Monday, December 5, 2011

Nursemaid's Elbow

Last year, while visiting Texas, I dislocated my son's elbow.

Yes, that's right Child Protective Services, ya nosy bunch of killjoys! I said I dislocated my child's elbow.

It happened during a visit to my husband's Grandparents. On day two of our stay, my husband's Grandmother and I took the Snood to the local park for a little "active time" in hopes of discouraging him from playing another round of, "How much of my Great Grandmother's china collection can I destroy in the course of a single morning?"

The day was off to a good start. Snood was scampering about the play equipment merrily and running to and fro in a way that suggested a faint hope that in the afternoon -- there might be napping.

But alas, when it was time to exit the playground, the trouble began. When I gently suggested that we stroll towards the car, Snoodie came up with an alternate plan that involved rolling about in the woodchips while screaming "NOOOOOOO!!!" at the top of his lungs repeatedly and kicking his feet wildly in my general direction.

After briefly attempting to verbally convince my son to make his way to his feet and follow me peacefully, I began dragging him by the arm towards the car. After a few minutes of bribing him under my breath with offers of candy if he would just SETTLE DOWN AND STOP EMBARRASSING ME IN FRONT OF GRANDMA, the Snood calmed down and we made it the rest of the way towards the parking lot in peace. But, as I went to buckle him in to his carseat, the Snood let out of sharp cry and began holding his arm at an odd angle.

This clutching and crying continued as we arrived back to the house, and after about an hour with no improvement I realized with no small degree of horror that we were headed to the ER. When we arrived, a nurse ushered us in (after exactly 2 minutes of waiting I might add, hooray for small town hospitals) and immediately pronounced, "Looks like nursemaid's elbow."

From Wikipedia:

Nursemaid's elbowBabysitter's elbow, or Pulled elbow[1] is a dislocation of the elbow joint caused by a sudden pull on the extended pronated arm, such as by an adult tugging on an uncooperative child, or swinging the child by the arms during play. The technical term for the injury is radial head subluxation.[2]

Hmmmmm, an adult tugging on an uncooperative child? I had to admit, that sounded about right. 

Two x-rays, multiple blood draws, and a 6-minute interaction with a doctor later and Snoodie's elbow was popped back into place.  For the privilege of this bit of medical intervention, we later received a bill for close to seventeen hundred dollars. 

After that, I never really gave Nursemaid's Elbow another thought. Until last Saturday, when David arrived home from an outing to the park with a whimpering Snood. I had not been on this particular outing because I'd been prepping for a long-planned afternoon of football watching. Both our teams were playing what we call the "naptime game" and David and I were looking forward to using the afternoon to combine two of our favorite activities: cursing loudly at the television and cuddling excessively.

But as soon as I opened the door I could see that our plan was in dire jeopardy. And when I saw poor Snoodie was trailing behind David and holding his arm gingerly, my fears were confirmed.

I examined the offending arm and could tell right away that this was Nursemaid's Elbow Part Two: RISE OF NURSEMAID'S ELBOW! David explained that while at the park, Snoodie had invaded another child's birthday party and leapt into the Cinderella Castle bouncy-bouncy with his shoes on, thus causing great mayhem and consternation to the princess-clad guests.

David had reached in to pull the Snood out of the bouncer by the hands and, he surmised, this is when the injury occurred. I looked forlornly towards the cold beer and guacamole lined up lovingly in front of the TV, realizing that at least one of us was going to spend the afternoon not watching football, but rather moldering in the misery that is our local ER. Desperate, I started thinking about our last experience with nursemaid's elbow. I remembered how that doctor had only spent 5 minutes with Snood and fixed him up good as new.

And then I did what any good mother would do in a time of medical crisis -- I did a search on YouTube.

There I found a veritable cornucopia of video instructions on how to perform a "nursemaid's elbow reduction". After devoting six to seven minutes to watching said videos, I felt fully medically qualified to perform the procedure myself. 

I lifted Snood from my husband's highly dubious grasp explaining urgently, 

"Honey, please step back! I am a YouTube-trained professional!"

And do you know what I did next? I followed my internet-based instructionals, popped that sucker back into place, cured Snoodie entirely, cracked a Miller Lite, and settled down to three hours of absolutely dreamy football viewing.

I plan to start taking appointments for various medical procedures at my home office beginning early next week. I'll start with minor orthopedic manipulations, but I'm sure I'll be up for light surgery by the end of the month at the latest.

 Just call me.....DR. YOUTUBE!