The Negative Is A Given…May I Instead Express My Gratitude?

As I write this, I am sitting in a post operation recovery room next to my son who has just been extubated.  Not a fun thing to witness. Seeing my baby belted to a stretcher in an ambulance will also go down as one of my least favorite visions to date.  He is sleeping soundly and all I can think to do is lose myself in the writing of an entry while I anxiously await the opening of his eyes.

Yesterday, while at a birthday party in Central Park, Zachary (2 years, 9 months) broke his femur bone.

A year and a half ago he broke his tibia on the same leg, and in the third trimester of pregnancy with his baby sis, I thought that was horrific beyond horrific.

Zachary’s First Cast – Age 15 months

This injury makes that one seem like a hangnail.

The femur, for those who don’t know, is the thigh bone and the largest bone in the human body. It’s best to keep that bone in one piece… If you can….just do your best.

The story goes…

We had just arrived, and I ran off to the bathroom leaving the kids playing soccer with my husband and other guests. On my way back across the vast green lawn, I was greeted by my friend’s husband who calmly informed me that Zachary hurt his leg.


Still walking toward the picnic area.

“What do you mean?”

“Well, the ambulance is on its way”

“Ambulance?!” I picked up speed and sprinted to my baby lying in the grass screaming under my husband’s hold.

There is so much that happened in between that moment and this one, but I am too emotionally and physically drained to go through them all here.  (And I’m sure none of you have the time or energy to read the 17 pages that would require.)

Instead of a play-by-play of the nightmare and all the emotions that go along with it, I am dedicating this entry to a detailed depiction of the treatment we’ve received at this state of the art children’s hospital on the upper east side of Manhattan.

I am overwhelmed, astounded and bowing in gratitude to the Kravis Children’s Hospital at Mount Sinai. To each and every employee of the 56+ that we have come into contact with since the blinking lights and sirens fetched us from the damp grass of sheep’s meadow yesterday at around 3 pm,

We Love You.

As the ambulance pulled out of the park with Zachary and I in tow, Steve ran off to our car with Isabelle to meet us at the ER.   The paramedics informed me that we were in between two hospitals and gave me my pick.  All I said, with our experience at St. Barnabas in NJ at the forefront of my mind, was that I wanted a place where they had the skills to communicate amicably with other human beings, especially small ones. In unison, they answered,

“Mount Sinai”, turned right on Central Park West and headed north.

As I assisted them with wheeling  my son through the double doors of the emergency room on Madison Avenue, I was struck by the walls of brightly colored, fanciful murals of underwater palaces, zoo animals and merry-go-rounds.  I immediately knew we were in the right place.  The admitting nurse, dressed in Care Bear scrubs and a cheerful smile, grabbed Zachary’s trembling hand, spoke to him with more of a maternal tone than I can often muster and the deal was sealed. Thank God.

From there, with no paperwork, we were brought to a little private room decorated in a jungle theme and were  met there seconds later by Crystal, the Child Life Specialist. Crystal handed Zachary an iPad and asked what his favorite shows were so she could fetch a portable DVD player and some of his personal requests.

ER Jungle Room

A few minutes later, a sprightly and warm doctor walked in accompanied by Crystal and a nurse.  She approached Zachary and talked with him about what happened.

“I tripped over a soccer ball and hurt my knee”

He said with a sad little pout.

With what lay ahead, they felt a morphine shot was needed. While the nurse administered the needle into his good leg, Crystal pulled out a colorful bottle and blew happy little bubbles over his head.

I can go on and on, but every person we met moving forward from radiology, to the pediatric admittance wing, to the OR, to OR recovery, treated us in the same kind, loving, patient and joyful manner.

THIS, ladies and gentlemen is how we take care of our kids.

(Says the woman whose child has broken two bones in a year and a half…)

It seems that this establishment has paid St Barnabas’ karmic debt in diamonds, ten times over.

So, I guess I could have written this entry as a panicked desperate question of how in the freakin’ hell we are going to survive the next six eternal weeks during the dead of Summer with two toddlers…one running around with unbridled vim and vigor and the other, vim and vigor tightly bridled under 15 pounds of plaster, immobile from the sternum down in what they call a “spica cast”.  But, I feel it might be best to write that entry in a few weeks when I actually have the answer.  Right now we are almost as paralyzed as our son concerning that question and have no earthly idea. Stay tuned….

