17 May 2019, by Joel Chng

And it’s all thanks to my mother-in-law

It’s the month of May. The month where mothers are being celebrated all over the world. But there’s one mum whom I would like to give my special thanks to.

On the third day of Lunar New Year, Ezra was pushed off a balancing beam at his kindergarten playground. This resulted in a fracture just above the elbow joint, called a supracondylar humerus fracture, which I’ve learnt is the most common type of elbow fracture in children.

It was a harrowing experience for Petrina and myself and it broke our hearts to see our 3.5-year-old son in so much pain. As first-time parents, we felt lost and helpless. Thankfully, my in-laws were with us every step of the way – right from the start.

So in this month of May, I would like to express my gratitude and honour my mother-in-law (MIL):

1) For being level-headed.

Because there were no visible injuries, the situation was downplayed – Ezra kept complaining that “my hand very pain” but we thought (hoped?) that the pain would soon go away. Alarm bells rang when Ezra cried in pain after his shower and told us he could not lift up his arm to put on his t-shirt. At lunch, Ezra had no appetite and barely touched his bowl of fishball noodles, one of his favourite foods. My MIL took the initiative to go down to Ezra’s paediatrician (PD) to take a queue number. During the wait at home, she remained calm and did her best to distract Ezra from the pain and comfort him.

When the PD finally saw Ezra, seven hours after the accident, he immediately wrote us a referral letter to the Children’s Emergency (A&E) at KK Women’s and Children’s Hospital (KKH). My wife was in shock at the seriousness of it all and her mind went blank. My MIL, however, heard every word the PD said and started to make arrangements and gave us instructions: for me to bring the relevant documents, and to pack extra clothing and jackets (as it was likely that Ezra would be warded for the procedure), while she went home to pack food for everyone (it was already dinner time and the wait at A&E could take hours).

2) For putting others before herself.

The date was 7 February, one day before my MIL’s 60th birthday. As my wife fretted over the sheer timing of it all, my MIL advised us to cancel the restaurant reservation, adding that her birthday could be celebrated at a later date. We assured her that no matter what happened, we would celebrate her birthday as a family on the actual day.

3) For being a loving grandmother.

Miraculously, Ezra did not have to undergo sedation to reposition the bone and no surgery was needed either. Instead, Ezra’s arm would be placed in a splint for a week, due to the swelling. Thereafter, KKH would replace the soft cast with a full, fiberglass cast which would be on for a month.

Because of the splint, we realised that Ezra would not be able to wear his usual clothing (it was not possible to wear and remove t-shirts). Early the next morning, my MIL informed us that she had gone to the market to purchase baggy singlets and button-up sleepwear for Ezra. The kids shoulder sling we purchased from KKH was also too big for Ezra, so my MIL went to hunt for a tailor at a few places and finally found one who could alter the length of the shoulder sling.

During Ezra’s medical leave from school and the subsequent month that the cast was on, my MIL cooked meals for Ezra and took great care of him – so much so that my son got used to the cast and became his active self again. She also accompanied us at all of Ezra’s medical appointments.

On 2 May, 12 weeks after Ezra’s accident, we went to KKH for the final X-ray and doctor’s review. To our relief, the doctor declared, “Case closed!”

Hooray! Ezra’s arm has completely healed!

To my mother-in-law, Jessica: Thank you, and we love you.

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