Wednesday, March 29, 2006

Nursemaid's Elbow

I have discovered that when it comes to Nursemaid's Elbow, people are either completely unaware of the condition, or they are extremely familiar with it. Alas, we fall into the 'extremely familiar' category.

Nursemaid's Elbow is when a child's elbow dislocates relatively easily. There are a combination of factors that contribute to this condition. Since S. inherited my loose jointedness AND overall clumsiness, she's susceptible. So far we've had four dislocations.

The first one happened when she was 9 months and in her crib. She was pulling up holding onto my fingers, and flopped over. Poof! Just like that, her elbow dislocated. I didn't realize what had happened, all I knew was that my baby was in considerable pain. We took her in to the doctor's office, and waited over an hour to be seen (our regular doctor was off that day). By that time, her elbow had relocated itself, she seemed perfectly content, and we started to walk out. The on-call dr saw us leaving, and took a quick peek at her arm before we left. He apologized for the wait, did not charge us for the visit and urged us to come back if she continued to be in pain. She was fine right then.

Our second dislocation happened when S. was, oh, around 18 months old. That one brought us to the ER at oh-dark-early on a Monday morning. Frankly, I was worried the medical personnel would think we were abusing our precious girl. On the contrary, the nurse that escorted us out after S. had been 'relocated' rather cheerfully informed us that she would probably be seeing us again.

When S. dislocated her elbow the third time at around 2 years old, we were prepared. S. sat on my lap while Mr. W. manipulated her arm and 'pop' everything went back in place. S. had the most adoring idol-worshiping expression on her face when she realized that Daddy had miraculously fixed her boo-boo. Never in my life have I ever seen such an expression of hero-worship. We took her to the doctor the next day to make sure everything was hunky dory.

Last Friday, S. was at Grandma and Grandpa's house, enjoying a break from school, when she rolled over funny. Grandma heard the pop as S.'s elbow dislocated, and then the wails when it started to really hurt. Long story short, S. wound up in the doctor's office Friday afternoon after Mr. W.'s manipulations failed to ease her pain. She screamed herself purple before, during and after her exam. This reaction plus the fact that the pain in her arm wandered all the way up to her shoulder and down to her wrist landed her in radiology, where she screamed herself purple before, during and after the x-rays. Everything looked and felt right to our doctor. They didn't take good x-rays of her actual elbow, but I didn't think I was up to putting her through more agony when I was 99% sure her elbow was back in place.

However, Saturday morning, she was still in considerable pain. Her previous bouts with the elbow always resulted in feeling much better within a few hours of getting the joint back in place, so I was worried. Mr. W. had to work (again!), so I had the glamorous job of taking S. back to the doctor's office. While waiting for the doctor to see us, S. started acting more normally. I could tell her arm still hurt, but she wasn't in tremendous pain anymore. Because she was still carrying her arm funny, doctor #2 wanted to go ahead and do a proper x-ray of her elbow, just to make sure everything was lined up well.

Let me just tell you that tending to an infant and a pitiful toddler in the doctor's office all alone is worthy of hazardous duty pay. During the x-ray procedure I had to choose which crying kid to be with. Since S. had to be coerced into cooperation, I wound up leaving L. crying in the hallway outside the x-ray room while I held a sobbing S. still for her pictures. X-rays showed that everything was still in place, so the doctor suggested we keep S. in a sling for a couple of days. And naturally, S. screamed and cried through the whole sling-donning procedure. What a day!

Fortunately, S. seems to be much better today. We sent the sling with her to daycare today as an added precaution. Since it's been raining the past two days, I don't think the kiddoes will be playing outside. This is good, because keeping S. from swinging from the playground equipment is very nearly impossible. I'm just hoping that this is our last bout with the old Nursemaid's Elbow phenomenon.


1 comment:

Builder Mama said...

Poor S! I was thinking about this just the other day and couldn't remember whose kid had nursemaid's elbow. That is one of my fears that it will happen to Monkey Man and of course it will be a weekend and we'll have to drive 40 minutes to the emergency room....

Glad she's feeling better!