I know it was bound to happen sometime. Apparently emergency room visits are all the rage with parents of young children. However, the hubby and I have very little emergency room experience. I think I went once as a kid (twisted ankle) and I think the hubby went once (scratched cornea - yowch). So we were ill-prepared for this.
On Saturday, I was playing with Nate. He likes to stand behind us on the couch, have us hold his hands over our shoulders and rock front and back or side to side - kind of like a piggy back ride, but while sitting. After a certain seeming non-extraordinary moment, he said, "Ow" and pouted and was holding his wrist - so I thought maybe I had held too tightly onto his wrist. By this point, he was two hours overdue for a nap, though (he doesn't nap well, sometimes at all, on Saturdays) so we figured maybe he was cranky because of that and didn't really hurt much. So at 3pm, the hubby put him down for a nap.
We were scheduled to go to dinner at 5pm for my brother's birthday, so around 4:15 I went in to wake Nate up. As soon as he woke up, he started crying - hard. And he just kept crying. I sat in the glider with him and he was sort of clutching his left arm a little, but also not moving it at all. He would move his right arm just fine, but his left arm he kept bent and close to his body. If I tried to lift it (slowly and gently), he would cry, "Owww!" and then cry more.
So we called our pediatrician's weekend service and they said it sounded like "nursemaid's elbow" (which I had never heard of and had to Google) and that we should go to the ER, so we did.
This is where the lack of ER expertise came in because the hubby dropped off Nate and I while he went to go park the car (Nate was already feeling better by this time - his arm probably really hurt early because he spent over an hour sleeping on it, poor thing). I walked in and realized I had no idea what to do. It was nothing like it is on TV - no bloody people lying around, no gurneys running through. Plus, this was specifically the pediatric emergency room - so mainly there were kids and teenagers sitting around, looking bored, watching Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs on the flat screen.
Nate's "bracelet," Curious George, and my striped sleeve
So I walked up to the desk and probably just said, "Uhhh.. um." But they, of course, knew what to do - took our information, gave Nate a hospital bracelet (which he liked - he likes bracelets) and then we sat in front of the TV and I gave him the coloring supplies I had planned to bring with us to dinner.
"Kuh-goo!" (that's how Nate says "color" or "crayon")
Nate was really great in the waiting room. He was really interested in the automatic door (he's obsessed with all doors needing to be closed, so seeing a door that closed itself was a highlight for him). He said hi to the other kids and was just generally running around if he wasn't watching TV or coloring.
That looks like a toddler with a dislocated elbow, right?
We were eventually moved to the second waiting area, where we kept Nate entertained with episodes of Thomas on our phones. Eventually the doctor saw us, flexed Nate's arm three times and told us it was nursemaid's elbow. I asked her if she'd have to set it and she said, "I just did." OH. Well, okay then. No wonder Nate just cried for a minute (I figured it was just because it hurt).
Waiting for the Motrin to kick in so we can go home
She had us give Nate some Motrin and then we had to sit around for 20 minutes waiting to make sure he could use the arm (if he couldn't, it might have been a fracture). Nate seemed too nervous to use the arm. He'd use it when he wasn't thinking about it, but as soon as we asked him to, he'd refuse. Eventually the open door in the waiting room got the better of him, though, and using his formerly injured arm, he pulled it shut (one of those heavy hospital doors with a rubber doorstop). The doctor saw that and said, "Well, okay. I think you can go home now."
The next morning (Easter morning), Nate woke up like nothing had happened. He was happy and energetic and seemed to have no memory of being hurt. He was his regular self and was totally happy to open up his Easter backpack ("mack mack!") and eat some Easter treats.
So there it was. Nate's first trip to the ER. Our first parental trip to the ER. Fairly uneventful and not too scary (no blood or anything). Nerve-wracking, for sure, and it sucked that we had to miss my brother's birthday dinner, but at least it wasn't anything worse and we're very lucky to not have had to do this before. I would like to avoid doing it again but I have a feeling this won't be our one and only ER visit. At least next time we'll know the drill.