Nursemaid’s Elbow

A few weeks ago, it was my turn to teach in Relief Society. Church is at 11, and on Sunday morning my lesson was an amalgamation of thoughts and notes that only needed to be organized into a thoughtful lesson outline. It was all there, just not in order.

As I sat down to put the lesson in order, I heard Kyle scolding Ruby for doing something naughty, then a thump. It sounded like she had thrown herself on the floor. Then the waterworks started.

And continued.

And continued.

Normally when Ruby bumps her head or is scolded, she cries for a minute, gets a hug, and goes on her way happy and tearless. This time, Kyle brought her out to me and told me she wouldn’t stop crying. So I held her. I nursed her. I offered her apple juice. She refused to calm down, so I asked Kyle for specifics on what had happened.

It seems that Ruby had been trying to run away from a diaper change, so Kyle grabbed her arm to lead her back. Unhappy with this solution, Ruby flung herself onto the floor–her hand still in Kyle’s–and Kyle heard a pop. At first Kyle hadn’t really thought anything of it, but her unceasing tears seemed to indicate that something was wrong. Upon closer inspection, she was holding one of her arms very, very straight and refusing to move it.

I called my resident medical adviser (my mom), and we decided that it was time to go to urgent care. We arrived, there was very little wait, and went in to see the doctor. It turns out Ruby had what he called Nursemaid’s Elbow. Apparently it’s pretty common for children ages 2-6. It usually happens when an adult is holding a child’s hand and the child throws a tantrum and flings their body in an unexpected way. Because the ligaments in their elbows aren’t fully formed, it can partly dislocate their elbow, which is very painful. Evidently some children are more prone to it than others. The doctor held her arm, popped her elbow back in, and in an instant it was as though nothing had happened. The doctor assured us that it wasn’t uncommon, and that it didn’t mean that we were bad parents.

I ended up preparing my lesson during the second hour of church and it all seemed to work out pretty well, despite the stressful morning.

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