an ordinary break

It was a rainy afternoon. All the kids were at a rollerblading party, so I decided to get an early shower and settle in for a cozy evening. But just as I was stepping out the bathroom, we got a phone call. Our younger son had taken a spill, and our older son thought his arm might be broken. And on the one-year anniversary weekend of my older son’s bike wreck, too, you have got to be freaking kidding me.

On the drive in to town, my husband and I discussed the chances that it was actually broken. “It’s probably just a sprain,” my husband said.

“Nope, I think it’s a break,” I said. “They said he cried for a while, and he doesn’t cry unless it’s bad.”

When we met up with the kids, I took one look at the arm, noticed it had a slightly wavy appearance, and was like, “Yep, we’re going to the hospital.”

In X-ray, I could see the pictures as they popped up on the computer screen. I stared at the first one for a bit, admiring the clarity and detail, the perfectly intact bones in the hand. And then I noticed that one of the long arm bones had a smooshed spot, like two, jammed-together Oreos (if Oreos were shaped like pretzel rods) with the icing squishing out.

How interesting, I thought, and to the technician I said, “That’s a break, isn’t it? Am I seeing that correctly?” And when she didn’t say anything, I said, “Oh, riiiight. You can’t say anything, can you.”

“Yeah,” she said, grinning. “But you know what you’re looking at.”

After that a physician’s assistant splinted the arm, fixed us up with Codeine-laced Tylenol (which we only used once), and sent us on our merry way. We’ll get the real cast later this week once the swelling goes down.

Broken-arm boy has taken everything in stride. I’ve noticed he’s sleeping more than usual, but he’s cheery as can be and absolutely thrilled about getting out of washing dishes for the next few weeks. For all his spastic high-energy, he often reads for hours on end so I don’t think this little blip will bother him too much.

You know, in seventeen years of parenting, this is our first ordinary break. In a way, it kind of feels like a rite of passage. Like I’m finally a real parent or something.

This same time, years previous: thank you for holding us, taking off, Jessica, mango banana helados, beware the bedsheets, drama trauma, the perils of homemade chicken broth, rambles, shoofly pie.


  • dr perfection

    My littlegirlself is sooooo jealous. I WANTED to break my arm because I wanted a cast that people could sign. So when I fell off a collapsing cardboard box, I insisted that my arm WAS broken, refused to use it, and my mother took me to an ER. After being told it was not fractured, I immediately started to use it and my mother was sooooo mad at me!

  • Athanasia

    I wonder if it's a buckle fracture. One of my daughters had that in grade school after falling off playground equipment. They said the bone crinkled instead of breaking. She was about 7.

    Let him know that he can still dry the dishes 🙂

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