Clavicle Fracture

In keeping with our theme of first-time experiences, today was one for the books.

Around 12:15 a.m., Steven and I woke to a loud bang followed by a long wail from Wesley’s room. I was pretty amazed with Steven’s cat-like reflexes: he immediately sprung from the bed and ran to Wes’ side. I mean – within SECONDS. He found Wes with his right shoulder on the floor and head in the air.

He hasn’t fallen off the bed in a least a year, so this was very unexpected. When he had fallen before, Wes was able to calm down from the initial scare and fall back asleep. Steven did manage to calm him enough to tuck him into the covers and slip back into our bed this morning, but after a few minutes, we heard consistent whimpering.

It was my turn to check on our guy. I crouched down to his eye level, and he grabbed my finger. “Mama, it hurts.” Big tears from exhausted eyes. Quivering chin. I tried to turn him over from his stomach to his back, but he loudly protested.

“Where do you hurt?”
“My ARMMMMMM!” More cries. “Neck!”

I poked a few places until I found the spot – between his right shoulder and neck. “Buddy, I think you hurt your collar bone. I’m so sorry.” He started to cry hysterically – partly from pain, mostly from exhaustion.

He and I moved to the guest bed and I tried to prop him up as best as I could. He finished off the last of the Tylenol. We slept fitfully for the remainder of the night. I knew I would have to make an appointment in the morning.

I had doubted that anything was broken, so my original thought was to swing by the pharmacy clinic to have him checked for anything serious before heading to school. I had a meeting scheduled for 9:30 that I didn’t want to miss. Steven thought my plan needed rethinking: “They won’t be able to do anything at the clinic; better call his pediatrician.” (I’m so thankful for his clear brain when mine is so muddy with Mom-panic.)

They couldn’t see him until 10:30, so I packed up Wesley’s bag with ice packs, pillows and the DVD player and planned to keep him in my office until the doctor’s appointment (so I could make the 9:30 meeting). We arrived at work early and made camp…


…until his pediatrician’s office called and asked us to “forget the 10:30 appointment and come right away.”  The rain made the commute seem like forever, and of course we had to stop for gas because that would have been another mess of a situation, but we made it in one piece (haha).

Wesley was obviously in pain, but he was still in good spirits and hammed it up with our nurse. We love her, and Wes feels very comfortable around her. To make things even better, she just went ahead and conducted his 5-year-old check up right then and there – which was supposed to happen later this month. (He grew a whopping 3 inches this year! 70th percentile for height/67th for weight.)

His pediatrician is equally as awesome. While she didn’t initially think it was a fracture, she noticed an uneven clavicle and ordered an x-ray just to be safe. She assured me that even if it WAS broken, it’s a self-healing area and easily treatable with over-the-counter pain medications.

Conveniently, the x-ray technicians were just below her office. Wincing more frequently, Wes still handled the x-ray like a champ:

“So, did your doctor tell you to go back to her office?”
“No, she told us to go home and that we’d receive a phone call after the results were given.”
“I’ll call her right now. I think you better go on back up and talk now.”

Uh oh. I gathered at that point that it was a true break. Bummer! And then: WHAT NOW?! Somehow I had forgotten her reassurance from earlier.

We went back upstairs and they immediately took us to a waiting room. The doctor came in, and she looked about as surprised as we did. “It’s a fracture!”

I asked a ton of questions because amazingly, neither Steven or I or anyone in my house growing up had ever broken a bone. Did you know that your body gathers all its calcium to cover a bone fracture? A deposit calcifies and you can actually feel it under the skin as a “bump,” and it shows up on a follow-up x-ray (which we scheduled in 3 weeks). Eventually the bump flattens out and takes the shape of the bone it healed. Amazing!

She said a sling might help in addition to pain medications. By the time we were ready to leave, I felt relieved – like this wasn’t a big deal. Our nurse gave us a free sample of Advil and told us where to buy a child’s sling.

The pain medicine was starting to wear off during the sling fitting session at the pharmacy, but again, he handled it well. He talked more about getting soaked from the heavy rain than his “break in his neck.”


We met a group of coworkers for lunch before heading back to the office to get some work finished. He happily laid on the floor and curled up to watch a couple movies. He was so quiet that I nearly forgot he was with me until a giggle or, “Mama, this movie is so silly!” escaped his mouth.

My coworkers were great with him today. He was quiet enough that they were productive, and he was sweet and sassy enough that they wanted to engage him in conversation toward the end of the work day. He loved the attention and special “office time” – offerings of candy, kitchenette treats and even tattoos! Health fair swag are usually kids’ treasures.

He “wasn’t quite ready” to leave for home when I was. In fact, after finding a cake pop, he licked his fingers and said, “This is the best place I ever been to.”  #TakeYourSontoWorkDay?


Changing clothes is difficult. We decided it was okay to go without a pajama shirt, which he giggled about. “My belly is showing!” He was a little cautious about his bed, too, but we installed a guard rail and loaded him up with pain killers. So far, he’s sleeping soundly.

What a weird day. I’m pretty proud of him, though. I don’t think I’d be nearly as pleasant after “busting up my collar bone,” as he puts it.

Wish us luck over the next 3-4 weeks!

Posted: August 15th, 2016
Categories: Leah
Tags: ,
Comments: No Comments.


© 2021 | The Shattucks | Leah Shattuck | Steven Shattuck | Indianapolis, IN