I had been with him. Short was merrily running down the sidewalk with me following along just five feet behind him, like we do every day of our lives. He tripped on something (a branch? a bump in the cement? his own two feet? nothing?) and then next thing you know, he was crumpled on the ground, gripping his shoulder in pain.
I'd heard the bone break. (It's a chilling sound, it haunts me even now—a decisive "snap.") Time stood still while I prayed that Short's face would not be covered in blood. There was no blood, not a drop. I scooped up my wailing child and carried him two blocks home. We made a frantic call to a neighbor so we could drop off Tall, then The Husband and I drove Short to the ER.
“Well, hello, MOV, back so soon?” greeted the girl at the check-in desk.“Hi, Denise, nice to see you again,” I nodded at her.
A nurse brought us back to a small exam room where we waited for the doctor. Short lay his head on my lap and whimpered. After what seemed like four hours but was most likely 20 minutes, he came in.“MOV, how’ve you been? Which kid do you have with you today?” the doctor asked. “Oh, and did you remember to bring your frequent patient card with you this time? You know the 10th visit is free.”
I handed him my keychain, where I had wedged the frequent patient card through the loop next to my car key. “I never leave home without it,” I forced a laugh.Short sat up. “Am I going to get a cast?” he inquired.
“Let’s just take a look at what we’ve got here.” Next, a technician took Short into the x-ray room. A few minutes later, the doctor and I were looking at the x-rays on the light screen.“See that? That’s the break. We’ll put him in a sling and he’ll be good as new in six weeks.”
Six weeks? The bone could repair itself in just six weeks? There was to be no cast, no surgery … just Children’s Tylenol, rest, and a sling. The doctor gently touched Short's shoulder as he adjusted the small sling across his chest; Short cried out unexpectedly, his loud scream piercing through the hospital chaos.It’s a good thing they didn’t x-ray my heart at that moment: there’s an irreparable fracture from me being helpless while witnessing my child endure such pain.