Just In Cases

The other day I spent 5 hours with Seamus at the ER over nothing...well, not nothing exactly. It was something, but just not ER worthy. Here's what happened.
I came home from work to find Bill trying to soothe a Seamus that wasn't having any of it. He was not happy. After a little bit, we realized that he was not using his left arm at all, and would actually cry every time we touched it. We knew something was wrong, but what? Sprained wrist? Or maybe even broken arm?!? We called the closest urgent care, and they said they could x-ray him; but if it was broken they wouldn't be able to cast him. So, we decided to feed him and then take him into the hospital instead. Since urgent care couldn't do a cast, we figured this would save time and a trip in the event it was actually broken.

Well, Seamus did not want to eat anything and was just screaming and screaming by this time. I changed him and put his pajamas on (still screaming) and headed to the car (still screaming). Bill put him in his car seat and we headed out. Then, almost immediately, he settled down.

We arrived at the hospital, and as we were walking into the ER I realized he was holding me with his left arm, and quite tightly. Hmm? We checked in, and had a seat. I fed Seamus a fruit snack, and we started to wait...a long, long time. Eventually, while we were waiting, Seamus wanted to get down. He started playing around...then climbing around!! He was back to his normal happy self and his arm didn't seem to be bothering him. I moved it around like we had done back home and he didn't cry at all. WTF, right!?! I called Bill and explained, but wasn't sure if I should stay or go. My "Mommy Sense" was telling me that my boy was okay, but I was also thinking we're here, so maybe we should still get it checked out...just in case.

Finally, it was our turn, or at least our turn to see the nurse. I explained what happened, and also that he seemed fine now. For some reason I kept apologizing for what I was sure was a waste of their time. They asked me if he stopped crying after we put him in his car seat - to which I was like, well, yes actually he did. They said it sounds exactly like a dislocated radius, more commonly known as Nursemaid's Elbow. They explained that the way you bend a child's arm to buckle them in their car seat often pops the radius back into place. So, basically, we self corrected his arm without even knowing it. They recommended I still get him checked out though...just in case.

After more waiting we finally made it into a room - yay!! When the Physician Assistant came in I explained everything again, and she said the same thing as the nurses - including the whole thing with the car seat. She asked if I wanted to x-ray his arm though...just in case.

I didn't know what to do. He seemed totally fine by this time, but when it's your child...your little baby can't ignore all the just in cases, because what if it isn't nothing? What if it's something?

I decided to get his arm x-ray'd, which meant more waiting. We were over an hour past Seamus' bedtime, and he was cranky and tired. He eventually fell asleep on me (which I secretly relished because he doesn't do that anymore). Another hour past, and we were finally wheeled over to x-ray. Seamus immediately woke up when I put him on the x-ray table and started screaming. He hated it, and I hated myself for putting him through it. I hate to admit this, but I almost wanted there to be something wrong to justify my decision of putting my baby through this. I felt so bad for him.

Afterwards we went back to the room and waited some more. Seamus fell back asleep, and when the Physician Assistant finally came back with the results she confirmed everything was as it should be. Well, actually, it looked like his radius was just a little, tiny, tiny bit not back in the right place.  She bent his arm at the elbow, wiggled it a bit, and declared he was all good. I wanted to cling to that "little, tiny, tiny bit not back in the right place" as validation, but the reality was it would have probably just worked itself out on its own.

So, what's the point of this story? I don't know, and maybe that's the point. After four year of being a mom I know both exactly what I'm doing and nothing at all. Trust your gut, but don't be afraid to trust others when you're not sure. And especially don't feel guilty or stupid or apologize for seeking medical attention if there is even the slightest chance your child could need it. It's always better to have an issue checked out and have it be nothing, than to not treat a potential injury.

Although, if in the future your little one has the same symptoms that Seamus did, you might want to just try bending their arm as if you're buckling them into a car seat first and see what happens. You might just save yourself a trip to the hospital.

I should state though, that I'm not a medical professional in any way, shape, or form; so if you think your child has Nursemaid's Elbow you should get it checked out by a medical professional. You know...just in case.

(but first try the car seat thing)

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