sprains need icecream & bubble baths

The other day Kid1 jumped/fell off a small table and hurt his arm. He lay on the sofa refusing to move it, screaming when it was touched, and generally being dramatic and miserable. At first I was angry, Kid1 knows better than to jump off the table, it was the Tuesday before Thanksgiving, we really didn’t have the time to drive to the pediatrician’s office, or spend the late afternoon at Urgent Care.

Kid2 didn’t understand that Kid1 only wanted to lay on the sofa. Kid2 wanted to play, and was not pleased when removed from the scene. Dealing with an increasingly angry Kid2, and a very dramatic-in-pain Kid1 wasn’t helpful for anyone.

We decided to be on the safe side and after speaking with the triage nurse at the pediatric office we took him to the local ER. My husband stayed with Kid1, while Kid2 and I headed home. Eventually, Kid1 got x-rays and we were informed it was “a sprain” and he’d need “ice cream and a bubble bath” (in addition to ibuprofen as needed for pain).

When we got home, my husband told me the main reason we’d gone to the ER was because of how freaked out I was.

Thanks dear.

I have a hard time when it comes to children in pain. When Kid1 was about 10 or 11 months old, he dislocated his elbow. It was 9:30 or 10 at night, so instead of taking him to the ER we stayed up all night praying and singing hymns. He finally screamed himself to sleep in his crib, clutching my hand (I was too exhausted to hold him, and it only seemed to make things worse). In the morning when he was still unable to move his arm, we took him to the pediatrician and with in a few moments the elbow was popped back into place.

I promised I would never put him through that again.

When I was a senior in high school I rolled my ankle about 90 degrees while getting off the school bus. My ankle swelled up to the size of an ugly, bruised softball and I hobbled to the school phone for my mother to come pick me up. To her credit, she did so, and the moment I got in the car she informed me I could “Call Ms.- when we get home.”

Ms.- was the family CSP who proceeded to inform me that my problem is was not real, or part of me. My father suggested I elevate the injury, and “rest and read Science and Health.” This was a Thursday or Friday and back at school on Monday walking on the ankle as if nothing had happened.

It was a “great” healing, or so I thought until my first winter at Prin when the cold weather started causing a nagging ache in my ankle. I thought nothing of it, figured it was inadequate shoes, and got a better pair of boots. The ache persisted. I ignored it.

The ache came back the next winter, and the one after that. The ache comes back in the winter, and mornings when it is below about 35-40 degrees out. It has never been bad enough for me to bother seeing a doctor about it, but it is a problem that persists none the less.

It isn’t an obvious problem, it isn’t life-threatening. I’m not sure seeking “proper treatment” would’ve prevented pain in the long run. I’d like to think it might have made a difference.

I’m reminded of the book Travis talks with God, in which the main character, Travis, has a sledding accident. He goes home and talks with his mother, they exchange CS platitudes and suddenly Travis feels all better and goes off to play. Most of Kid1 and Kid2’s bumps, scrapes and bruises are fixed with some juice, a cookie, or a quick snuggle, the ones where they lay listlessly on the sofa worry me.

I know what to do when there is blood, I can even manage a fever, but when Kid1 (or 2) gets hurt in such away all they want to do is lay on the sofa and cry, without any blood, or need for a band-aid or other “simple” fix it gets difficult for me. I don’t want to over-react, but I also don’t want them to have a lasting problem because I didn’t do something.


Addendum: We later talked to Kid1’s pediatrician, he was annoyed that we’d been told to go to the ER. Next time we should “wait two or three hours” unless there is “noticeable swelling” or “lots of blood.” These things simply are “not covered by Dr. Sears” and most of the time there is “no cause for alarm.” I love our pediatrician.

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