Monday, May 04, 2015


A year after she was pushed off a swing and fractured the bone in her upper left arm, she’s now broken the bone in her right wrist.

Lu seems a tad breakable.

Here’s the background to this year’s fracture: She has been learning gymnastics tricks from Jo. They play school and one of the enrichment classes they conduct in school is gymnastics. Jo plays teacher, and Lu plays student. 


They bring the class outdoors, and Jo teaches simple (relatively safe) gymnastics tricks to Lu on public exercise equipment. Like how to hang from bars. Or how to pose.

Lu therefore developed a false sense of confidence. She thinks she can dismount with finesse, she thinks she is strong, she thinks she can learn gymnastics at home. (by the way all these I realized on hindsight because if I had known then I would have been a lot more attentive)

Today Day and Jo race on the monkey bars at a playground. Day times himself, Jo times herself, they see who is faster.

Lu thought she could do the same. She confidently stepped off to grab a bar with both hands, let go of her right hand to grab the next, and dropped like a stone. She landed on her bum. But as she had tried to break her fall with her right arm which was locked straight, her wrist apparently took all the impact.

She got straight up and walked to me very stiffly without making a sound, I knew she did not want to make a scene or draw any attention to herself. But when she came to me, buried her face in my shirt, whined for a protracted length of time and her wrist swelled, I knew. Drat.

* Seeking refuge from the pain in sleep

We made another trip to the KK Hospital, a place which she now knows and hates. 


Cheery blue walls with fish motifs and 'beach' curtains of ships and pirates notwithstanding, its a terrible place reverberating with screams and distress, alleviated only by tiny television sets screening cartoons. I was genuinely glad, however, that it was only a piddling broken bone we had to worry about.

* Waiting with preliminary sling

Four hours later, an X-ray confirmed the fracture – it looks worse than last year’s – and she was casted once again. No piano, no art, no writing for a while.


Day looks longingly at her cast. He asks - Can you break my right wrist? (He has exams in a week)

Last note: The monkey bar is the single most dangerous piece of equipment in the playground. A story I did in 2009 - the irony! - was on how the monkey bar is the top cause for playground-related serious injuries accounting for one in two fracture cases. The doctor I interviewed then said: It’s usually those kids who are between the ages of 4 and 6 who are most vulnerable, as that is the time when they have developed the confidence to get onto the monkey bar, but are not strong or agile enough to manouver themselves safely.

Another paediatrician friend told me, on hearing about Lu - Monkey bars are for monkeys. (but I do think its good exercise for Day and Jo)


Ondine said...

Have Lu drink more milk. Or something with calcium. :)

Sher said...

she does drink a lot of milk. i think she needs exercise.

Sher said...

the bar she was swinging on was the exact same type jordan was swinging on, in your last post... (red triangular bars)

Anonymous said...
Yes, monkey bars are for monkeys. Hope dear Lu feels better soon! She'll be out from physical activities for about 2-3 months.

I hope you don't mind me poking my head in and reading your very interesting blog entries that many times have put a smile in my heart - all the simple joys and recounts of life as it is, so real. :)

-a young Dr

Sher said...


what an interesting link! i can't believe the title of that academic article is 'monkey bars are for monkeys'!!!

young dr, if u happen to see this, does she really need to be in a cast for weeks?

or if we have, er, removed it and she seems fine can we just leave it that way?

Anonymous said...

Sorry to hear. Hope she recovers real soon!

Ondine said...

I guess there's some wisdom in that. They always say the best way of preventing osteoporosis is to do weight bearing exercises so maybe that will actually help.

Those triangular monkey bars? Only Jordan can do it. Evan is too heavy and Dylan is not strong enough either. :)

Anonymous said...

Oh hello! She will need to be on a cast for at the very minimum 2 to 3 weeks until new bone grows across to stabilise the fracture site. Even then, it won't be safe for her to monkey around or do sports cos if she injures her wrist/falls again, it will re-fracture at the same site and it may then be more serious. That's why we always recommend no playground/sports for 3 months from the date of injury, until the new bone has matured and gained strength before it is safe for her to bounce around again. Hope it helps! Is the cast super itchy?

-young Dr

Sher said...

no, no its not itchy. in fact it seems to help her eczema because she just can't get at it and the skin clears up. its just v inconvenient!! the last time she broke her arm, i confess we removed her cast after a few days and she went right back to normal life.

this time, i brought her back for follow-up because i think there's a lot more movement at the right wrist and she said it hurt, so she got a new fibreglass cast.