Last week, young Dinosaur Boy (The Reluctant Farmer's six year old son) had a sore elbow while he was at his mom's house. Under questioning he admitted to having been jumping off the stairs, so it was quite naturally assumed that the pain was a logical consequence of having collided with something during some spectacular landing or other.
However, the next morning, he couldn't move his arm at all. He went to the doctor, who could find no signs of injury consistent with stair-leaping, and so he was sent in to the hospital for more investigation. It turns out that Dinosaur Boy had a bacterial infection in the elbow joint, something not at all uncommon in kids, and required IV antibiotics and fluid drained from the elbow immediately. He was admitted, and responded very well to the medication, which meant that surgery was not required, thankfully. He was very brave about everything, and really enjoyed being able to watch cartoons all day and have mom and dad right there to read books or play games.
He was in the hospital for a few days, and then released with a PICC line so he can have IV antibiotics administered at home. Yep, we have become experts at administering IV medication, so long as we don't have to poke anyone. The PICC line looks like a regular IV line at the arm, but inside the body it snakes up towards the heart, so the medication that is injected is dumped into the body where the blood vessels are larger and can adapt to the onslaught of chemicals much better. I had to have IV antibioitics every 8 hours for more than a week after The Boy was born, and after every two or three injections they'd have to move the line since the blood vessels in my arms would get irritated and sore from the medication, even when it was thoroughly diluted. I wish someone had offered me a PICC line then, I'd have taken it in a heartbeat!
Anyway, the medication run will last for close to a month, depending on the results of his follow up visits, but we have a system all worked out so it's not really wreaking havoc on our lives. The Reluctant Farmer is spending his days in town when the kids are with us, so that he can pick them up a little early from school and be home in time for the 3 pm IV run, but since he can work with his laptop at Starbucks or the library, it's not too much of an inconvenience. Since there's no pain at all with the line once it's in place, there's no fuss and no argument ... it just gets done.
We are immensely grateful for the wonders of modern medicine: in 'the old days' this kind of thing would result in permanent joint damage (there is still a possibility that there'll be some lasting damage, but it'll be minor) and possibly widespread septicemia (which is life-threatening) ... but with the quick diagnosis and administration of effective medication, all is well. And we are grateful.