I probably jinxed myself by writing my last post on the Valley’s Pediatric Emergency Rooms.
Within two weeks of publishing the article – and a week before she was set to be a flower girl in my brother’s wedding – my 2.5 year old fell off a see-saw and broke her arm. She then got pink eye, croup, fever, vomiting, diarrhea, while I got strep… but that’s a different, completely exhausting story.
The takeaway from my experience is that I was surprised to find that a little child can in fact break a bone without exhibiting “classic” symptoms of a fracture.
Despite the fact that we found her clutching her hand as she lay in the grass crying “I bwoke my arm,” we saw no bruising, swelling or deformity, nor did her arm hurt when we touched and even squeezed it. My husband, who has broken more bones than I can count, thought this might be a bad sprain.
So what did we do? We put her in front of the TV with an ice pack on her arm until she calmed down.
However, when we gave her a lollipop for being so brave, my gut twinged as her hand shook so badly she couldn’t lift it to her mouth. I thought maybe, just maybe, my husband was wrong and my 2.5 year old was right, and that my baby may have broken her arm.
We waited the night, and when she cried out in pain the following morning, unable to lift a water bottle, I packed up and took the little one to the emergency room. The pediatric ER at Scottsdale-Shea wasn’t yet open, so we were admitted to a private room in the adult area (no doubt the source of those horrendous germs that caused the rest of her infirmities!) and sure enough, the x-ray showed a bend in both her arm bones. My baby’s broken arm was nothing compared to the total fracture that the 2 year old in the room next door had – poor family, visiting from out of state on vacation with their three children – but a couple of hours later, with a splinted-cast and appointment for a follow-up with a local orthopedic specialist, we were on our way home.
Later that night, my husband and I had a chance to talk. We were both surprised at the lack of symptoms our daughter had, aside from being weak in the arm and cranky.
He gave me points for trusting my gut and taking our preschooler to the ER in the end.
Next time, I will handle this sort of thing differently; I will trust my gut even sooner. Oh, and I will also be bringing disinfectant wipes to the ER to scrub down any surfaces that my children will touch!