We were having a fine day out. Having just finished off hours of fun in the woods and a pub garden playground we were heading back to the car. Tilly was wanting to be swung between us. We were just about there when we did a last unsynchronised lift when ‘click’ went Tilly’s arm. She started crying, a lot. In a trice our plans for the rest of the day were swept aside and unbeknowst to Tilly, she was about to visit the hospital.

The incident was immediately followed by a  terribly sinking feeling and churning emotions of guilt and anxiety. We carefully strapped her into her car seat and set off for home, hoping it would improve. However as we neared home, Tilly’s stern face and motionless arm told us all we needed to know. As it was approaching 6pm I made a desperate call to the doctors. Could they fit us in and take a look. A short chat with the receptionist later and it seemed clear that we would be better off heading off to the Minor Injuries Unit in our nearest large town, where they could x-ray the arm if needed.

Tilly has been incredibly healthy over the past year and has needed few visits to the doctors and certainly not needed to go anywhere near a hospital. It was our first visit the Minor Injuries Unit, being relatively new to the area, and the big unknown was how long it would all take. At the reception a sign saying there’s a 4 hour wait for minor injuries made our hearts’ sink, although the waiting room itself wasn’t too busy.

Perhaps the sign is to ward off time-wasters, as around 20 minutes later we were being seen. Tilly was not happy and still in pain and it was proving difficult to determine whether it was coming from her elbow or wrist. The nurse decided to allow a little more time to see whether Tilly would start moving her arm. Unfortunately nothing was doing so off we went to x-ray.

We only had to wait for one other person to be x-rayed before having our own turn. It transpires that x-raying an active toddler is a bit of a challenge as the staff had to try various approaches and angles to get the views of the bones needed. However as they were positioning Tilly’s hand, something miraculous happened. Tilly wasn’t complaining about the pain and was starting to move her hand and arm again.

By the time we’d got back to the waiting room Tilly had returned to the bundle of energy she normally is, and despite it being way past her bedtime had taken to galloping around the waiting room. By the time we saw the nurse again she could see immediately that all was well and reported that it was a pulled elbow that had during our time at the hospital sorted itself out. What an enormous relief.

All in all it we were done in around an hour and a half, a far cry from the hours of hanging around we feared. The staff were great, especially the ladies in the x-ray, coaxing Tilly into position. Although our visits to the NHS are happily infrequent, each one makes us proud about the health service we’re so lucky to have in this country.

For Tilly who plays doctors with sick toys on a daily basis, the whole experience has only added to her understanding of what goes on in a hospital. She got a sticker for her efforts and when we get to the inevitable x for x-ray when going through the alphabet, she can recount her story about the time she had pictures taken of her arm.

Today we’re back to normal although I think swinging Tilly by her arms will be off the list of fun activities for the foreseeable future!

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