The Story of a Broken Arm

by Admin on June 18, 2012

Adri has written us another guest post on her first experience with the Hungarian Children’s Emergency room.

It was Mother’s Day, and we’d just been to Eddie’s beautiful show at his kindergarten. The extended family was having drinks at a lovely nearby restaurant with outdoor seating and a small playground.
Eddie and his sister Eija were on the swings when we saw Eddie fall, and he didn’t get up. Myhusband rushed over, and Eddie showed us his arm, which looked fine. He cried quietly for a while, sat in my lap and wrapped the arm in cold wet napkins, and he calmed down.

My mother-in-law and Eddie’s godmother are X-ray technicians, and my other mother-in-law (my hubby’s parents are divorced and remarried) is a surgeon. They were all there, it being Mother’s Day! They each took a look, and since it didn’t swell up, they figured he’d just pulled a muscle, and debated whether to take him for an x-ray. We had dinner, it got late, and we just went home and put him to bed.

The next day we took Eddie to kindergarten as usual. At about 11, his teacher called to say Eddie’s arm was hurting, and could I take him for an x-ray, just to be sure. I took him to the x-ray department at the small hospital where his godmother works, and sure enough, it was broken. In two places!

Then it was on to the children’s emergency department at Szent János Kórház. Our first experience with the emergency room in Hungary. There was no one else there, so we were admitted immediately, and the doctor ordered a cast be put on for three weeks. The nurse explained to me sternly that he could break it again if he fell, or another child bumped into him, and then surgery would be required, so no kindergarten. Eddie started to cry, and I started to think about how I was going to entertain him for three weeks, and keep up with my work…

The grandparents took him to the zoo and the Transport Museum, I took him to the Palace of Miracles, and Eddie was fine for a week. He thought it was fun to put a bag over the cast for baths, and to wear big t-shirts that fit over it, but otherwise he barely noticed the cast and went on being a kid.

Then Eddie’s kindergarten called to ask how he was. “Why don’t you bring him in?” they said. I explained that the nurse and doctor had warned against it. “A broken arm isn’t contagious. We’ll take care of him.” I sighed a huge sigh of relief, and took Eddie to our pediatrician just to have another opinion. “Sure, why not? Hungarian hospitals are too strict with kids. Send him to kindergarten.”

Eddie happily trotted back to his pals on the kindergarten playground the next day. We went back to the hospital each week for a checkup (never revealing that he was attending kindergarten!), and the doctor kept the full-arm cast on (to his shoulder!). He never got the kind that the other kids could draw on, which upset him a bit.

After three weeks, the doctor ordered the cast off, hooray! The bad news was, he told Eddie he couldn’t ride a bike, play soccer or hockey, or go rollerblading for six weeks, which would be July 11.

When we returned last week for a final checkup, another doctor was on call. He looked at the original x-ray, squeezed Eddie’s arm, and said “Eddie, forget this ever happened. You can do whatever you want.” I looked at him incredulously, and asked, “Biking? Soccer? Hockey? Rollerblading?” The doctor said “yes” to each one.

Eddie and I skipped down the street outside the hospital, shouting “Hooray!”


Adri Bruckner is an American who’s been living in Budapest for 12 years and shares her experiences and insights on her blog, She’s a writer and editor, Zumba instructor, board member of the North American Women’s Association and a singer with the Budapest Sirens, in addition to her No. 1 job as parent to Eija, 8, and Eddie, 5, together with her Hungarian husband.

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