Monday, November 19, 2012

Our first trip to the ER

Much like almost everything that has happened in the last 20 months of parenthood, our first trip to the ER with Elliot was nothing like what I expected. The reason for this can be easily traced to the fact that I watch too much TV and tend to base my expectations of real life on what I’ve seen. For instance, the night Lauren gave birth, I envisioned us rushing to the hospital, Lauren screaming in the passenger seat to hurry or the baby may have to be delivered in the car. In reality we sat around the house for hours, not sure if she was actually in labor, then calmly drove to Texas Health Dallas and had a very serene birth experience.

You’d think I would have learned my lesson about over-dramatizing life events … but no.

A few weekends ago, right before Halloween, we met some friends at a local pumpkin patch so that Elliot could play and see the animals in the petting zoo. It was a nice day, but after a couple of hours, Elliot was beginning to fade and was in need of a nap and some lunch. Speaking of over-dramatizing, Elliot is in the phase now where when he starts to experience the slightest discomfort or annoyance, it quickly escalates into a threat-level red situation. As we were heading to the car, Lauren and I were actively trying everything to entertain Elliot for a few more minutes so that we could keep his wheels on long enough to get him fed.

That led us to doing something we had never really done before. As we were walking to the car, we each held one of his hands. Elliot, as he is known to do when he’s not pleased, was “going limp” every few feet to show his displeasure. We decided the best way to combat this was to swing him … which he was very much enjoying. It had become a game, and he was loving it. As we neared our car, the very last swing caused him to let out a little cry, which then turned into full-out screaming.

At first we didn’t think much of it, as he had been on the verge of meltdown for the last 20 minutes. But then as we were buckling him in, we noticed that his left arm was just hanging limp at his side … and he was upset! We tried a few things and then confirmed that yes, his left arm was “not working,” and any attempt to move it was causing excruciating pain. So off we went to the ER. I was sure this was bad; I was thinking x-rays, shoulder surgery, CPS interrogating us … the whole works.

We were quite surprised upon arrival at the ER that the triage nurse knew exactly what was wrong, and with one deft move she had twisted his arm slightly so that his elbow was back in place. She told us it happens all the time and was “not a big deal.” So thirty minutes after entering the ER, we were sitting on the patio of a Mexican restaurant with our happy little boy chatting away while he tried to figure out if he likes or hates salsa. This is definitely not how things happen on TV, and, boy, am I glad!

Jordan Echols is a Marketing Manager with Texas Health Resources and Dad to son Elliot who brings him new adventures every day.

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