The Pulled Elbow of 2008

I have an interesting New Year's Eve story to tell.

Olivia, the kids and I were invited to a party at a friend's house and while I was playing with Heath, pulling him upright by his arms, he started crying. Olivia rushed over to help and immediately suspected Heath had an injury that had happened to Maya three times before (and apparently small children are susceptible to) where a muscle or ligament near the elbow is moved out of place.

The standard treatment is massage to move the muscle back, although 2 out of 3 previous times neither our family doctor or the Emergency department could help Maya and eventually (e.g. a couple of hours later) the arm returned to normal in Maya's case.

Given that we had some experience with this type of injury, we decided to take Heath home via the chemist, put him to bed and then see how his arm was in the morning. Here's me and Heath and his makeshift sling - he was quite happy at this point, and in a spirit of forgiveness even offered me biscuits!

To our dismay, the drama continued the next morning as Heath was still not able to move his arm.

Olivia quickly prepared for a trip to the local hospital and was about to leave when all of a sudden Heath started moving his arm around as if nothing had happened and he was all smiles. It was quite bizarre to see Heath one minute with no movement in his arm and then suddenly have things return to normal.

Heath handled the whole thing really well. Given this, it was even more painful for me when after we'd been playing and he'd hurt his arm, for him to look over at me with a "why does this hurt Dad?" kind of look which broke my heart. Heath was in pain which was my fault, and I have to admit at that point I honestly felt like a bad father.

In the whole episode, I valued Olivia's level head and decision-making ability when one of her precious children was obviously suffering. I'm no doctor and can't make any recommendations on what to do if you are faced with a similar situation (in fact I would recomend going straight to see a doctor); however Olivia had previous experience with pulled elbow muscles and was able to take effective and compassionate action.

And it certainly made for an interesting New Year's Eve.

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2 Responses to "The Pulled Elbow of 2008"

Anonymous said... Thursday, January 03, 2008 5:12:00 PM

My dad never seemed to be that close to any of us kids. He worked away for months at a time and even when he was home there wasn't much of a connection.

Having said that, if any of us were sick he'd become ill too. He hated seeing any of his kids unwell.

I didn't understand that fully until Pauline and I had kids. I'd happily take on the sickness and pain from my kids when they're suffering. It's not easy to see our children experience pain.

Thomas said... Friday, January 04, 2008 12:05:00 AM

I'm with you Rodney, the change when you *are* a Dad is profound. I'm lucky I can learn from Olivia who seems to have the right mix of compassion and love, and practicality.

Cheers Rodney,


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