Nothing says “Welcome to 2021” like a broken wrist, right?!
What started as a fairly normal Saturday, the first weekend of January, soon turned in to one we won’t forget any time soon! As a parent, it’s one of those things that you hope your child never has to go through – I’ve been lucky enough to get to my ripe old age without breaking anything, I was hoping Grayson would be the same – but here we are!
To put it simply – Grayson was dancing. The kid loves to dance around the lounge – and one of his signature moves is spinning around in circles to get himself dizzy. This particular dance session, was probably a bit intense, and he lost his balance and fell (on the carpet). No bumps or bruises, no visible damage, but he was quite upset and clearly in a lot of pain from his wrist.
At this point, because he could move his fingers, there was no swelling or misalignment, we assumed he’d just sprained it. We tried to put some ice on it, but he was having none of it. It was nearly nap time, so we took him upstairs and got him to sleep (eventually), and put some ice on it whilst he was sleeping.
He woke up in good spirits – but would not move his arm, or use it for anything. Literally, in a matter of minutes, he’d become fully left handed! He was always good with both hands, but for him not to use his right hand at all, raised our concerns even more. We’re not the kind of parents to rush a kid to A&E with every bump and scrape (absolutely no harm in doing this by the way, better to be safe than sorry!). But, given his lack of wanting to use it, and no visible swelling, we decided to phone 111 and speak to a professional – because what do we know!?
It’s not the first time we’ve had to call 111 – I’d much prefer to do that, and see what they advise, than go and sit in A&E for hours when our NHS is already under so much pressure. The lady on the phone was, as you’d expect, incredible. She decided that because he wasn’t really using his arm, and was clearly in pain from it, that the best course of action would be for the emergency doctor to call us, and for us to have a chat with her.
Of course, with Grayson only being two, her immediate request was that we come to the out of hours clinic and have her check it – so at 9pm on a Saturday night, we ventured down the road to see her. Grayson was, as always, an absolute legend about it all. He knew his wrist hurt, and he knows that Doctors help – so he was more than happy to sit around and play on his tablet whilst we waited.
Unfortunately, the Doctor wasn’t able to examine it properly – because it was hurting Grayson, he wouldn’t let her anywhere near it. The doctor quite rightly said that;
If a toddler hasn’t forgotten about an injury after a couple of hours, then it’s probably worth investigating!
She said the dreaded words that no parents wants to hear; “Time to go to A&E – it might be a broken wrist“.
A&E – and Covid
We all know the deal by now with Covid – we’ve heard the stories of Dads unable to attend pregnancy scans, missing important appointments because of the strict Covid restrictions about the number of people attending the appointments.
We had to make the decision as to who would take Grayson in to A&E. I was going to have to drive us there anyway, so it made sense for Ashleigh to wait at home in the warm, instead of in the car on a freezing cold night, in the hospital car park. I could tell that this really upset her, because of course she wanted to be with Grayson. We explained to Grayson that mummy couldn’t come in so she was going to wait at home for him – and we set on our short trip to A&E.
We’d given G a fruit shoot to keep him awake – it was now gone 10pm on a Saturday. Most parents will vouch for this – Fruit Shoots go through kids systems incredibly quickly! So by the time we’d got to A&E, Grayson had leaked through his nappy. Job one was to change his nappy, on the floor in A&E because the changing table was in the ladies (I went in to use it anyway, because yeah, I’m that Dad who changes a bum, you know!) – but it was a tiny babies changing table, not suitable for anyone over 12 months. So the floor it was. Anyway, after that, we checked in, and waited.
The good thing about the Covid lock down is that people aren’t out getting drunk and hurting themselves – roughly 30% of admissions on a Saturday are normally alcohol related.
We waited a few minutes before being taken to our own little room in the kids A&E. The nurses came and had a quick chat, Grayson was on good form and started talking to them about Grandads Trains (as he does with everyone now). The Nurses tried to look at his wrist, but he wouldn’t let them touch it. They gave him some mild pain relief, and said we needed to wait for the Doctor to check if he had a broken wrist.
At this stage, Grayson was getting very tired, and very grumpy. Understandably so. After about an hour of waiting, the Doctor came around and had a look at his wrist. Of course, he doesn’t have X-Ray vision, and said that because of his age, and not letting anyone touch it, then we needed an x-ray. Off we went to the X-Ray department.
