Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Transient synovitis

Irritable hip. Now, I'll have to bite my tongue. I've had a very stressful day. I'm sympathetic to the shortcomings of the New Zealand health system, and by and large the people involved are good people under a lot of pressure.

However, that can't stop me from being very critical of it at a number of levels.

Our GP said Josh's sore leg was very likely "irritable hip." Irritable hip? Yes. Very common among three and four year olds. What? Common?

I've heard of whooping cough. Measles. Chicken pox. Croup. Hand, foot and mouth. Mumps. These things I've heard of and recognise as "common". Cold, flu, asthma. These are "common" things kids get. Irritable hip? What the hell is that?

Apparently it may be precipitated by a viral infection, but not necessarily (that's according to Wikipedia). It was confirmed today that the cause really is unknown.

How come, though, I've never heard of it. Has anyone?

And here's where I get really annoyed. Seven hours we were at the hospital. The first thing they decided was that it was necessary to put a line in the back of Josh's hand. Yeah, right. Like that was going to happen.

With him straddling me and his arms around my neck, and with FIVE ED staff working on him screaming and struggling for what must have been ten to fifteen minutes, they finally got the line in his hand and got it strapped up. So they could take blood, and if they needed to use it later. In an emergency maybe? Who knows? So with the trauma of that event still raw in all our minds, they thought it would be good to do an xray. Well, Josh definitely wasn't having that, so we flagged that idea. After an hour or so, he relented and as so often happens, actually enjoyed it. He thought the lead vests mummy and daddy had to wear were a hoot. Generally they do a good job of making the kids feel happy about being in a terribly frightening situation. Josh has never been near a hospital, never even been really sick, or hurt.

Three nurses and doctors, same set of questions, same answers. More waiting. Blood results are good. Nothing out of the ordinary - no infection. If he can walk on it, even a little, he can go home. Come back tomorrow to see the consultant.

By now, Josh has forgotten about his hip. The paracetemol and ibuprofen are wearing off and his main concern is the contraption in his hand. Leave it in just a little longer. One more blood test result to come back. Another thirty minutes, and if Josh can walk on his leg they can take the line out and we can go home. Josh is ready to run a marathon if it means getting that line out. He hobbles to the toilet, and along the corridor back to the room. Now can you take this thing out of my hand?

Did they use it? No. So what was the point of having it in there? With all the stress and trauma of putting it in, surely it would have been better to leave it. What sort of emergency is going to happen with a sore hip?

Anyway. While the x-ray was finally fun for him, and there seems to be no long term damage, except a dark bruise on the back of his hand, I'm reminded of something Doctor McCoy said on Star Trek. He commented on how barbaric the medical profession was in the 20th Century.

I agree.

I such situations I tend along the philosophical. After millions of years of evolution, the human body is still so frail (actually I think evolution is a bit of a crock)? After hundreds of years of research in medicine and practise, the best we can do is needles in hands and x-rays? Cutting people open? Incurable diseases? In the 21st Century? Good grief.

Another day at the hospital tomorrow.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Oh God you poor things! Don't worry, the whole thing will be seared into your adult minds far more permanently than anything Josh will remember in a week or two...

Maybe it's the same sort of thing as the really sore knee/leg Sam gets from time to time which, according to the Dr, is night terrors and no way would it be growing pains. I beg to differ. I'm convinced it's growing pains, and comments from various parents and pre-school carers indicates this is very common in young boys.

Who knows, maybe the hip thing could be a growth issue???