When you have a child with a long history of medical issues, you learn to be grateful for things you wouldn't ordinarily think about. Eating? I'm grateful....my daughter, A, didn't eat for years and used a feeding tube until she was 3 years old. Walking? I'm grateful...my daughter didn't walk until she was 3 1/2. And today I'm grateful for a sprained ankle.
Yesterday afternoon I got a phone call from my daughter's deaf/hard-of-hearing therapist. She was really concerned about A. She observed her at school to be off-balance (even more so than usual), seemingly unsure of where to step when she walked, and was not writing her name correctly, with the letters in the right order. As she relayed all this to me, I grew more and more concerned; I, too, had noticed yesterday morning that she wasn't walking quite right, but chalked it up to her possibly being tired. And when I volunteered in her classroom yesterday, I witnessed her not writing her name correctly, too.
The therapist was concerned that A had possibly suffered a concussion. This was not a far-fetched theory; she had been pushed down by a little boy on Monday, 4 days earlier, and in fact had a cut and gooseegg on her forehead. (This same little boy has been pushing her a lot recently. It's not aggressive; rather, he has a crush on her and keeps running over to hug her. But she has balance issues and keeps getting pushed over. It's gotten to the point where the principal is involved, and the little boy is being put in a different recess than A). The therapist also suggested that maybe A had had a seizure in her sleep; this frightened me, as A has never had a seizure before.
Needless to say, hung up and had A walk over to me. She was indeed walking funny, something I hadn't noticed earlier because she hadn't been walking far. I had her write her name a few times, and each time she got it right. I was not concerned about this now, but I was concerned about the walking issue. I called our pediatrician, who told us to go straight to the emergency room at Children's Hospital.
The whole drive there I was freaking out. What if A had suffered a concussion? What could they do about it at that point? And what if it was a seizure? I know this is a large leap to make, but given her medical history, and the fact that she had a bilateral pre-natal stroke, it wouldn't be unheard of. On the other hand, I was able to talk myself down from the ledge; her writing was ok, and over the past few days she had exhibited no unusual behavior (aside from the odd walking)...her eating, sleeping, and personality was unchanged.
The doctors at Children's Hospital did not think it was a concussion, based on observation and examination. However, when they looked at her legs, they noticed one ankle was swollen! She ended up having some x-rays done on her ankle, which luckily turned out normal. Most likely she sprained or strained her ankle, which would of course account for her walking oddly! One thing that worries me is the fact that she didn't tell me she was in pain! Never in the past week did she indicate, either verbally or non-verbally, that her ankle hurt. She is definitely a little trooper, but I wish she would be less so sometimes.
So, I am grateful. A sprain/strain? That is easily healed. We are keeping her off her feet as much as possible; of course she's walking some, but she is sitting out of adapted P.E. and is playing in the sandbox at recess. And at home, of course, I'm carrying her around like a princess as much as I can. In light of what I thought it COULD be, this is nothing. A concussion? A seizure? A broken ankle? Bring THIS on. We can deal.
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