Repeat after me, Subluxation of Radial Head. Lots of big pretty words that aren’t fun to say nor are they fun to deal with but alas, that seems to be the current health status of boy-child. Now how he got to this status is a not very long nor is it a very interesting story but I like to share so I will tell you anyway.
This morning I was helping out at school in girl-child’s class for an hour or so. I ran upstairs to say hi to boy-child before he went out to play and I had to head back to the office. I hadn’t even made it back before my phone rang and it was the school. I was hoping that they would be calling to say I had left something in one of the class rooms but no, the message was to let me know that boy-child was sitting in the sick bay after falling on his elbow, his recently mended elbow. I turned around and headed back to the school.
Boy-child was sitting in the sick bay, a sling on his arm and tears pouring down his dirty face. His arm looked pretty normal to my not-so-educated eye, well as normal as an arm can look when it is super weedy with a gigantic joint and scars. There looked to be a little bruising but nothing too disgusting looking or deformed. He was declining an ice pack but wanted to go to the doctor just in case. I was happy to take him thinking it would have a placebo effect and calm him down.
I packed him up and walked him to the car and off we went to the doctors, via work because I needed to get changed and swap cars. We barely sat down at the doctors surgery when he was called through. The doctor was like me, thinking that it was probably nothing but with his history we should err on the side of caution so a referral was written and it was time to wander over to the radiologist for xrays.
Yay, good news; the xrays didn’t show a break. It did however show an area of concern that is reported as a subluxation of the radial head. Another referral was written, this time for the Royal Children’s Hospital. I have called the hospital and an appointment is made to see another orthopedic specialist next Thursday. In the mean time we need to keep boy-child still so he can’t damage his arm any further. At the moment that shouldn’t be a problem. I have already told his teacher that he won’t be at school tomorrow but there is an entire week before he is due to see the specialist.
Of course if when the pain increases it will be a trip to the Emergency Department. I almost wish that I had gone straight to the hospital from the doctors office and spent the next umpteen hours sitting in there waiting. The outcome will be the same but at least the joint can be stabilised immediately if it needs it rather than waiting for more damage to be done.
Now that we are all at home, waiting for the inevitable trip to the ED, I have had a chance to play Dr Google and subluxation of the radial head appears to me to be a minor dislocation of one of the lower arm bones, the radial. It is also referred to as ‘Nursemaid Elbow’ because it is a common injury in littler kids who are lifted by the arm or are grabbed to prevent a fall. What doesn’t make sense if he fell on a bent arm, how did he end up with this injury? He couldn’t even straighten his elbow let alone have anyone lift him by his dodgy arm. Oh the mysteries of my world.
I keep Dr Googling and it is making the decision about whether to stay here and wait for the specialist appointment or to head in to the ED now even more difficult. One site will suggest that natural movement by a child will unlock any ligaments trapped in the dislocation naturally and simply by being a child they will work within the limitations of their own body. Then I look at another site that suggests immediate medical attention to have the joint realigned to prevent long lasting damage. Long lasting damage, hell we are already there should I already be at the hospital. Then I think the boy is comfortable and not in pain so perhaps it isn’t too bad. The decision is just way too hard. Why can’t Dr Google just say one answer, any answer and then I don’t have to think about it?
The boy is exhausted, so I am letting his exhaustion make the decision for me. He has had a shower, a dose of painkillers and is tucked up in bed, almost asleep. If he wakes in pain we go, if he doesn’t I get a good nights sleep and think about it tomorrow. Perhaps Dr Google will have a better answer then.
Oh and can you believe it, another elbow injury a day before man-child finds out the update of his injury and whether he can survive without a transformer-like brace on his arm!