When Rescues Go Wrong
On Saturday, I had the unenviable task of taking Plum to A&E. Again. She and Bean had been playing a game and at some point, Plum was captured by a dragon. She called to Bean, who came to her rescue and grabbed her outstretched hand and pulled her out of harm’s way. Kind of.
Unfortunately, once free from the dragon, Plum started screaming in pain and saying her arm hurt. I immediately expected a trip to hospital – we are not unused to this. Her joints are rather prone to subluxation, which is very unpleasant and painful. Last year, we had to have three visits to A&E for this – both elbows and one hip. This time it appeared to be her wrist. So we did some quick checks as far as she would allow – yes, she could wiggle her fingers. No, she could not turn her hand to the side . This worried me – she was displaying similar symptoms as I did when I fractured my wrist. Anyway, it was clear that certain movement caused her an immense amount of pain and so off we went.
She screamed in pain most of the way there, but had calmed down significantly by the time we arrived at A&E. We booked in and were asked to wait in the children’s area. This is a fairly new thing at our local hospital – between 9am and 7.30pm, child admissions to A&E are sent to their own A&E department. It’s calmer, nicer to be in, and on the whole, children are seen more quickly than if they had to wait with the adults.
I like this area, as far as it is possible to like an A&E department. It’s bright – there are murals on the walls, large butterflies and dragonflies on the ceiling, small, child-sized seats around colouring tables, lots and lots of books on bright books shelves. There’s a play kitchen, wall-mounted toys and a small soft play area.
This meant that Plum wanted to play, which meant she was not wallowing in her own misery whilst we waited. And waited. She made a friend and they played together, we read books, and she generally didn’t notice that we waited two hours to see a Nurse Practitioner who immediately sent us off to x-ray. By this time, there couldn’t have been many people who didn’t know that she had hurt her arm when her brother rescued her from the dragon. She played all this time, one handed. Even in the soft play area, her arm didn’t leave her side.
In x-ray, she was great (she loves x-ray and all the triangle shaped wedges they have in there), but when it came to getting the inevitable snap of her hand on its side, she screamed in pain again, and was still sobbing when we got back to the A&E waiting room.
After that it wasn’t long before we were told that, thankfully, there was no fracture, and this time no subluxation. I was very relieved. Bas as a fracture would have been, I was not looking forward to the bit where they realign the sublux joint – last time it took four goes and I didn’t know a child could make the kind of noise she made when they did it. But this time, it was “just” a bad sprain and required nothing more than rest, and calpol if we thought she needed it. I write this, it’s 24 hours after we left hospital and she still hasn’t used her arm and still flinches if she thinks you might touch it. She can’t turn her hand to the side, and flinches if she rests her hand on something.
I’m hoping we see some improvement very soon, otherwise I think we’ll have to have it looked at again.
Poor little Plum.
ETA: After a second night’s sleep and rest, her arm seems back to normal. What a relief!