No, it was not an April Fool’s Day prank

we really did spend a good chunk of last night at the Children’s Hospital at Westmead.

Stunt boy repeated his trick of a couple of months ago – pulled elbow. Last time it was quick and easy to deal with – it had reduced itself somewhere between our house and triage, and a mix up at the hospital meant we were seen in five minutes flat (nurse practitioner mistook us for the other pulled elbow case who’d been waiting who knows how long).

Last night’s episode wasn’t so quick.

It all started when my little darling was jumping off the couch. He likes to climb over the back of the couch (head first, of course) then stand on the edge of the seat and launch himself off, laughing maniacally. He lands on his feet just about every time, but last night he clipped his toes on the edge of the seat and landed face first.

To begin with he didn’t even seem hurt. He popped his head up and laughed like crazy. Then when he went to get up he started crying suddenly like something hurt. And then we noticed he was not using his left arm. He told us “I jump. Fall. Break.”

We were pretty sure from that point that it was a pulled elbow again. Hunter was in bed so leigh stayed home and Hugo and I went off to the hospital. It was a totally miserable night – been raining all day and still pouring when we left. The roads were terrible; I could barely make out the line markings.

It was a pretty crappy night to be out but I thought on the plus side there probably wouldn’t be many people at the hospital. In my (unfortunately significant) experience, the waiting room at the children’s hospital is often packed with people who don’t need to be there at all. I figured on a night like last night parents would only be dragging their kids out for bona fide medical emergencies, not runny noses and rashes they’ve had for three days that could have been investigated by their GPs.

Wrong! The place was packed. We waited close to an hour for triage! The triage nurse tried a couple of times to pop his arm back in, without success. He screamed and screamed and it was awful to hold him while she tortured him, but it had to be done.

Eventually she said that because there was no click and he was still not using his arm, and because there was no pull injury but rather a fall, she couldn’t rule out a fracture and we’d have to wait for an Xray. She said to expect the wait to be hours.

Fortunately the review nurse had an alternative suggestion, which was to give him some panadol, wait an hour or so and try again with the reduction.

He took half the panadol and spat the rest down my shoulder, then ran off, left arm flopping by his side, to chase bubbles, climb the play structure and try desperately to get into the waiting area beyond triage. He was not about to let a bung arm slow him down. I was bumbling after him, trying to stop him slipping on the tiled floor and hoping he’d run out of energy sooner rather than later.

We finally got booked in with the clerk and went into the waiting area. By now it was getting on for 9pm. I hadn’t brought a nappy and hugo was soaked so I got one from the desk and changed him. As I was standing him up on the change table to pull up his pants he was saying “I jump!!” and trying to throw himself off the edge.

He spent the next 15 minutes running around the waiting area, dancing, playing with the toys in his gammy one-armed way and getting more and more wired.

Finally the review nurse found us and said she’d like to try popping his arm again. Actually, she probably didn’t say anything about popping.

I was worried about hurting him again, and it did hurt him and he did cry, but this time it worked. Phew. No endless hours of waiting for an Xray of a non-existent fracture.

It was about 10pm by the time we got home. I thought Hugo would conk out and sleep hard but he woke twice during the night then was up and at ’em at six. He’s using his arm fine today and it doesn’t even seem tender.

Since this has happened twice now, there’s a fair likelihood of it happening again so we’ll probably be comfortably on track for the Most Hospital Visits in One Year award.

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1 Response so far »

  1. 1

    Lara said,

    Terrifying!

    Inigo did a face plant last week, and started howling, He wouldn’t let me look at first, and I just saw a flash of red….

    It turned out to be a big blood blister, and he was fine in 30 seconds, but every time it happens, I feel like I am in a movie of your life 😉


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