The monkey bars claim another victim

Filed under: Big Kids, Places To Go, Health & Safety: Babies

Today, when my phone rang and the caller i.d. indicated it was Ellie's school calling, I immediately feared the worst. Before I even said hello, a hundred scary scenarios raced through my mind. Her teachers understand the panic a call from them can create. If it is an administrative issue, the conversation always begins with "Ellie is okay, I am just calling about..."

Today, the conversation did not start that way. Instead, her teacher informed me that Ellie hurt her arm on the monkey bars. She didn't fall off the bars, but was hanging by one arm when she heard a pop near her elbow. Her forearm immediately swelled up and her teacher feared it was broken.

Turns out that her arm wasn't broken, but her radius bone had been pulled from it's proper position in her elbow. For reasons I don't understand, this is called nursemaid's elbow. It's pretty common in young children, although at six Ellie is a little old for it. The treatment for this can be painful - basically popping the bone back into place. Fortunately, Ellie's bone found its way back home without too much pain and she was left with a fully functional, if sore, arm.

This is our second trip to the emergency room this year; in January, she broke her big toe when she ran full-speed into a wall. Both times, I was acutely aware that the doctor was questioning Ellie directly about her injuries to determine if the explanation I had given was, in fact, the truth. With her back to me, the doctor will position herself between Ellie and myself to ask her about how she got hurt. When Ellie leans around to make eye contact with me, I know it looks bad. Ellie gets nervous speaking to the doctor and wants me to do the talking for her. With a little encouragement she will tell her story, but I am always left feeling somehow guilty.

Of course, I am relieved her bone isn't broken. Ellie doesn't do well with limits on her physical activities. When her toe was broken, she kept removing the bandage and the huge boot the doctor provided to keep it protected. She ran around barefoot and re-injured her toe several times before it finally had a chance to heal. She's been instructed to stay off the monkey bars for a week or so, and I am going to make sure that she follows doctor's orders. I sure don't want to make another trip to the emergency room any time soon.

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AdviceMama Says:
Start by teaching him that it is safe to do so.