On Friday we had our appointment at Alder Hey children’s hospital to talk to a paediatric rheumatologist about the geekdaughter’s aches and pains. And we were extremely relieved to be told that she categorically does not have any kind of arthritis (particularly rheumatoid, which was the one we were worried about due to a number of members of the geekdaddy’s family suffering with this). So the aches and pains she’s getting overnight really are growing pains. Or rather, as the paediatrician would prefer to call them, hypermobility pains. Because, she said, calling them “growing pains” implies that they are something she will grow out of when she stops growing, and these pains might continue even after that. But the good news is that the geekdaughter shows absolutely no signs of having had any kind of arthritis, which is what we were concerned about. And there are some things we can do to help ease the pains for her as well…
If I’m completely honest I wasn’t expecting such a definitive diagnosis. I was expecting further tests to be needed, more questions to need be answered. But that was absolutely not the case, and the geekdaddy and I are very relieved (he said that he felt like he’d lost three stone in weight at the end of the consultation.
We got up early on Friday morning, and were on the road shortly after 9am. The geekson was dropped off at the geek-granny’s house, as she was very kindly looking after him to enable both the geekdaddy and me to be completely focussed on our daughter all day. The drive to Liverpool was smooth, and we arrived very much earlier than needed, giving the geekdaddy the perfect excuse for a diversion to pick himself up a sausage and egg McMuffin…
We arrived at Alder Hay children’s hospital in plenty of time for our appointment, and the first thing they did was a complete round of “weighing and measuring” for the geekdaughter, including having her blood pressure taken and requiring a urine sample. The last time we had to either of these were when we in hospital almost two years ago following her second febrile convulsion, and she was very uncooperative at that time. This time couldn’t have been more different – she was as good as gold and didn’t get at all freaked out by the blood pressure cuff squeezing her arm. I got the job of obtaining the urine sampe, but even this we had no trouble with – the hospital gave me a big kidney bowl for the initial “collection” and a sample pot to decant in to. I think it was a major achievment completing the task without getting covered in the stuff myself!
There was a lot of hanging around, and we ended up being called for our appointment an hour late! This wouldn’t have been so bad if there’d been some toys to distract the kids in the waiting room with, but there weren’t any, which I must say surprised me a hospital dedicated to children. I was quite grateful that the weighing and measuring team had decided the geekdaughter had been so good she deserved an entire sheet of stickers, and this kept her entertained for most of the time we were waiting.
Finally we were called in, and the paediatrician was lovely. She took her time with us, explained everything, spent most of the first part of the consultation talking directly to the geekdaughter about what was happening rather than to us. She then did a thorough examination, and pronounced our daughter fit and well. She was able to reassure us that there was no evidence of the geekdaughter having had any kind of arthritis – this would manifest in stiffness or reduced movement in her joints, and the geekdaughter’s joints have plenty of movement in them. She is, in fact, very flexible, and this is likely to be what’s causing the pains in her knees overnight. The paediatrician referred to this as “hypermobility”, and she recommended that whenever the geekdaughter wakes in pain, the best treatment is heat and massage, and she is also going to refer us to a physiotherapist to see if there are some exercises we can do at home to ease her joints.
She was also very keen to stress that she can’t promise that the geekdaughter will never develop arthritis in the future, but she can guarantee she doesn’t have it now.
And the best part of the whole thing as far as the geekdaughter was concerned was that the paediatrician recommended that she take up an activity like dancing or gymnastics to keep her joints exercised – she’s been bugging me for dance lessons for weeks!
To celebrate, the three of us found the hospital playground and let the geekdaughter run around for a little while, and then we went out for lunch together before heading home.
It was a long day, but a great result, and we’re all very relieved indeed.