Pectorial Evidence


Sorry, but I had to shout that. We damn near missed the plane after being caught in a Sydney traffic snarl. The 40 minute taxi ride took an hour and a half. I am always a little panicked about being organised in a big city so we had left the motel two hours before the plane was due to leave. I was almost in a full meltdown by the time the taxi dropped us off. Luckily our plane was a full 40 minutes late too. (My fear was mostly that I wouldn’t get to the toilet before the plane took off and I would end up in the teeny, tiny aeroplane toilet and I’m never completely certain that the door would remain closed during turbulence.)

We were very disappointed by the fact that our metal chested tinman (thanks ashy) did not set off the metal detectors. I don’t quite understand this. When you see these photos it may perplex you too.


This is the actual metal bar which is now inside Pip. This is exactly where it is within his chest. It goes under his skin to the marked ‘x’, then under his ribs to a corresponding mark on the other side. The sternum, which in this photo is 3-4 inches deep, now sits on top of this bar. You can see how the bar has been bent exactly to the size of Pip’s chest.

Now here it is on the inside:


There are no discrete fractures in the ribs which have been pushed forward, but the doctor “crackled” the bones before pulling the bar through. He basically used a metal scoop to go under the sternum and push it upwards, creating greenstick crackles along his ribs. Sounds ghastly, doesn’t it?

Pip is managing his pain extraordinarily well. The doctor said to him that there are no prizes for putting up with pain, that he should take his strong pain medication for at least three weeks then to taper off it. In the first few days he was very aware of the pain as the four hourly medication wore off. He is not so conscious of it now. We are vigilantly clock watching, but he is not really looking for medication as the four hours pass. He is still having a little sleep here and there, but that could just be a side effect of the medication. He is talking and laughing and is beginning to move more freely.

He still has a few weeks of healing before I send him back to school. He needs to be off all medications before going to school and I need to be certain that he is not so fragile. I’m more scared that others might hurt him accidentally by being a bit rough. He is a thirteen year old boy – rough-housing is considered communication.

We are amazed at Philip. It has been a tough couple of weeks. He has gone through more pain than most boys his age can even imagine, but he has shown maturity beyond his years. This has all been so very worthwhile, even though it was more than just a little bit terrifying for all of us.

I have hundreds of posts to read, hundreds of emails to return, millions of thank you messages to make. I will make it a priority tomorrow to get back around to all of you.

PS I did get Philip’s permission to post this photo. He wants me to show before and after shots of his whole chest. He is very proud of it!


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27 responses to “Pectorial Evidence

  1. M

    Is it polite to say “ewwww, gross” and be amazed at the same time? I have so many questions. Like, does it expand as he grows? Can he feel it? You must be so proud of him going through all of this.

  2. Wow – what a contrast!

    Shame about the metal detectors.

    Welcome home.

  3. twolimeleaves

    Aw, Pip, I was hoping like mad that you would be on the news “Metal Boy Disrupts Airport Security”! Never mind. Welcome home, you guys!

  4. M- because he is super skinny (some sort of weird throwback gene) he can feel it under his skin on his sides. You can see it if he faces away from you and lifts his arms slightly. It doesn’t expand. There is a little bit of room for growth built into it. You can see a little space each side in the x-ray. It will be removed in two years, but by then his ribs should have remoulded to that shape and be able to hold themselves into place.

  5. Hurrah! You are home! This ordeal is over! K and N will oogle Philip’s chest once they are up. (They are lurkers on Ashleigh’s blog too as they are huge fans of Paris at the ages of 4 and 2!)

    You have to admit that the parallels between your post and the “Wizard of Oz” are incredible. Philip is tin-man, you are Dorothy clicking “There’s no place like home” repeatedly. I’ll let you choose a character for Petey. I think a “Wizard of Oz” party is in order to celebrate Phlip’s homecoming! How about work in little hearts and bravery metals somehow? (If you have a party and are wearing a gingham dress with bows in your hair, you gotta post a photo…)

  6. He’s an amazing kid. Home is such a sweet, sweet word when you have been far from it for a while. Glad you are back home with your support network nearby and that Pip is doing well! I hope there is a nice glass of wine, some chocolate and relaxation in your future.

  7. What a fine boy he is.
    I’m so happy that you are home…

  8. Pip is certainly an incredible boy!
    It is amazing to see that rod, & imagine how they did it.
    Such great news, to know the worst is over, & everything is going as it should.

  9. Oh. My. Goodness. What a difference that bar has done and yippee that you’re all home and safe in one piece!!

    I can’t even begin to think of how much that hurt. Bravo to Phillip and Bravo to the Dr who did the work. Oh, and a Bravo for you and Pete too.

  10. He is the most special and brave boy. I suspect he is the perfect age to have had this operation too.

    So pleased for you and your Pete that you are home safe and sound. I look forward to continuing good news and hope you get some much needed chilling time now. What a few weeks it has been.

  11. I think he needs a helper monkey, it is the logical follow on to his ‘bed goes up, bed goes down, bed goes up, bed goes down.’ hospital routine.

    just watch the monkey, they love those class A narcotics!

  12. I’m glad the worst is over. What an ordeal!

  13. Glad you are home safe and sound!

    As usual, the minute you post really interesting photos to look at, my broadband allowance runs out! Grrrr.

    Will be back on Tuesday to look!

  14. Far out, that was some dent he had in his poor little chest! That is sad he didn’t set off any detectors though, did he go back and forward a few times just in case?

    I am also worried about him being hurt by those school boys (because I am a mother hen!!) so I’m glad you’re keeping him at home a bit longer.

  15. I can’t believe he didn’t set off the detectors! I’ve just been to Brisbane and I set them off with the brass studs on my leather thongs. On my feet. And I got tested for explosives residue!

  16. Welcome Home!!
    I am beyond thrilled that everything has worked out so well and that MetalMan is on the Recovery Fast-Track. I had to look at the pics through my fingers because I am very squeamish but I’m thinking that he will have some kudos with his friends.
    You, Tracey, have definite kudos for being so brave and organised. There will be lots of things in your life that seem easy by comparision now.

  17. Wow – that’s a serious bit of kit! I’m glad you’re all home safe and sound. Aren’t kids just amazing? And Mum’s, of course!

  18. I can’t believe THAT didn’t set off the detectors!

    Glad the boy is doing well, I hope the plane ride wasn’t too uncomfortable for him!

  19. soozadoo

    In all honesty though crafty you DO look like a terrorist…;)

  20. h&b

    Oh.My.GOD !

    That bar, that chest, that yeouch !


  21. Sue

    I am glad you are all home there really is nothing like home. Oh and hospitals are just crap.
    I am just amazed at what they can do. Glad that Philip is coping with it all he’s a tough kid.

  22. Wow… you must have raised a really amazing young man, I don’t think I could go through that. Hope Pip recovers super fast & in the mean time makes the most of being spoilt by everyone!

  23. Oh, my word. I’m so glad to see the pictures, as I couldn’t really imagine what was being done to your son. Amazing. And I’m so glad it has all gone so well!

  24. Shayne

    Wow that is amazing – does this happen to many other teenagers?

  25. Pingback: The Next Four Weeks « Peppermint Patcher

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