Have you ever tried to wrestle an oversized, tired, in pain toddler on to an X-Ray table? No? Well let me tell you know – it is single handedly one of the most stressful things I’ve ever had to do. Made all the more worse by not having my partner in crime with me to distract him. It was now midnight. All I had to do was get Grayson to sit still, and put his arm out under the light on the X-Ray machine.
We (me and the X-ray guy) tried everything. Books, stickers, YouTube, having x-rays ourselves to show him it doesn’t hurt – nothing was working. I was getting full on sweats from the heat of the room and the effort trying to hold G still! Eventually, and I mean, after a good 10 minutes of screaming, wriggling, kicking, he tired himself out enough to stay still for a blurry X-Ray. The X-Ray guys were incredibly patient, and managed to get a shot that showed a crack in the bone. With that, we headed back to our little room and waited again for the Doctor.
The Doctor came through with the news that I hadn’t really expected prior to the X-Ray (I assumed it was just a bad sprain still!). Grayson had cracked his bone, so a broken wrist, but, the X-Ray was too blurry to determine the best course of action, so he wanted us to go and have another try and getting one. He gave G some more mild pain killers, and said he could give him something stronger, but it came with risks. By now, I knew that G’s pain wasn’t that bad, but the tiredness of being awake, and the anxiety of being in A&E without Mummy were the real issues. I rejected the risky pain relief, gave G a cuddle and explained that we needed another X-Ray, and reminded him that he’s done it once and it won’t hurt.
Second time round, he sat on my lap and just stuck his arm on the table straight away. Much to the relief of us all! A few minutes later and the Doctor confirmed that he’d got a clean break on his Radius – and that thankfully, there was no need to operate as it would heal itself after a few weeks in a cast. I explained to him that he had a broken wrist – he just looked at me and held his arm up towards me. He was very much on sleep deprived auto pilot mode now!
The Nurses came back in not long after, and we tackled G enough to get a cast in place. He screamed, he cried like nothing I’ve ever seen before. He was scared, I was trying my best to hold him down and reassure him, but the application of the Cast was a real struggle. Once it was done (it was VERY messy, but the Nurse did what she could given the circumstances, and it was enough to protect him), he tried to rip it off. Properly pulled at it – for a minute I thought he’d won, but he gave up (I assume once it had set, it didn’t feel so weird).
Within seconds, he’d calmed down, tiredness had properly kicked in. It was now 1:30am, and we were heading home to Mummy, who was still wide awake and worried (I’d been keeping her updated of course)
I got home and removed my clothing, because not only was I covered in plaster of Paris, my t-shirt was absolutely soaked from the workout I’d received holding G down for 3 hours! The stress, anxiety and muscle power needed to hold him down had beaten me!
Well after a couple of days, we took him back to get a proper cast on his broken wrist (the doctor said don’t come back in, but his temporary cast was literally falling off, and we didn’t want to risk it, so we took him to get a proper cast). They said it would be 3 more weeks in the cast, then we’ll see how it’s healed. Grayson let them remove and add a new cast with no problems at all – he’s so brave, and in the grand scheme of things, I think he knew it was for the best. He was keen to show everyone his new cast and tell them he had a poorly arm.
Last week, we went for a check. They removed the cast, and did a few simple checks. They didn’t want to stress him out with another X-Ray, as they were happy it was on the mend. A couple more weeks of being careful, but he’s cast free now and carrying on like it never happened.
I honestly can’t thank our NHS enough for their amazing work, as always. They were all so understanding with how G was behaving, given the lack of sleep and the pain he was in. Incredible patience from them.
Yes, it was frustrating that Ashleigh couldn’t come with us – but for the follow up appointments she was able to wait in the car, and just knowing that mummy was only outside made it much easier for G to understand.
It’s important to highlight here, that as parents, you have a sixth sense when it comes to your own children. You know when they’re not themselves. Don’t ever second guess yourself – pick up the phone and call 111 if you’re not sure on something.
If we’d have left it for a couple of days thinking it was just a sprain, then the break might have healed badly and caused issues for G down the line, maybe even requiring an operation. We never for one minute thought he had a broken wrist, but we knew something wasn’t right. If you’re like me, you always feel like you’re wasting the Doctors time – when that clearly wasn’t the case at all.
Our NHS is a precious attribute to our lifestyle – and we need to do all we can to support it, and it’s workers, because they are incredible.
As for G? Well, he now asks “Was this the arm I hurt?” – because he’s totally forgotten already!
Why not read about our 2020, it wasn’t all that bad 😉