Thumbthing bad, something good.
My youngest son took a hard fall during his last soccer game, hard enough that he came out of the game holding his left hand. We got ice on it and waited until the end of the game to take him for x-rays.
The game ended, and we realized we had to pick up his older brother before we could go to the hospital.
So we did that.
Then my wife thought “hey, we don’t all have to go to the hospital.”
We drove back home, and, as we gathered up the hospital stuff (warm clothes, books to read), my wife suggested we check out the hand again.
“It’s not so bad,” my son said. He flexed it, moved it, even played catch with a small rubber ball, all with no apparent pain. The base of the thumb was still sore to the touch, but that was it.
Thinking we’d dodged a bullet, she suggested that it was just sprained and that we could skip the hospital. She even called her sister (the nurse) to double-check. She agreed. I agreed. Even the kids agreed.
The next morning, the thumb was back to hurting.
The next evening, he’d lost all movement with it.
After school the next day, we went to the orthopedist. Turns out he either “bruised his growth plate” or “fractured his thumb.” They couldn’t tell, but either way, the treatment was the same: a cast.
Why is this significant enough to make it into a DaddyTale?
Because it wasn’t just me! Unlike the strep, the appendicitis, the ear infection, the pneumonia, and countless other medical things that I got wrong, this time, I wasn’t the only one who had said “nah, you’re fine,” when he actually needed serious medical attention.
Finally, I’m in the clear.
Up until now, I was a horribly insensitive parent incapable of knowing when his children were hurting. Now, I’m the loving parent of completely inscrutable children who are simply impossible to diagnose without an actual medical degree.
Phew. What a relief.