Without a leg to stand on

This story has a happy ending.  (I know, I just killed the suspense.  Sorry ’bout that.)

Yesterday morning, Fainjin was running and jumping around like a mad thing normal four-year-old boy as we got ready to go to school, work and daycare.  He was happy and chirpy, telling us in the car, “When we get there, I’m going to run!”

But when we arrived, and got out of the car, he was puzzled and concerned.  “Mummy, I got a lump.”  He was standing oddly.

“A lump? Is there something in your sandal?”

“No, a limp!” he and The Dad said together, as his right leg buckled under him.  The Dad and I frowned at each other.  We asked if he was sore, he said yes and pointed to a weeks-old graze on his left knee.  We couldn’t see anything wrong, so The Dad carried him the short distance to daycare.

We observed him for a while, hoping perhaps his foot had just gone to sleep, or he’d somehow knocked his thigh and it was a fleeting thing.  But he couldn’t stand, couldn’t walk, and was crawling around the floor.  He was still happy and chirpy though.  There was no swelling, no sign of injury or any mark on him.  After a short consultation with his teachers, we called the doctor’s office.  They seemed to think “wait and see” might be a good strategy, but we discussed that and decided there was no way he could stay at daycare if he couldn’t walk!  So The Dad took him off to the doctor.

He was seen very quickly, and the doctor herself was quite concerned.  She detected some tenderness around his hip.  She gave him some painkiller, and told The Dad that if Fainjin wasn’t walking in about half an hour as the medicine took effect, we should take him for a blood test to rule out infection.

We did that, much to Fainjin’s disgust.  Since his vaccinations, he is deeply suspicious of people who try to poke holes in him.  Once it was over, though, he agreed that blood tests aren’t so bad and he can be brave.  We took him for a restorative hot chocolate and bikkie at a cafe.  When he was finished, he crawled around on the floor to explore.

We went home.  About mid-afternoon he started walking again, although with a pronounced limp.  The limp improved as the day went on, and by the time we went to watch Pearl play floorball, he was scampering up the tiered seating (to my horror!).  We kept an eye on him, and noticed that although he was moving around quite easily, he was still favouring the right leg.  The doctor called to say his blood tests were all clear, and on hearing that he was much improved but still limping, advised that we check back with her in the morning.

The Dad and I puzzled over a possible cause.  We couldn’t think of any accident or even bump that might have caused this.  With a family history of Perthes Disease, we wondered whether perhaps Fainjin’s hip has been sore for a while without us knowing.  After all, he once had ear infections in both ears without complaining…

This morning he was limping again, bearing weight but if anything slightly worse than he had been at the end of yesterday.  So we went for an x-ray.  I was worried about how Fainjin would react, but he was great.  The radiologists were also great, telling him to “smile!” each time they took a picture.  When Fainjin saw the prints, he was thrilled.  “It looks like a skeleton!”

We took him back to daycare in time for lunch.  The Dad and I stopped to observe the two minutes of silence for victims of the Christchurch earthquake.

We had just sat down back at work when the phone rang.  “The x-rays are perfect” said the doctor.  “But the orthopaedic registrar at the hospital wants to see him and check him out anyway.  Take him to the Emergency Department.”

I looked at my full cup of tea and The Dad’s sandwich with one bite out of it.  We finished our lunch, then signed out of work again and got him out of daycare again to head to the hospital.  It all felt very dramatic.  In the carpark, Fainjin – still limping – wanted to climb up to walk on top of a small wall, and jumped in all the puddles.

We soon saw the hospital doctor, who examined him thoroughly and looked at the x-ray and blood results.  He carefully explained to us why he was concerned about the possibility of infection or a slipped epiphysus, and we mentioned our Perthes concerns.

Thankfully, he was able to rule out all of those, and decided that Fainjin has Transient Synovitis of the Hip, which is much less serious and will quickly resolve itself.

He gets to stay home with me tomorrow, but should be ok for daycare and bouncing off walls after that.


© UpsideBackwards 2011.


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6 Responses to “Without a leg to stand on”

  1. leechbabe Says:

    Yay. I’m glad you got it checked out. My friends 4yo daughter who has leukemia started out with just an ouchy knee and a bit of a limp that didn’t get better. Blood tests soon revealed her problem.

  2. Kelley @ Magnetoboldtoo Says:

    so glad he is ok. You obviously rock this mothering caper!

    • Kate @ upsidebackwards Says:

      Awww, thanks! That means a lot coming from a superstar like yourself 🙂 I was (and am) very lucky – The Dad was able to be there every step of the way. He was the one wearing the lead apron, in fact, while I stood behind the window with the radiologists! Hooray for flexible and understanding workplaces.

  3. Emma Says:

    That’s very frightening! My friend’s now 11 year old was diagnosed with leukemia at 18 months after her mum noticed a limp. When my now 4 yr old was 2 and started favouring one leg over the other I was immediately at the doctor with that in mind. Of course, she was fine! Glad your fella was as well!

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