways under the hard splint, which is just…

The good news is there were 2 pins in there. The lone survivor seems to be doing it’s job still, and her arm is staying straight for now. We’ll re-examine next week. As soon as the surgeon got done telling her, “neat trick, kid!” he wrapped her arm up in a maximum security hard pink cast.

That, of course, daddy will have to re-paint a “cat-cat” on soon.

Meanwhile, I’ll just be over here drinking margaritas because my daughter is either part X-Man or from the planet of Krypton.

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  1. I’m laughing but I’m also horrified because I’m pretty sure my baby is also whatever breed of crazy your daughter is, so I’m so screwed.

  2. What a story! My 5-year-old has an extremely high pain tolerance as well. He broke his arm when he was 3 and cried for a few minutes then went back to playing. It was a little swollen but he said it felt fine so we figured it was a sprain and put him to bed that night. The next morning he walked downstairs (never conplaining once) with his arm just kind of hanging at his side. Yep, we totally put him to bed with a broken arm and did not realize it until the next morning. That is the day we put it our applications for parents of the year.

  3. Bethany Keeler on

    So, there is a legitimate syndrome where you don’t feel pain. It’s usually diagnosed pretty early because the kid gets hurt so much. Does your mama gut feel like that’s a possibility?

  4. While I’m crossing my fingers you and your little one get some legit sleep soon….the doctor’s response made me spit out my tea all over the screen. Like wtf kid…but ummm OK?! haha thank goodness no broken bones yet…but this horror story will be the first thing on my mind when it does happen!!!

  5. Your daughter has some mad skills! I can only hope my kiddos 1. don’t require pins in their arms 2. aren’t able to perform such stellar shenanigans. I wonder what other secret maneuvers she’s employing at night…maybe time to set up a motion camera 😉

  6. I’m so grossed out by this, it’s not even funny. Please never let my daughter break her arm… Also amused by the baby in the background with finger toes. 🙂

  7. Stacia Ellermeier on

    Holy cow!!!!! My jaw dropped. That’s amazing she pulled that pin out on her own. It gives me the willies!!!

  8. Oh my God! Kids are great! My now 18 year old son with special needs doesn’t seem to feel pain either. He bent a rather large titanium pin in his heel but he didn’t get it out!
    I wish you lots of tequila and lime!

  9. My little sister has a very high pain threshold as well. The only worrying thing is teaching them to tell you about accidents even if they don’t hurt them. My sister walked on a broken foot for two days. Luckily she didn’t need surgery even though it had three breaks.

  10. I went through a similar sequence of events when I was a teenager with a broken arm. When the surgeon removed my pins, he did not numb the skin first. All I felt was a weird tickling feeling deep in my arm then a small scrape as the end of the pin moved through the skin. It sounds like it should be really painful to pull one of those pins out but unless the skin has grown to the pin it is not.

  11. “Keep her still and (the arm) in a sling until tomorrow”?!?! A three year old? Have they MET at three year old before?!

    Sorry, rant over.

    Glad she’s on the mend!

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