When I was in fifth grade, I tripped on an uneven part of the sidewalk while playing hide and seek at a slumber party, falling hard on the concrete. I hurt my arm, but it was rumored that the girl hosting the party had a ouija board, and nothing was going to keep me from possibly communicating with the afterworld.
The next morning I had a basketball game. I played, and I fell again on the same arm.
Before you go thinking I’m some sort of uncoordinated klutz, which I’m really not, let me explain. I’m not a klutz, but I am a spaz, and a competitive spaz at that. So when I was running and fell at the slumber party, I was most likely heading full-throttle for base, and when I was running and fell during the basketball game, it was probable that I was in hot pursuit of a steal.
The next day, a Sunday, I remember sitting at my desk and leaning sideways to reach something at the far end of my desk and-surprise!-I fell again, off my chair and square on the same arm.
After each of the aforementioned falls, my mom requested that my dad, an orthopedist-that’s a bone doctor, in case you’re unclear, one who fixes bones-have a look at my arm. And each time after some light manipulation, a pinch here, a twist there, he’d declare that “She’s fine.”
So on Monday morning when I was still complaining, Mom marched me up to Dad’s office, insisting on an x-ray. He obliged, of course, and minutes later was casting my arm to repair my broken ulna.
I love this story. It’s a classic in our family, and for anyone who has a doctor as a parent, it’s perfectly indicative of the kind of care we often receive-you know, it’s the whole “cobbler’s kids having no shoes” bit. Don’t get me wrong; my dad is an excellent surgeon, loved and revered by all of his patients-and his kids and our friends and basically everyone he’s ever met. He sewed my brother’s chin up on the fly after a run-in with an electrical plug (what?) in the dim light of a Motel Six somewhere in Virginia because Cameron had a wrestling tournament the next morning and lord knows they didn’t want to go to the emergency room. He sawed a cast off my leg and Jay’s leg in our kitchen when we were in ninth grade, has splinted my middle finger when I broke it playing softball, popped my brother’s shoulder back into place when he dislocated it playing football. So it’s not like we were completely neglected.
I called Dad yesterday to share a little tale with him, a story I thought he’d enjoy. It started like this: “So last Thursday, The Little Prince was playing on the playground and fell on his arm……he complained but after some light manipulation, a pinch here, a twist there, we determined he was fine. A week later at church while having dinner with our friend, Scott, who’s an orthopedist, Jay casually mentioned it, Scott looked at the Little Prince’s arm, and the next morning Jay took LP to Scott’s office…”
Dad laughed, knowing I was going to reference the aforementioned tale of my arm being broken for THREE DAYS before his actually conceding to an x-ray. And I did bring it up, of course, and then had to admit that we had waited A WEEK before doing anything about this poor little guy’s arm. The fact that I didn’t even think to have my dad look at the Little Prince’s arm indicates extreme negligence on my part, thus proving the eternal wisdom of one Justin Timberlake…What goes around comes around.
As you can see, the Little Prince is far from traumatized, and is clearly pleased with this turn of events. Since it was just a tiny fracture, he only has to have the cast on for three weeks. Let’s hope he is still feeling this chipper in a few days. If he keeps hearing the Eldest say things like “I wish I had a cast…” like he said yesterday and #3 saying “Let me see your cast! Let me see your cast!”, no doubt he’ll stay positive!