Friday, September 17, 2010

Mysterious Limp Solved - or - How Things Become Really Complicated When Your Kid Has a Brain-Injury

Long story short -

Elijah is fine.

Long story long (don't say I didn't warn you) -

It's been a stressful couple of days to find out that he is fine.

On Wednesday afternoon, Elijah's ABA therapists were at our house to work with him.  He was still asleep when they got here at three o'clock and by four I decided it was time for him to get up from his nap.

Shortly after he woke up, I noticed that he was limping.  I said something to his therapists about his leg falling asleep since that's what it looked like to me. An hour later he was still limping and I was concerned.  Something was not right.

Then I remembered that Elijah had tumbled down two steps that morning at 8:30am. He'd acted completely normal all morning, but I thought perhaps he'd broken something or possibly had a concussion.  It didn't really make sense, but I was worried.

His therapists were worried too, but about something even more sinister.  One of them mentioned the possibility of seizures. While Elijah hasn't had seizures since his NICU days, his risk for having seizures is higher than most.  He was really sleepy after I woke him up (which, who wouldn't be after a two and a half hour nap?) and his gait was definitely not typical for him. Signs that could point to him having had a seizure, possibly during his nap.

By this point, it was evening and we decided that we'd better take him to the emergency room. So, off we went for our first ever ER visit as parents. We spent two hours at the hospital, the doc took a look at him, stretched his legs a little bit (pretty much what I'd already done at home, but I'm not a doc) and told us she thought it was probably something neurologic.  Essentially, since she couldn't find anything physically wrong with him, she thought that he'd probably had a seizure and neurologically his leg had fallen asleep.  She advised us to call our neurologist in the morning.  It was 10pm and we were just happy to go home at that point.

Elijah was supposed to go to preschool the next morning for his second day, but there was no way we were going to send him after hearing that he might have had a seizure and was still limping.

8am the next morning (Thursday) Andy called our neurologist and left a message.  We also got an appointment that afternoon for a pediatrician and for a chiropractor.  The pediatrician thankfully took me seriously and spent a lot of time with us. I told him what had happened and how I wanted to rule out any physical reason for his limp.  Simply checking the legs of a kid who has a really high pain tolerance and who cannot tell you what is bothering him isn't enough.  The doc ordered x-rays, but apparently it would take 20-some x-rays to make sure Elijah didn't have a fracture.  He referred us to have a CT scan (at the same hospital Elijah was in the NICU) for the next day, since he thought that'd give us a clearer picture.

We stopped at the chiropractor on the way home and Elijah got a small adjustment. The doc didn't think that was making Elijah limp either.

Wow, this story is already long and we're just now getting to today...

So this morning, Friday, the hospital called us and wondered why we didn't get x-rays.  They thought the best course of action was to do some x-rays first (and they didn't think it would take 20). If they didn't find anything there, they'd do an MRI to get a better picture. In the meantime, Andy called our neurologist because we hadn't heard back from him and his thought was that Elijah's limp was a physical thing (which was actually good news). We requested that if they did an MRI, they'd also do a scan of his brain since he'd already be sedated.

The x-rays showed nothing, so off to the MRI we went. We got to go into the room with him to the MRI until he fell asleep, but then had to leave and wait.

About an hour and forty-five minutes later, we got called back to see our boy, who was still fast asleep from his sedation in the short stay unit. Eventually, he woke up and we got to go home. He's sound asleep in his own bed and we're hoping that he'll feel a lot better in the morning.

Andy did get to talk to the doctor and they did discover what was causing the limp. Apparently he has some sort of inflammation on his right hip joint that can occur after a virus. Overall, I think this is the best news we could have gotten.  He had no fractures and his limp should go away within a couple weeks. And his brain scan looks the same as it did when he was 8 days old, so no new injuries to his brain have occurred. I'm sure we'll discuss the scan more with our neurologist at Eli's next appointment in November.
Anyway, it's been a crazy, stressful couple of days.  From worries about broken bones to seizures to concussion to stroke to something as simple as growing pains. Why is my kid limping? Thankfully, we finally have an answer and I'm finally starting to breathe again.  
Thanks for all of the prayers and kind words! 


Mo said...

Oh Lord, it's like August all over again for me after reading that. Oia just REFUSED to walk but we quickly learned hers was an ankle sprain. Thank heavens that Elijah's problem is solved and time will heal. Yay for the positive MRI... do you drink wine? Sounds like you need a glass after all that! ;0)

Lisa said...

Thanks Mo. I did have a glass of wine. ;) Our kids need to stop stressing us out!!

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