This afternoon I was painting Alyssa’s bedroom (I ended up running out of paint – again.) Anyway, Alyssa was on the bed behind me – it’s actually just her mattress and box springs on the floor since she broke her bed. I had my back to her, but I guess she stood up on it and lost her balance and the next thing I knew, I heard a loud thump and she was on the floor screaming.
I picked her up and was asking her if she hit her head or where she hurt because she was hysterical, but she wouldn’t calm down. And she wouldn’t let me touch her. Finally, she pointed at her right shoulder. She wouldn’t let me take her nightgown off, but I kind of thought that her collarbone looked like it might be out of alignment. I carried her downstairs, gave her some Motrin, and sat her on the couch to observe her for a little while. She continued to scream/cry for a few minutes and then settled down, but sat very still with her right shoulder down. Anytime she moved her right arm, she would start crying again and then when she was still, she would stop. I kept watching her closely and finally said to DH “I think we’re going to have to go the ER.” He came over and sat next to her and she was refusing to be held and didn’t want to be touched at all – very uncharacteristic of her (not to mention she sat almost perfectly still for 45 minutes!) So off to the ER we went.
The doctor there was pretty non-chalant about the whole thing. He thought she was over-reacting to “anticipated pain” and that she may have dislocated it temporarily and then just thought it would hurt if she moved it again. He said it was pretty much impossible that she could have a break since she only fell from 15 inches, but he could order x-rays if we wanted. But he would rather send her home in a sling and if she continued to not use her arm, we could bring her back for x-rays. He pretty much let us know that he didn’t think it was anything and that we should just go home, but he gave us a minute to think about it. We had pretty much decided that he must know what he was talking about and so we weren’t going to opt for the x-rays. I was trying to put a shirt on Alyssa and two of the nurses were watching and she completely freaked out when I went to touch her right arm. They were talking and saying “She is really in a lot of pain still” and started talking about how one of their daughters broke her arm and they only way they knew was by x-rays. So I said “What would you do?” And they both said “Get the x-rays.” So when the dr. came back, we told him we had decided to get them. I think he was surprised.
The x-ray went surprisingly well. After realizing there was no getting Alyssa to lay down on the table, the had her sit up straight in the wheelchair she was sitting in and took it that way. She was perfectly still, so they got a good image.
We went back to the ER and waited. The doctor commented on how quickly we finished (he was surprised because of Alyssa’s behavior when he touched her arm – thought she was just an out of control kid Oh, and one of the x-ray techs that tried to make her lay down commented “Well, we know who runs THIS family, don’t we?” ) The x-rays came and one of the nurses said “Good job on the x-ray” and I thought she meant about how we got a good shot on the first try so I said “Yes, she did really well and sat still”. But she said, “No, I mean on deciding to get the x-ray. It’s a good thing you did.” And I said “Was there a break?” And she said “Yes, a bad one, but not her arm.” And I said “Her collarbone?” “Yes.” And at this time, Alyssa was sitting in her wheelchair, tucked into a heated blanket, sipping bottled water through a straw and giggling over something.
After the doctor saw the x-ray, he changed his tune of course. Now “Oh, no wonder she was so touchy. She’s in a lot of pain when she moves that arm.” (YA THINK!?) He showed us the x-ray and her entire collarbone is just snapped in half.
She has to spend 3 weeks in a sling and apparently the bone will fuse back together. He said in a year, it probably won’t even show up on x-ray. We are to take her back in 3 weeks for follow-up x-rays. And she is to be given tylenol/motrin every 4 hours around the clock. He said if it hurts her really badly at night, he’ll give her some Tylenol Codiene.
Fortunately, she’s already figured out that the sling and sitting still makes her shoulder feel better. She’s currently snuggled up on the couch (because I can’t get a shirt on her!) and is sitting very still. Poor baby. I was really surprised after seeing the x-ray, that she was as good as she was. She only cried when someone was messing with her arm. She sat and chatted and giggled the rest of the time. I wonder how she’s going to do tonight? And how on earth will she use the bathroom with one hand?