Just like peas and carrots

Kids and emergency rooms just seem to go together. All this hoopla over The Mysterious Ankle Injury of Captain Oblivious and the impending trip to the orthopedic folks has brought up flashbacks of horrendous emergency room episodes over the years:

  • the time K, about 5 years old, picked up the grill bars with her bare hands just after the fire was put out;
  • the time when B, 12, got her hand slammed in the closing car door; or fell down a hill to embed a piece of glass in her leg (that year the ER people started knowing her by name when we walked in–bad sign);
  • the night K, also about 5 (that was a bad year, too), jumped off a bed onto the handle of a Fisher-Price wheelbarrow that landed in her privates –try explaining how she got cut THERE to a suspicious doctor…
  • the day I was covering a local election for my newspaper, and I had very young M with me, who decided it would be fun to dash out into the street as a car passed by while her mother was speaking to a candidate. My police officer ex was there to retrieve her from under the car’s bumper, bundled us both, tears streaming, into the car, and drove us to the ER. He walked in carrying the child, announced, “The child needs a CT scan, the mother needs a Valium,” and kept walking. She didn’t even have a bruise-I got a thousand gray hairs.

But the best of all has to be the phone call in the middle of the night during B’s teen years. She was staying in another state with her dad for his custodial time, and I was just climbing into bed when the phone rang.

“Hello?” I said.

“This is the emergency room at Akron Children’s Hospital. Please stand by for the orthopedic surgeon.”


Say what?

I found a chair, quick, and sat down, while they searched out the doctor, wondering what in the hell had happened. Come to find out that dear daughter B had been staying at a friend’s house, playing on her trampoline, and had jumped off into a wall. One of the bones in her left forearm had broken, badly, and they needed permission to treat her.

Okay. The next obvious question becomes, “Um…where is her father?”

Turns out he’s out of town! Can’t be reached. So they’re calling me. Wonderful. I give them verbal permission to treat and then make arrangements to go over the next day, after I find someone to watch the other kids. B has surgery to put in a metal plate to bind the broken ends together again, her dad comes home, too, and all goes well. In fact, she figures out that if she twists her arm just right, the metal plate will poke up under the skin and look all manner of disgusting, and she uses this to gross people out for years. I think she still does.

Come to think of it, K had a trampoline accident too–discombobulated her shoulder when someone fell off a trampoline onto her. Three months of physical therapy there.

Trampolines are evil things. (I say this, confessing that I’m thinking about getting one–with a fence around it!!–because Little Miss would really benefit from the sensory effects.) But they’re still evil.

And think how exciting it would be to have a trampoline, when C.O. can break his ankle just walking across flat ground. Oh well.

But over all, in the eight years they’ve been here, this is the first broken bone or other major trauma among the three little ones. Little Miss goes for an occasional F.U.O.–fever of unknown origin, since she can’t really explain how she feels, and Ditto Boy cut his knee up badly at a flea market one day, but that’s about it. Lots of other families have a worse record. Guess I’ll go cheerfully to the orthopedic office…and start investing in crutches.

UPDATE: Good news: C.O. has a cast now, because it’s fractured, but he only has to use the crutches through today and then he can walk on it.

Bad news: C.O. has a cast now, because it’s fractured, but he only has to use the crutches through today and then he can walk on it.

Remember how Aspies don’t deal well with sudden changes or different routines? Oy.


Bad parents! No soup for you!

So the long-suffering Cabana Boy and myself conceived it would be a great idea to steal a date night for the two of us. What were we thinking?

We left the children with my daughter, who has five kids of her own, knowing they were in good hands, and headed to Erie–I know, not the fancy metropolis of fabulous entertainment, but we have pretty low standards. An hour, undisturbed by little voices at Barnes and Noble? Heaven. A meal at the Olive Garden, without constant nagging about table manners, courtesy of a friend who gave me a couple of gift cards? Nirvana. Telephone call from daughter indicating Captain Oblivious had broken his ankle?


Not exactly.

So we checked out at Target without buying the 32-inch LCD tv we were drooling over (probably a good thing, actually) and headed home. My daughter had said they thought it was sprained, till it swelled up and turned purple (ouch), so they called our mutual pediatrician. He said it was a three to five hour wait at the emergency room this evening, and they wouldn’t cast the thing till tomorrow anyway till it quit swelling, so not to bother going. So they kept up the ice on 20 minutes, off 20 minutes routine till he fell asleep shortly after we got home.

It doesn’t look nearly as bad as I’d pictured it–you know, it had been described as somewhat indigo-colored and size of a football. Not really. It’s a little puffy and maybe a bruise toward the heel. He won’t walk on it; but then C.O. is the kind of Aspie kid that when he makes up his mind about something, that’s what he does, no matter what the facts. We’ll probably take the run to the ER tomorrow, just to be sure, and keep our fingers crossed.

I can’t help but feel guilty, though. We haven’t had a night out like this in a couple months. Because all the extended family lives away, we don’t get weekends off or have family in town who routinely take the children. My daughter has her five, who range in age from 15 years to 8 months–I hardly ever ask her, she’s got her hands full! But it had just reached the point where it felt like there was a canyon between my husband and I, and we had to do something. So we rolled the dice, and got snake eyes. I’m sorry we weren’t here, son. I suppose we’ll think long and hard before leaving them again.

As Lionel Kauffman said: “Children are a great comfort in your old age – and they help you reach it faster, too.”

After a three hour trip to the ER, turns out it’s “probably” a bad sprain but no one is sure, and if there IS a fracture, as the paperwork says, it’s on the growth plate. So we have to go see the orthopedist tomorrow. Sometime. And C.O. gets at least two days off school during my busy week. Bad BAD parents…. *sigh*