Do you ever have those moments when you feel you are the worst mother in the world? You know, like when you are trying to help your three year old squish the play-doh out of the play-doh extractor thinging. As you are using all your strength to push on the lever, you are thinking, "How do they expect kids to use this stupid toy?" Then your son screams and you realize that you've been using all your strength to squish his finger? Yeah, that's the kind of mom I am.
I asked Monkey if he could give me a thumbs up, and he excitedly pointed his index finger. I helped him form his right hand into a thumbs up, and then he tried his left hand. We formed a thumbs up with his left hand, and I noticed that his thumb was bent, not straight and extended. Then I noticed that he couldn't straighten it. I couldn't straighten it, it was locked into posistion.
"There is something wrong with Monkey's thumb." I say to my husband. "It won't straighten. Did he hurt it?" I asked, as my mind raced through all the bumps and bruises and falls and scrapes and squashing. I couldn't think of anything!
"How long has it been this way?" I wonder out loud.
"How could I not notice that his thumb won't straighten?" I say to myself, accusingly.
A quick Google search, and I had diagnosed my son with Pediatric Trigger Thumb.
I began to feel more guilty as I read more webpages. "Mean onset is 24 months." I read. "Two years old?" I thought, "Has it been this way for a YEAR?"
My husband tried to reassure me, but my mom guilt just continued to grow. "It has four stages!" I told him. "When it progress to the "locked" or final stage, it requires SURGERY!" I told him.
And he tried to reassure me, "It doesn't seem to bother him -- why would you notice it?"
We made an appointment with the pediatrician for later that afternoon. Knowing that the first thing she would ask was, "How long has it been this way?" (and trying to ease my guilt) I set out to search through 50 gigabytes of pictures, looking for evidence of a straight thumb. I started to regret all those times I said, "Put your hands down, I can't see your face!"
Unfortunately, I never found solid photographic evidence of a straight thumb, but I did find this picture from Easter 2010 (a YEAR ago!). Notice his left thumb, how it's bent? And how his right thumb is all extended?
And this one, from November -- see how he is holding the cup with the tip of his left thumb? Pretty sure I won't be winning the mother of the year award any time soon.
We visited with the pediatrician about Monkey's thumb. (Moose was sure we were there because he had a scratch on his elbow -- "This is my elbow, NOT my thumb!" he told the doctor.) Right away she confirmed my suspicions, she said, "I think this is trigger thumb, I'm going to refer you to a hand specialist -- while he could live his whole life with a bent thumb, it will probably need surgery to correct it." We talked about different specialists, and she referred us to one that she had worked with before.
"I see about one of these a year," she said. "and the parents always say, 'I have no idea how long it's been this way.'" At least she eased some of my mom guilt.
Since then, I'm paying more attention to Monkey's little hands. He still uses his left hand, but he often keeps his thumb tucked, protected in a closed fist. Last night, for the first time ever, he told me that it hurt.
While I don't feel guilty anymore that I hadn't noticed it before, my heart is still breaking at the thought that he has been in pain all this time. And that he is in pain now, and that he probably has to go through surgery.
We have an appointment with the orthopedic surgeon on Monday, and I'm anxious to see what he says.