Monday, February 28, 2011

We Could Use a Nursemaid Around Here

Kate had an (un)exciting trip to the emergency room this weekend. Friday night, she and Maggie were playing on Maggie's new bed, acting crazy as usual for that time of the evening. Maggie fell off the end of the bed and landed on her bum on a toy and did a little crying over the bruise on her rear. We gave her a little talking to about the seriousness of the height of her bed and the possibility of her falling off of it and truly hurting herself. Then, not more than five minutes later, Kate rolls off the end of the bed in the exact same way and falls awkwardly on her left arm. She cried and cried and cried; and while she could move her hand and lift her arm over her head, she seemed a little hunched and wimpy about the way she was moving and holding her arm. Mike went ahead and put Maggie in the bath, but Kate flatly refused to go into the tub and actually requested pajamas. I could hardly even put her down long enough to change her diaper without her crying for me, and when I went to change her clothes, she started wailing again. Still, her arm looked completely normal and she let us feel it and squeeze it without complaint. She wanted to rock in the rocking chair, didn't ask for her usual bedtime stories or milk, and went right to sleep. We wondered if she just sprained or twisted her arm and was really just overtired from not having taken a good nap earlier.

As the evening wore on though, she woke up several times crying. We gave her some Motrin, and after lying awake talking to herself (not crying) for a long, long time, she finally slept and didn't wake up until the next morning. She seemed much better the next day, playing and eating as usual, but when we changed her clothes or cleaned her hands, she would cry. So after we put her down for a nap we consulted our 24 hour nurses hotline at our pediatrician's office. The nurse asked us to bring her in to the ER after she woke up from her nap because the severity of this kind of thing in a child Kate's age was very hard to determine without x-rays. They just don't always react to pain the way you might think they should.

Mike took Kate to the ER around 3:30 pm and I stayed home with Maggie. When they finally got home after 7:30 pm, Mike said the doctors had decided that Kate probably had what they call Nursemaid's Elbow. It's apparently very common in toddlers because they are active but their ligaments aren't very strong. Basically the arm bone pulls out of socket at the elbow and slides under the ligament. They tried to pop Kate's arm back into socket a couple of time, but it's likely that it had already done that on it's own the night of the fall. Her pain is probably just residual tenderness, so they gave her some more Motrin and I've been giving her Tylenol when she seems a little pitiful or grouchy. So far, she's running and playing and sleeping fine since her ER adventure, although she does still sometimes wince or cry out a bit when you mess with her arm. If she's not totally fine by tomorrow, we were instructed to call her pediatrician and make an appointment with him.

Mike said that at the ER they kind of gave him the stink eye and several different people asked him to tell the story of how the injury happened over and over again. He felt a bit like they were trying to make sure that he hadn't done something terrible to her that jerked her arm out of socket. You didn't mean to do it; you just got a little too angry at little Danny, isn't that right Mr. Torrance?! Poor Mike.

And poor Kate. Hopefully this won't have any long term negative effect on her racquetball game.

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