This past weekend, he learned the hard way that gravity works :-/
Joe was riding his bicycle – a favorite gift of his from the grandparents – with his daddy running/walking close behind. As Joe put it, his feet stopped but the bicycle didn’t, and the end result was him and the bike landing in a heap on the side of the road. Apparently, it landed in just the wrong way and fractured his elbow.
You don’t always know right off the bat if your kids are hurt, or if they’re really hurt. I examined his arm but didn’t see any broken skin, no dislocation, no swelling. He was pretty teary but, then again, it was late afternoon and he’s been skipping his naps. I figured he was probably already tired and the bike accident was making him even more tearful.
After 30 minutes had gone by and he was still fussing, I decided to try some Tylenol. He fell asleep within 15 minutes, which was a bit weird but not entirely unexpected. He was probably tired. But after another 15 minutes I decided to wake him up, see how his arm felt, and that’s when we noticed the giant lump.
“That doesn’t look good,” said Chris.
Nope, it didn’t look good at all. I felt around, asked Joe to try to extend his arm, but all he did was cry whenever I touched it. Definitely not his normal response to an injury. In the past, anytime he’s hurt himself he brushes it off within a few minutes. The swelling + guarding + tears made me decide to bring him into urgent care. I wanted an x-ray.
We got to urgent care, where Joe and I waited in the waiting room for an hour and a half. Another sign that something was off: Joe sat in my lap the entire time, content to listen to me tell stories or look at “Reader’s Digest”. Odd, indeed! Each time I shifted, he would cry out, “You moved it!” and start to whimper.
They called us back. The nurse listened to what happened and said, “Tsk, it’s probably not broken.” The PA came in and told me that it most likely wasn’t broken. The doctor came in and said, “He fell? It’s swollen? We need to do an x-ray.”
I could tell that the nurse and the PA didn’t want an X-ray, but I let them know that I felt one was required. When the doctor came in and agreed with me, I felt a boost of confidence. Like I could agree with my inner voice and say, “See – we’re not the only one who thinks this is abnormal!” I knew that Joe was hurt more than a bad sprain or bump. My 3 year old does not sit perfectly still for an hour and a half, then cry each time I brush against his arm.
It was broken, he got a temporary cast + sling, and we’re going to see the pediatric ortho doctor today. Joe has been bearing it all as well as a tired 3 year old can, especially a tired 3 year old who’s only pain management is ice, Tylenol, and Ibuprofen. I stopped to get him a chocolate milkshake on the way home and that seemed to do almost as much good as the Tylenol
Hopefully the news from the ortho doc will be good. I’m praying for (a) a simple, easy prognosis and (b) a short healing time with minimal pain. Apparently, this type of fracture accounts for 60% of all fractures in children under the age of 10, and most often occurs when they outstretch their arm to brace themselves from a fall. Definitely fits the bill for Joe’s accident. I’m thankful that it’s a non-displaced fracture (i.e., the bones are basically in alignment, there’s no chipped bone, etc.) and that we were able to get it diagnosed so quickly. I’m also glad that I didn’t second guess myself and went straight into urgent care. A good reminder that, even if you think it might be “nothing”, if there’s something in your gut that tells you it could be “something”, then get it checked out.