Friday, 19 April 2013

Another Day, Another Trip to A&E

Well, one thing we can never say about life with Bee is that it's uneventful!

This morning, while getting Bee ready for nursery I noticed a small lump on her inner wrist. Immediately I panicked. It looked just like a bone sticking out, as if she'd broken it. I wracked my brain trying to think when she'd had a significant fall recently or shown any pain or discomfort but nothing seemed to fit. Bee stumbles a lot due to her gross motor delay and hypotonia but she hadn't had a major fall in a couple of weeks.

I gingerly pressed at the area around it and Bee didn't react at all so I tried gently touching the lump. Nothing. No tears, no cringe, no reaction at all. It felt fairly hard but still yielded, not like bone. All kind of thoughts went through my head. The first (ridiculously) was a tumor but then, I couldn't think when I'd heard of a tumor on the wrist. So then maybe a fatty lump or cyst or some kind? But I wasn't sure if that happened in children.

Bee was still asking for nursery and as she didn't seem to be in any pain and was moving her hand freely I decided to pop in and ask the advice of her teachers. It's a nightmare getting a GP's appointment.

On arrival all said it was unusual but as she wasn't in any pain and was off playing with the toys they were happy for her to stay and would ring me with any problems. I decided to go home, pack a bag and take her to A&E after nursery.

Milk, syringes & tube....check
Nappies, wipes & creme....check
 Spare clothes....check
Pyjamas & slippers....check
Laptop & DVD's....check

It sounds a lot but from grim experience we go in expecting it to be a few hours and end up being admitted, sometimes for days on end. These days I always go well prepared: a small bag with nappies, toys & things for the day plus a suitcase stored in the car with extra things for a longer stay.

After collecting Bee from an uneventful morning at nursery we headed straight to A&E at our local hospital. After booking us in the lady at reception asked if we knew our was to the children's section of A&E. Do we ever! We're so well known in the children's ward that we're always greeted by name and all the staff are really pleased to see Bee. Today was no different, a lovely nurse on duty was someone we'd seen many times during Bee's various stays and she was happy to see the big changes in Bee since her last visit.

We had an initial consultation with the doctor, who asked lots of questions and examined Bee's wrist. She agreed that Bee wasn't in pain or discomfort and had a full range of movement so it was extremely unlikely to be a break. She said it was most likely a ganglion cyst, which is harmless, but just to be on the safe side she would send us to get some xrays done then take another look. So, back into the waiting room until we were called to radiology. 

Bee loves the waiting room. It's full of exciting new toys and books, not to mention other people to nosey over. She became particularly entranced by a teenage girl dressed in school PE gear and with a cut over her eye. After slowly walking back and forth past her a few times, slyly watching her out of the corner of her eye, Bee finally plucked up the courage to stand in front of the girl, point and tell me "uh oh". Thankfully the girl and her dad weren't offended and laughed about it. A few times in the next hour of waiting the girl went away, maybe for the toilet or the vending machines and each time Bee went over to her empty chair, had a good examine of it just to make sure she was definitely gone, then turned to the dad and asked "where is? Where is?" I laughed and laughed. It's not at all like Bee to be comfortable with strangers and her concern about the health and whereabouts of the teenager was lovely. 

We waited about an hour for Bee's xrays. During that time I googled 'ganglion cyst' and found that they are indeed harmless, although can be painful and sometimes need surgical removal. From my reading it appeared they were most common in adults and I could find very little except for various posts on parent forums for ganglion cysts in toddlers. The webpages I browsed seemed to conclude they were generally caused by repetitive strain or injury, which didn't seem to fit with Bee and they could go away on their own. Sometimes, if they didn't disappear or became painful they could be drained of the fluid with a needle or surgically removed under anesthetic. Slightly worrying.

Bee's xrays were not fun. Bee will not voluntarily sit still and certainly would not understand to keep her hand still on an xray plate so I had to sit her on my knee and clamp her arm in the right position. Not a great experience. Bee struggled and cried but it was a neccessary evil and it was over fairly quickly. To calm her tears the radiographer offered Bee an 'I've been brave' sticker and, to Bee's complete joy, a Peppa Pig certificate! Honestly it was like flicking a switch. The tears stopped, the smile came out and she was joyful little Bee again.

So back to the ward to await a doctor's perusal of her xrays and diagnosis of her wrist. It was another hour or so before we were seen again, this time by a different doctor. She'd looked at Bee's xrays and there's definitely no break or fracture and the most likely diagnosis is a ganglion cyst. The doctor said she'd never seen one in a child as young as Bee and would like us to go back and see a consultant in a week's time. Which we're happy to do but it is a little worrying. If it's just a harmless cyst that should go away on it's own why do we need to go back and see a consultant? At least we'll only have a week to wait and find out.

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