While I right this blog…zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz

P. S.
For those who are nervous to point out that two broken bones in 18 months is a bit suspicious and could point to something more serious, we preemptively thank you for your concern.  Rest assured that the thought has crossed our minds as well, but five different doctors and six nurses have told us that both injuries “make sense” as far as the accidents themselves, and we should chalk it up to good old bad luck. 50 percent of me believes them. Don’t think for a second that I won’t continue to look into it further.

This is how he woke up from anesthesia…Oh Zachary.

If you ask him about it, he says

“I broke my leg.  The doctors helped me, but I was a little bit scared”

Direct quote.


51 responses to “The Negative Is A Given…May I Instead Express My Gratitude?

  1. I heard that direct quote from the sweet boy himself… he seems a little bit fascinated by the whole thing!! I also heard that he had an orange popsicle and then took a nap, then had a blue popsicle, then took a nap, then had a green popsicle… =)

    Given all that your family has been through recently, I’m so glad that you had some comfort during this frightening ordeal!!

  2. I’ve been waiting to read this. Poor baby. But in true Zachary style, he is so strong and that smile just melts my heart. Feel better soon little guy. Give him a huge hug from us.

  3. glad that during a really crappy thing — people stepped up and treated your family amazing!! Our family will pray for Zach and yours!

  4. Oh Emiy, sorry to hear of your little boys mishap.Hope his recovery is swift which i’ m sure will be awhile..
    But kids are resilient. & he will find a way to motor.prayers for all.

  5. Emily- I am brushing away tears as I read this…dismayed that this has happened to our sweet Zachary, but also with joy at your experience at Mt. Sinai. I’m so glad that your experience was at least as good as it could be under the circumstances. Hugs to all of you and a big smootch for Mr. Z.

    • Awwww, Becky….smootch passed on to Z. Thank you. And what you didn’t know, as I was waiting for my teaching schedule was that I was supposed to be in LA from yesterday to monday. I was about to text and see if I could stop by this weekend. 😦

  6. He is amazing!

  7. John Perricone


    I know of few experiences that burden the heart more than seeing your child in pain. Next time we get together, I’ll tell you about the three weeks Vicki and I spent at the Ronald McDonald House when Loren was ten and had to be hospitalized for three weeks for an “abnormaility” that showed up on a brain scan. I will never forget the people there who enveloped us with love, and I will never see the small jar on McDonald’s counter in the same light. For all the misery that the evening news delivers to our lives each day, it’s so nice to be reminded that there are always angels in our midst doing the right thing. Our love to you and to Zachary.

    P.S. Don’t give it a second thought, but we thought it was important to error on the side of caution — child protective services have been alerted.

    • wow…so much to comment on. First of all, I would have had to be put away if I went through what you went through with Loren. That is terrifying. I am so glad everything was OK. How did you get through those three weeks?

      Second…child protective services…agreed. I actually find it strange that nary a social worker questioned us! Seriously! I’m sure there were “behind the scenes” discussion, but as this injury happened in Central Park around 50 people maybe they felt it wasn’t necessary.

  8. Oh Zachary!!!! Hugs and kisses–what a brave boy you are! now let’s find you a more sedentary hobby–checkers? Adlibs? Chutes and Ladders? 🙂 XOXO

  9. He is the bravest little boy I know and I love him and all of you to the moon and back!!

  10. Poor Zachary! It is extremely difficult to know your child is in pain and not be able to fix it immediately. Thankfully you were given a choice of hospitals and were able to go to one whose core value of making children comfortable was apparent the moment you walked through the door and reiterated with each employee you encountered. I am positive you will find ways to make the next six weeks pass by quickly for Zachary ~ perhaps there are some more toy making projects in your future. 🙂

  11. Sending you and your family much light for a quick healing for Zachary and a graceful recovery for all! xxoo

  12. Oh Emily! What an ordeal!! As a mom, I know how awful and scary it is to see your children in pain. I hope he heals quickly. Sending you lots of love and healing energy!

  13. Only you could make us laugh at such a horrific 2 days…. And 6 weeks to come!!! Love you all tons!!!

  14. Oh, dear, sweet family, I’m so sorry.

    Loving healthcare professionals make me just sob. Of all the Times we need humanity…thank goodness for all four of you they know what kids’ hearts need.

    • Thank you, Christine. We are doing surprisingly well. Kids are certainly resilient. Its a huge adjustment, but we are figuring it all out.

