Nursemaid’s Elbow: Vivi’s First Trip to the Emergency Room

hurtI got that phone call in the middle of the morning. You know, the phone call you weren’t expecting that day, but you knew at some point as a parent that phone call was going to come, because the odds say it has to come. That’s the phone call from the other parent letting you know they’re on the way to the emergency room with your child. That’s the phone call I got a few mornings ago.

Sometime Friday night Vivi hurt what we thought was her wrist. How’d she do it? While putting on her pajamas. Kids get hurt in the darndest of ways.

All Saturday Vivi refused to use her arm. She let her arm hang there at her side as she ran back and forth in our house and played food. She would carry her little trays of food with one hand, and she would draw on paper with her one good arm as the paper slid back and forth on the table because she was unable to hold it still with her bad arm.  As she slept at night she tucked her arm to her side and rolled over as far as she could and there she stayed until someone could pick her up in the morning when her night of sleep was over.  When it was time to eat Vivi would request help climbing up into her chair, because she refused to use her left arm.

Not knowing what the real problem was and assuming it was some sort of wrist sprain, we watched Vivi to see if she was getting better.  We watched as she took an occasional tumble and caught herself with the side of her arm out of habit. She wouldn’t make a peep about any pain. We watched as she accidentally grabbed onto a bar of the kitchen chairs as she slipped off the chair. She wouldn’t make a peep about any pain.

I could also move her arm at the elbow joint and at the shoulder joint without Vivi protesting at all; that is, until she realized what I was doing. I could even move her wrist a bit without her complaining of any pain.  Her arm wasn’t sensitive to the touch, either.  None of it made any sense, though. The kid didn’t complain about any pain but she absolutely refused to use her arm and she followed through with that refusal for 99% of the day.

A few days later when her arm still didn’t seem any better, Casey decided enough was enough and she took Vivi to the doctor’s office. The doctor’s office then sent Casey to the emergency room where I met up with Casey and Vivi.

The doctor took one look at Vivi and told us it was nursemaid’s elbow. No way, I thought, it couldn’t be possible.  When Addie had nurse maid’s elbow, she was shaking and sobbing in pain. She was in so much pain she couldn’t even function.  Vivi, outside her refusal to use her left arm, was fully functioning and was a happy toddler. She went three days without complaining about pain.

Sixty seconds after the doctor told us what was wrong Vivi’s bad arm she was back to normal. When the doctor did the manipulation to reset Vivi’s elbow joint, Vivi again didn’t complaint about any pain.  I don’t know what to think about her. Either Vivi doesn’t have any nerves in her arms, or she’s one tough toddler and I’m seriously impressed with her strength.

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