Family Magazine

Edwin Wins the Prize

By Sherwoods
There are certain milestones that come with parenting.  Some milestones are good ones - first smile, first piano recital, first day of school.  And then there are the other kind - first time staying up all night with a sick child, first child in the hospital, first major home damage caused by a child.  I feel like we've been really lucky in the bad milestones, especially with health.  I've been especially grateful for this while living in countries where medical care isn't always well-equipped to deal with emergencies.  
I've always known that, statistically, one of my children would eventually break a bone.  With seven children, there's no way that I could escape that milestone.  Ironically, I was the first one in the family to break a bone in 2020.  But last week, Edwin took the prize for the first child to break a bone.
After I had gotten up from my Sunday nap, Edwin came and asked if he could get some ibuprofen.  Edwin never asks for any kind of medicine, so the warning flags immediately went off.  I asked him what was wrong.  "Oh," he casually told me, "I was chasing Joseph outside and slipped on some snow and fell down.  It's fine.  It just hurts a little.  But it's not broken or anything.  Definitely not broken.  I'm fine."
I gave him the ibuprofen and grabbed his arm for inspection, not trusting the judgment of a thirteen year-old boy who doesn't like to cause problems for adults.  I moved my way down his forearm until he started wincing.  I checked for swelling, which was already noticeable.  Then I had him move his arm.  
He waved it around in the air.  "See," he showed me, "I can move it just fine.  It doesn't hurt."  I looked at him and told him to stick his arm out and rotate his hand back and forth.  "Well," he hedged, "I'd rather not.  It's kind of uncomfortable."  When I moved it for him, his face was a dead giveaway.  I called Brandon to come and give a second opinion.
"I think that Edwin broke his arm," I told Brandon, "but I know that I tend to jump to the worst possible scenario.  Could you look at it?"  Brandon inspected it and agreed that yes, he'd probably broken it.  We called the local doctor that works at the embassy and told her the story.  Yes, she sighed, it would be necessary to bring him in and check on it.  
Brandon loaded Edwin into the car and drove him up to the embassy.  Roza spent about two minutes inspecting his arm and announced, "It's probably broken."  So they headed over to the government hospital that had a functioning after-hours emergency department (private hospitals keep 9-5 hours).  
When they showed up, Brandon told me later, the emergency room was filled with children cradling various broken limbs.  Evidently the first warm weather of the spring combined with a lot of melting snow made for lots of scenarios similar to ours.  The doctor took a cursory look at Edwin's arm, announced that it was broken, and sent him over for an X-ray where they confirmed what everyone knew - Edwin had indeed broken his arm.  Ironically, his break was in almost exactly the same place that my own break was three years ago.  It wasn't as bad as mine (which wasn't too bad either), so he was quickly casted up and sent home.
Edwin has taken everything stoically and figured out how to do his life one-handed.  Thankfully spring has finally decided to stay, and he can wear flip-flops everywhere and doesn't have to get help to put on socks and shoes.  He also doesn't have to try and pull a coat over his cast.  It was good timing for breaking an arm.  
There have been some benefits for Edwin.  He has shed no tears over having to take a break in piano playing, and doesn't mind having to hand his dishwashing job off to another sibling.  Although he's still going to taekwondo three times a week, he doesn't have to do any pushups - but that won't be so great when we has to get back into condition after the cast comes off.  
As a whole, having a child with a broken arm hasn't been particularly stressful.  It helps that Edwin is old enough to figure out how to shower and dress himself and isn't inclined to whine anyway.  As a first broken bone, it's been very un-dramatic.  I'll be happy if he stays the only one with a broken bone, but I'm not holding my breath.  Statistics usually catches up to you in the end.

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