Castaway: Broken Arms and Bad Breath
By Lea Geller
Took Bennett to Seattle Children’s this morning for an x-ray to check the progress of his arm. We were supposed to go in last week, but we got snowed in and had to miss our appointment. Turns out that the fractures have “fallen,” which isn’t unusual. I couldn’t really tell you what that means, nor could I tell you what the hell the doctor was really talking about when she proceeded to draw for me what Bennett’s arm looked like two weeks ago, what it looks like now, and what it should look like in a month. She showed me his x-rays and then showed me some other broken arm x-rays for comparison.
Apparently she’s writing a book on fractures and was so excited about it she had to show me some of her cool photos. Yeah. Frankly, I might as well have been looking at chicken neck x-rays because I couldn’t make out what she was going on about, and I couldn’t see any of the fractures she was pointing to. (Reminded me of all those pregnancy ultrasounds. I never knew what I was looking at, and it all looked rather terrifying to me. M would ooh and ahh with the technician and I'd be praying for the whole thing to be over so I could snarf my fifth sandwich of the day, and wash it down with a milkshake.)
So, they needed to re-cast Bennett and then move his bones back into place. The recasting was fortunate because in one of my less inspired moments I signed his cast, right above his knuckles, in giant letters: I LOVE YOU, MUMMY. Yup. I sent my nine year old boy out into the world with that and no amount of sharpie pen could really cover it up.
The scariest part: It didn’t even occur to me that was I was doing was in any way strange. Who would want to hide from mother love? Certainly not a nine-year-old boy. Certainly not a nine-year-old boy who already spends the better part of an hour doing his hair before school. Anyway, that cast is now history. Actually, we have it. And because it’s L-shaped, he wants to make it into a periscope. Go nuts, I say.
Here’s his new cast:
The really rough part came when the nurse had to move around some bones in his arm, to get them into the position they need to be in. Bennett, never one for the subtlety of stoicism, screamed like a newborn. Actually, there was an adorable little newborn in the room getting casts for club feet, and he was making less noise. I tried to point this out to Bennett, but it didn’t seem to have an effect at all. It got even worse when the doctors gave him Tylenol to swallow — in pill form – because he’s so big now that to get enough of the children’s syrup he’d have to chug half a bottle. Bennett, who prefers to make a big fuss about taking medicine, at first refused to take the pills, and then insisted on chewing them before swallowing them. Note: they were not chewables. So, now he’s gagging from the awful taste, and trying to swallow the whole mess. It was all quite pretty I assure you.
Eventually we left. With instructions to return next week for another x-ray. In the car on the way back to school, where, thanks to his latest episodes and a bevvy of snow days, he is spending less and less time, he says: “You know, it really did hurt.”
“I know,” I reply.
“Then why did you say that you’d feel sorry for me if I didn’t make the same noise every time you try to take off a band-aid?”
Crap? Did I really say that? When he was writhing in pain? I think I did. And I know for sure that he’ll remember that forever, in that strange way kids have of remembering all the shitty things we do.
But in my defense, I was quite peeved at the moment. I’d just leaned in to talk to him, gotten a whiff of his breath (which smelled like something had crawled into his mouth, died, and was rapidly decaying), and sussed out that he hadn’t brushed his teeth this morning. Again. After I’d made such a big stink about his repeated failure to brush. How much sympathy was I really expected to muster?
Before we got to school we swung by a cafe for some cocoa, and then hit the drug store… where I bought a toothbrush and some paste. I may not be perfect, but damn it, that boy will not go out into the world with bad breath. Not on my watch.
About Lea Geller
I’m a part-time lawyer, full time mother of five (ages nine and down)… currently in sunny Seattle. People ask how I manage it all, and I like to say that I do lots of things, but none of them very well. That’s my secret…. In a house of seven strong, distinct personalities, I always seem to have a story to tell. I suppose I got tired of people telling me, ‘You have to write this down!” So, I finally did, and blogging about our large mishaps, small triumphs, and other adventures, has helped hold my sanity together, albeit loosely.