29 April 2012, by Tan Yi Lin
This is one experience that all parents would probably want to keep at arm’s length.
Last weekend, we found ourselves at the Children’s A&E at KKH.
As it turns out, Coco is quite a feisty character and this 8 months-old’s greatest ambition right now is walking. For the past couple of months, she has been insisting on touring the house on foot. When you hold her, she immediately straightens up on her little legs, locks her knees and marches off in a purposeful heel-toe, heel-toe, striding fashion to the destination that she’s most fixated upon – usually the out-of-bounds kitchen area.
The thing is, she can’t even crawl* yet, and neither can she walk unassisted. So somebody will always have to chaperone her by her armpits on her grand tours of her living quarters, for however long she wants to walk, or however long our backs can take the strain, whichever is longer (usually the former).
(* she has shown 0.1% interest in learning how to crawl. Despite me getting down on my hands and knees to demonstrate. For my effort, I received a disdainful look that seemed to say, “Seriously, mum. What ARE you doing? Just pick yourself up and walk, for goodness sake.” We’ll talk about crawling – or rather the lack of it – in a separate entry.)
Anyway, back to talking about arms, not legs.
You don’t need a book to tell you that the safest way to support a baby, who is learning how to stand and walk, is by her torso.
Dan usually gets this right and he is not short of photographic evidence as proof of his good fathering skills:
However, last Saturday, he decided to hold Coco by her hands while she toddled around the house.
I wasn’t particularly alarmed as I’ve seen him hold her like this before and she seemed completely at ease with it too. In fact, I went to the extent of copying what he did – only to have my mum quickly (and shrilly too, I must add) chide me, “HOLD HER PROPERLY LAH, FOR GOODNESS SAKE!!!!!!! YOU’LL SPRAIN HER ARM!!!!”
I guess this was yet another unarguable example of MOTHER KNOWS BEST.
That day, Coco twisted her left hand out of Dan’s grip and swung awkwardly from her right hand towards the floor.
She didn’t hit the ground. Neither did she cry out in pain. So we didn’t suspect that she could have been injured. In fact, she looked none the worse for wear and continued playing throughout the rest of the afternoon, until it was time for her nap. While rolling around on the bed before she dropped off to sleep (her usual routine – I’ve no idea why she has to go through so much trouble to fall asleep), she suddenly started wailing REALLY loudly. She stopped when we comforted her but as the day progressed, we noticed that she stopped using her right hand completely.
To cut the long story short, after:
– Spending two hours at the Children’s A&E to see a doctor on Sunday morning;
– Spending another hour at the A&E shuttling between the x-ray lab, the doctor’s room, the plaster room and the pharmacy;
– Trying not to have an emotional meltdown when Coco wailed as the doctor realigned her elbow ligament and sobbed when I pinned her down by her chest and injured arm to have her x-rays taken….
…THIS was the heartbreaking picture that we had to present to her grandparents when we got home:
The semi-good news was that it was unlikely that her arm was fractured as she didn’t hit the ground in a fall. The x-ray showed some swelling around the elbow joint and no visible fracture. But to the safe, the doctor had her put in a cast and we were given an appointment to return for a review the next day.
Needless to say, Coco looked so pitiful and helpless, not unlike a baby bird nursing a broken wing, that she received LOTS of love and pampering from everyone at home and well wishes from more than 30 sympathetic followers on Facebook.
Poor thing indeed.
The next morning, we headed back to KKH, to the Specialist Clinic that saw children with orthopaedic problems.
It was HORRIBLE being in The Land Of Broken Children…. but it was uplifting to see that most of the little patients appeared rather upbeat despite having a limb encased in plaster, supported by a sling round their neck.
Thankfully, Coco was no different – she was visibly less glum than she looked over the weekend. She still wasn’t too enthusiastic about using her injured arm but proved that her good arm was perfectly well suited for feeding herself and pulling at hospital equipment. Of particular attraction were electric wires and waterproof sheets. Lovely.
Well, it turned out to be a wasted trip because given that we just saw the A&E doctor on Sunday, it was far too soon to be back at the hospital for a review the following day. I guess there was some form of miscommunication between the doctor and the nurse at the counter who issued us the date for the follow-up appointment.
As the doctor expected, Coco whimpered piteously as he moved her arm around to determine whether or not she was still in pain, and we were sent home, with baby still in cast and another appointment to see the doctor in a week’s time.
To Be Continued….