well, i have a lot of readers. it often surprises me who reads my blog from time to time. i feel good to know it, even though i think half the time people are probably just reading this to reassure themselves that at least they’ve got it together a little better than me. i appreciate all of my readers, loyal or otherwise. now, for anyone who is really, really loyal, and remembers a post over a year back, i talked about how ruth got a “pulled elbow” or “nursemaid’s elbow” last summer. basically, something, some ligament or bone or something, in their elbow joint is immature and can get popped out from time to time, in kids under five or so, and especially girls for some reason. last summer, it happened to ruth twice and we had to go in to the doctor’s and even the ER because it was after hours. while we were there, the ER doctor showed us the technique if it were to ever happen again. pretty simple. just extend and bend the arm.
we have been pretty careful not to pull her arms ever since and thought we were pretty much in the clear, it having been so long and all. her arm is probably a lot more sturdy now, we reasoned. no need for concern. until a couple days ago.
she was on said doorway jumper, the one i blogged about the other day that we set up for joel and she would not leave alone. no matter how many times i said it, she couldn’t, apparently, resist the temptation to hang on it, just a little, and then swing on it and then swing a little higher and so on. finally, i lost my temper and said, “ruth, either get off that thing or go to your room!” (which is not exactly the tone recommended in my parenting books but whatever). she looked up emotionless and continued to bounce on the swing. “go to your room!” i said then and quickly grabbed her off the thing, you guessed it, by the arms and started to lead her into her room. she went limp and i continued to carry her, by the arms, into her bedroom, when suddenly she let out a cry. oh, shit, i thought. she grabbed her elbow and looked up at me pitifully. oh, shit.
“ruth! why don’t you listen to me?! why do you do these things?! why didn’t you go to your room?? when i tell you to go to your room, go to your room!!!” these were my initial moments of panic, when you try to backtrack and undo what you’ve just done by talking. she continued to sob and look at me with despair, holding her arm. jesus. i finally calmed down enough to assess the situation. ok, i have a three month old and a three year old that i could take in to the doctor right now, or more likely the ER again, as it was a little late in the afternoon and i didn’t know if we’d be able to get in. i had the car with car seats, so that was good, at least i could get myself there. or i could try calling and seeing if a nurse could walk me through popping it back in over the phone…? i dialed and was on hold, ruth whimpering nearby, as i got another idea. i opened our computer and you tubed “pulled elbow fix”, and wouldn’t you know, a bunch of videos turned up. well, look at that. i sat ruth on my lap and began to watch one. a crying whimpering baby on an examining table, didn’t want the doctor to touch her arm, he twisted it, bent it, and she was fine. i can do this, i thought to myself.
“ruth, you have to let me try and fix your arm or we’re gonna have to go to the doctor,” i said, knowing this is her biggest fear. i weighed my options. manhandling her discombobulated arm was the last thing i wanted to do and risk fucking it up worse or permanently, but i didn’t think, right then and there, i could face dragging both kids into the doctor. i was willing to try it. i did what i saw on the video and turned it and then bent it. she whimpered the entire time. i asked, “is it better?” and she nodded. “then go like this,” i said and lifted my arm up. she shook her head. clearly it hadn’t worked. i tried it again. and, though she told me it didn’t hurt any more, she wouldn’t move it. the last move the doctor on the you tube video did was what i was hoping i wouldn’t have to try, twisting the arm inward. it looked more dangerous. but i did it. “one more try and then we might have to go in,” i said. i grabbed her arm and twisted towards her body. click. sweet jesus, i did it.
i could tell from her face it had worked. she relaxed immediately and has been fine since.
lesson learned? who needs med school with you tube around?