      Also, I must thank you for not pointing out the HUGE and laughable typo at the beginning of this post. Until this evening, this post read that one of my least favorite visions to date is “seeing YOUR child on a stretcher”. As, thankfully I did not see any of my reader’s children on a stretcher, that makes very little sense. fixed. No matter how many times your proofread….geez, you would think that I was distracted by a screaming, immobile toddler! 😉

      • I’m excruciatingly hard on professional material printed for public consumption. I don’t bat an eye at typos in friends’ emails or blog posts. My posts have plenty of typos, even without the stress of two small children, one of whom has a broken femur. Maybe I didn’t notice, maybe I cut humans copious amounts of slack. Either way, don’t remember being horrified.
        Glad you’re all doing better.

  15. I, too was waiting for this entry. Hugs to the nugget. What a brave little man. Glad that you finally experienced the health care that your family needs! The team at Women’s Care of Beverly Hills just sighed a collective sigh of relief. xo

  16. Oh Em, I am so sorry this has happened and may god give you the strength to get through the next 6 weeks! I know it must have been awful to see your child in pain! as for Zachary, that face, what a sweet happy boy…..god bless him too! Hugs to your family

  17. Susan Dysarczyk

    Oh Emily, he is such a trooper, I feel so bad that you all had to go through this. I am praying for a quick recovery. He is the sweetest little guy ever, just look at that face and that he managed to smile. We are thinking of all of you. xo

  18. Emily!!! Omgoodness!!! I had no idea it was this bad!! I mean, I knew it couldn’t be good but I’ve never seen a cast so big. I’ll call you soon but please know that I’ll be praying for Zachary and for you guys too. Much love and prayers, Alison xoxo

  19. oh my gosh Em, my prayers are with you and your family, sending good vibes that Zach heals fast and that it is an easy road of recovery for you all!!

  20. Glad he’s through that part, I know the coming weeks will pose a great challenge, but I have no doubt you will find creative and effective ways to handle it…

  21. James Nardella

    Amazing, that is a lot for a little guy to go through. I can’t believe it Emily. We will be praying for a quick and permanent healing.

  22. Oh Em…my heart is breaking reading all of this! Seeing these pics of Zachary are flooding both Joel and I with every emotion imaginable…the last thing a parent wants is to EVER see their child suffer. My heart goes out to your boy…he is so brave…and as you will discover, stronger and more resilient than you could ever imagine. And to you and Steve…keep breathing…and keep the popsicles flowing! AAh…that explains why you’re not out here this weekend! xoxoxoxoxoxo, M

    • Melissa! I know you get it. And I will not pretend that our experience has been nearly as hard as all you’ve gone through with Jude. We love you guys so much and I am so sad that my trip didn’t work out this year. I was dying to hug all of you. Love you!

  23. omg!!! I am so sorry! I missed this completely. Big hugs to you and your whole family. I’m crying, but so glad beautiful Zachary is all smiles. XO

  24. I was so blessed to have been the first nurse to encounter Zachary @ Mount Sinai’s ER. He truely was the bravest little boy I have treated, Ryan the EMS, first responder agreed. Your leg was splinted, but your spirit was enormous. Your smile was priceless. Come back when you are healed, we can always use a ray of your sunshine in our busy ER.

    • Susan,
      This made me cry. Quite seriously. You were amazing with my baby and we will never forget you. I can’t thank you enough for all you did to calm my boy and for all you do on a daily basis to help other families through difficult times. You are amazing.

      and, we just might come back and visit when Zachary gets his cast off. One week from today!

  25. Wow reading this makes me feel so much better my son just broke his femur. He just turned two we were having a snow day from the blizzard that never turned out to much a few days ago. We live in NJ my son had new stiff snow boots on and was running around my dinning room table and got caught on my laptop cord and fell. The scream told me something was seriously wrong. I couldn’t imagine he broke a bone just falling but figured we better take him to get checked. We were after the took the first X-ray they immediately told me you are going to head right to chop in Philly. Then they said surgery and put under and I was like what he just tripped how could ths happen. We are still in the hospital going home tomorrow and my son is hating his huge spica cast. I was so concerned he had some kin of bone problem braking a bone from tripping but the drs and nurses assured me it was common. Glad to read a story of another child that simply tripped and broke his femur. My leson was learned to never plug my laptop in with the cord laying against the wall. Evertime my son points to his cast he says mommys computer I feel awful.

    • Jessica,

      I am so sorry to hear this. It is so hard and so traumatic, but I assure you both of you will be just fine. It’s a major inconvenience, but he will bounce back. Zachary is 5 and a half now and bouncing off the walls 🙂 He still falls constantly because he is a klutz but no broken bones (fingers crossed that this will remain:)). Please reach out if you have any questions about how to handle this. I would be happy to offer advice.

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