Luke turned 5 months old today. We asked him how he would like to celebrate and he said he wanted to go flirt with the nurses in the ER at Community North. We like to keep him happy, so off we went.
Ok, ok ... that's not really how it happened, but that IS how we spent the afternoon. When I was changing him out of his pjs this morning, he started to cry (not scream, just fussy cry) as I took his arm out. There were no sudden movements, no popping noises, but he cried. Honestly I thought he was hungry so I fed him. I noticed that he didn't reach to grab the bottle like normal. Afterwards I was rocking him and he didn't hold onto the blanket like normal. Then I laid him down and he used his left arm to rub his face, hold onto the blanket, wave around ... but left his right arm laying on the bed. The day pretty much went on like that. If you lifted his arm up it was limp and would just flop back down. He wouldn't grasp my finger. He never really cried - just whimpered occasionally if it was moved a certain way. He still COULD move his arm - occasionally moved his fingers and once or twice moved his hand to his face. There were no bumps, bruises, swelling, discoloration, or things poking out. Most the time he was laughing/grinning and waving his left arm around, while the right stayed put. We had no idea what it could be.
I called and talked to a nurse on call and we decided to take him to the ER. We could have waited until the pediatrician's open hours, but in the event they might do an xray, we went to the hospital.
He was a champ when we got there. Still no crying, grinned and flirted with the nurses - just really wouldn't use that arm.
The doctor came in and after examining him said he was pretty sure it was something called Nursemaids Elbow. This is basically a partially dislocated elbow - it happens when the radius (one of the elbow bones) slips out of the joint. This can happen because the ligaments and muscles are still very relaxed and flexible and don't hold the bone firmly in place.
Jason held Luke while the doctor bent his elbow to help put the bone back into place. That's pretty much the only time he cried. Shortly afterwards he could slightly move it and now that we've been home he's doing much better. I was leaning over him and he raised both hands up to my face. He's taking a nap now - all that flirting wore him out!
We're not sure what caused it. A lot of times in older kids it's when a parent swings them around by their arms, or is holding their hand and the kid falls. The only thing we can think of is that maybe his arm twisted while I was changing him? We also read that sometimes if they roll over onto it, it can cause it. Maybe he slept on it funny, got it caught in the crib ... we'll probably never know.
So that was our day! Needless to say we didn't take his 5 month onesie pictures today. Look for them later this week!