One five-year-old is braced for brace-free living.
After breaking his left arm in June, Jacob Heller is ready to return to all the activities he loves – playing with dinosaurs, helping on the farm, and tagging along with big sister, Emma.
Jacob was only four years old when he fell off the playset at his home outside of Gackle, N.D. His mother, Jennifer, knew something did not look right, even though her son only whimpered.
She rushed him to the Emergency Department at Jamestown Regional Medical Center. What usually takes about an hour did not take as long since her son was in pain.
With her mother’s heart racing, “I was doing a little bit of speeding,” Jennifer said.
At JRMC, Emergency Department Physician Dr. Steve Inglish ordered x-rays and a consult from Orthopedic Surgeon Dr. Timothy Volk. Though it was nearly 7 p.m., Dr. Volk returned to work and set Jacob’s arm that night.
After-hours calls occur about once a week in the summer and ice seasons, Dr. Volk said. People are busier and more active. He said he does not mind helping people, because he knows how important it is to get back to all the activities that make life so special.
“If it were me or my child, I’d want someone to do the same for me,” he said.
An orthopedic surgeon can help with the muscular and skeletal system, specifically elbows, wrists, knees, shoulders and hips. Dr. Volk grew up in Bismarck and has more than 10 years of experience in orthopedic care.
“I trust Dr. Volk,” Jennifer said. “I knew he’d take good care of my son. He knows what he’s doing.”
With the help of an x-ray, Dr. Volk set Jacob’s arm back in place. The boy needed a cast – a waterproof one.
“That cast was amazing,” Jennifer said. “It meant he could still enjoy water activities and bath time was no problem.”
Nurse Practitioner Crystal Krapp removed the cast on Sept. 2, replacing it with a brace. Jennifer said Jacob was a trooper and managed the pain with little more than over the counter medications. Krapp offers post-operative and follow-up care in conjunction with Dr. Volk.
Jacob returned for a check-up on Sept. 17.
“Can you move that wrist?” Krapp asked. “Can I push on it a little?”
After his check-up, Krapp said Jacob could move forward, brace-free. That’s something he’ll look forward to as a preschooler at Gackle Streeter Public School.
“It’s looking how it’s supposed to,” she said.
Moving forward, Jennifer said she’s grateful to the JRMC team. Jacob gets to return to school and all his activities on the farm. Jacob is excited too – for being such a good patient, he loaded up with treats for himself and his big sister.
“I got two suckers! One for me and one for Emma,” he said.