Who said being a stay-at-home mom is not dangerous? I slipped on our glossy, 80’s kitchen tile this morning and then banged my head really hard on the wall. Thankfully, I didn’t black out. But, I did have this shooting pain throughout my body and seriously thought I might get major spinal cord injury from it. I fell on the carpet, which cushioned my fall. Still, it was a couple of minutes where my body was numb, especially my right arm, which has the most symptoms from my spinal compression. I just laid there in tears. Meanwhile, my LP son just thought it was funny and couldn’t stop laughing. Stunned, I clarified to him that I’m really hurt. He still continued to laugh. The baby thought that because her brother was laughing she should laugh too. In fact, she thought it was Mommy playing, so she tried to get on my back. I screamed to get her off me . . . there was nothing I could do to get them to take me seriously quickly. Feeling helpless, I yelled sternly to get the phone so I could call my husband. My son got it, but still continued laughing.
- Dwarf Mama’s Lesson Learned: Never play games with your kids faking injury. They wouldn’t know if you really need help. I never play these type of games with my kids, but other people do.
Once I got the phone, I mustered enough energy to try to get up even though my right arm was still numb. I called him and he came right away. I then called my mom for help to get the kids because I knew someone needed to watch them while we went to the ER or urgent care. Filipinos are really good at coming to the rescue. She dropped everything and came right away. Meanwhile, she called my older sister who came in minutes.
My right arm was still a bit numb, but it took about an hour for the numbness to start decreasing. Very scary! If you’re an LP who already is experiencing the intermittent tingling, a big bump that causes numbness makes you panic a bit. And when I fell after bumping my head hard on the wall, it took me a minute or two to catch my breath and breathe normally.
- Dwarf Mama’s Lesson Learned: Teach your kids early how to dial 9-1-1, their phone number and name, or even the word “help”. Our kids cannot easily just open the front door and run to the neighbor’s house for help. It’s heavy and big for a kindergartener or pre-schooler LP. We’re going to start to keep the 9-1-1 number by our phone for our son and daughter to learn to dial in case of emergency.
Off to the urgent care. Why urgent care instead of the ER? I could breathe fine, just got the wind knocked out of me. I could walk and was not paralyzed. There was no huge bump on my head, I was not stumbling, and there was no blood. It would be only a 1 hour wait at most versus a 3-4 hour wait in the ER. One great way to get seen faster than usual is to talk medical talk. We noticed it helps push things forward. So, my husband mentioned “spinal stenosis” and “achondroplasia”. It sent the in-take person worrying. So, I got seen in 5 minutes.
- Dwarf Mama Tip: Know your medical history. When you can specifically describe your medical condition and symptoms (aka “talk shop”) the medical staff tends to listen more. At least, it seems to work if an LP is talking about their health and not an AH parent of an LP.
The doctor performed the usual neurology check (assessing for signs of motor dysfunction bilaterally): Having the patient flex and extend her arm against the doctor’s hand, squeeze your fingers, lift her leg while the doctor press down on her thigh, hold her leg straight and lift it against gravity, and flex and extend her foot against the doctor’s hand. Everything seemed okay. Just to double check, they took x-rays . . . 12-14 of them. Yikes!
- Dwarf Mama Lesson Learned: Try to get an experienced radiology technician. The technician couldn’t figure out how to get a good image of the space between C1-C2, so she kept trying a couple of times. Only later did she decide to bring in a more experienced tech to figure out how to take the image. There can be better imaging taken of your spine depending on if you’re standing or laying on the radiology table.
The doc double checked the x-rays and everything looked fine. He wanted me to just make sure to take it easy and see my doctor if there were any changes like weakness or numbing, which can happen as the week progressed because it’s like having gone through a car accident. Thankfully, I am already going in to see an ortho the week following for my moderate stenosis.
- Dwarf Mama Tip: Be sure to ask for a copy of your x-rays on CD or film for your own records. You are entitled to keep these along with the radiology notes. It may take a couple days for the radiologist to make his notes, so give it some time. I try to ask for them immediately after they’re taken so that I don’t forget. When you need to get a second opinion from your dwarfism specialist doc, you’ll have your images/scans (MRIs, CTs, and x-rays) right there.
I’m monitoring my pain management. The good and bad thing is that I have a high level of pain tolerance. But, I do need to watch this because once pain gets to the high threshold, it could be difficult to bring down.