Just Call Me Calamity Jane

The world record for pediatrician bills racked up in one week is now…..mine. And this is Son One now:


Son One in splint

Son One in splint


It all started Wednesday. I took Son Two for his first physical therapy session; he has torticollis, a common developmental problem involving neck muscles and the infant’s head tilting to one side. I was hoping to get an “all clear” from the therapist. I didn’t. He needs more therapy and an eval from the plagiocephaly clinic, where he may be fitted with a helmet to fix his misshapen head. While hearing this, I had to excuse myself to chase down Son One every 5 minutes. You see, a physical/occupational therapy center just looks like a playground to him. Then Son Two decided he’d had it with PT and opened his mouth to scream; I saw white patches. Yep. Another thrush infection.


So I go out to the lobby to do the financials, holding Son Two on my lap while telling Son One not to swing from the counter. I get Son One to sit next to me, but not for long. He runs off. Not wanting to put my infant down in a public place, I carry Son Two in the crook of my left arm while I take off after Son One. “Son One!” He laughs and runs away. I run to him and grab his hand. “Come on.” He throws himself on the floor and laughs. “Honey, I need you to get up and walk.” I pull on his hand, and he resists. Then I feel it—a snap.


Oh no. We go back to the Registration desk, and his arm is hanging funny at his side. He cries. I ask if a doctor can see him. “No, our urgent care facility is not open until 6. Call your pediatrician.” The personnel at the outpatient center tell me what my son has is nursemaid’s elbow, a dislocation common in little kids. The name comes from the days when a family of means employed a “nursemaid” to care for a passel of kids, and she struggled to control them.  Of course, I feel terrible.


We go to the pediatrician, where Dr. Goodlander pulls Son One’s arm out of socket and puts it back amid much crying. She checks it—it’s in. So I thought, “Maybe we’re home free.” But no. Later that evening, Son One, still very active, trips over his brother’s toy and falls on the bad arm. Ouch. The next day. Son One’s left arm still hangs at his side.  No amount of cajoling will get him to use it. So we go back to the doctor’s office. Dr. Kellogg resets it twice, and tells me that he should be using it by now. She refers us to the main location of Children’s Hospital, 45 minutes away.


Well, you know the drill with the ER. Even with a call-ahead from you doctor, it takes forever. We arrived at 7:15. Triage shortly thereafter. Waiting. Dirty diapers. Mostly, Jeremy chased Son One around while I nursed Son Two under a shawl. I was so thankful to have Jeremy there. We got to an exam room close to 9, and Son One and I are called to X-ray. “Hey, Son One, X is for X-ray!” He remembered this from his alphabet book. He was all excited until he had to sit on my lap and wear a lead apron to protect his gonads. I held on to the apron for dear life, thinking of my future grandkids.


Some guy came in at 11 to wrap Son One’s arm in a splint. I was a little irked that we had not seen the orthopedist yet. But later, an MD explained the X-ray showed a possible hairline fracture, and that it was better to have Ortho look at it in a couple of weeks after healing. It seems impossible that this “mean mama” broke his arm when I pulled him to his feet…that probably happened when he fell.


So we packed up, sat in the McDonald’s drive-thru at 12:15 AM, and finally got to bed around 2. Here’s Son One enjoying his fries:


Mmmm, fries

Mmmm, fries


A warning to all parents and future parents: it is very easy to injure a strong-willed toddler in your attempt to corral him. Grab a kid around the waist, not by the hand. A two-year-old’s instinct is for control, and he’ll fight you, not understanding you only want to keep him safe. Next thing you know, he’s all out of joint.


Hopefully, it will heal well. Son One is hanging tough.


~ by elenastevenson on July 22, 2008.

4 Responses to “Just Call Me Calamity Jane”

  1. “A warning to all parents and future parents: it is very easy to injure a strong-willed toddler in your attempt to corral him. Grab a kid around the waist, not by the hand.”

    The same thing happened to my sister’s son about two weeks ago. Parents beware.

  2. My youngest niece topelled of a small couch, like she’s done several times before and fractured her wrist. Sometimes things just happen.

  3. oh hon what a day!!!!
    hope you and Jerms got to sit down and have a nice glass of wine later.
    Hope even more sons 1 and 2 are fine

  4. How’s his arm?

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