Friday, January 3, 2014

Of Fourth of July, Tall Beds, and a Broken Arm

As I mentioned on a previous post, I was not a sickly child, nor was I very accident prone. I mean some children grow up spending many hours in the ER for some reason or another. Not me. I never went into the ER during my childhood for any personal ailment.

One reason may have been that Mom was reluctant to accept that we were hurt bad enough to warrant a trip to the ER. I guess that is where I get my “walk it off” mentality. Not that mom was insensitive to our pain. When Matt broke his arm it was obvious that something was wrong. When Rod was an infant and not eating or sleeping, again it was obvious that an ER visit was necessary.

When I got hurt, I was never that obvious.

It was the Fourth of July around 1970. We had just set of our family fireworks and we always ended the night playing with sparklers. Sparklers are a mostly innocuous firework as they simply sparkle. But once in a while the little flames dance on your arm and feel kind of tingly.

Mom or Dad would light our sparklers on the porch and we would walk down the two steps and wave our sparklers out in front of the house. That was about the extent of our fireworks. In those days families didn't buy huge packs of assorted fireworks as they do now.

So, the first phase of this story is that it happened on the night of the Fourth of July. What about that tall bed?

When I was growing up, there was a time when Matt, Rod, and I all shared the same room. To accommodate three beds, Dad built a triple-decker bed that was way cool.

Rod had the bottom bed. It was normal bed-height but underneath were two huge drawers on wheels. The wheels made it possible to pull the draws out.

These drawers were perfectly sized for all our toys and could even fit Rod when I convinced him we were playing hide and seek. He would hide in the drawer and I would forget to look for him.

The next level was my bed. It was a taller bed built on top of two chests of drawers. Each chest supported four drawers. While the first set of draws under Rod’s bed was for toys, these drawers were for clothes. The only problem was that I was a very untidy child. (Okay, I was a pig.) I never closed my drawers and I rarely got all the clothes all the way in the drawers. In fact, I rarely got my clothes off the floor. It used to really bug Matt. That made me happy.

Matt’s bed was the last level; it was at the foot of my bed and about 18 inches higher than mine. It was attached to the all at the head of the bed and on the side, but Dad hung a cool, thick chain from the rafter in the ceiling to support the bed at the foot. I mean, come on, how many beds are supported by a thick silver chain?

So we had three boys in three beds all against one wall. We were decades ahead of Ikea.

Of course, since Dad built these beds they were made of ¾ inch plywood and weighed a ton. He had built theses beds in the room so when we had out grown these living arrangements, we quickly discovered we could not get the beds out. So we had to destroy them why they were still on our room.

Well, now you have the Fourth of July and the tall bed. How do they conspire together to result in a broken arm, more specifically, my broken arm?

That night, when I went to bed, I had a dream that I still vividly remember after all these years. I dreamt that I was on the porch and Mom had handed me a lit sparkler. I headed for the two steps that lead off the porch. The next thing I knew, I as on the floor of my bedroom and my arm hurt really bad.

Evidently, I was standing up in my bed during my dream and instead of stepping off the porch stairs, I stepped off my bed. Not a problem if you are on Rod’s bed. But my bed was on the two chests of drawers and, as I mentioned, I never got the hang of closing those drawers.

So, as I stepped off the bed, my arm hit an open drawer and that is how I got a hairline fracture.

Now we have the Fourth of July, the tall bed, and the broken arm. Unfortunately, it was a hairline fracture and not a clean break. Well, maybe not unfortunate for me, but quite unfortunate for Mom. My arm did not swell and I was able to move. Mom was sure that I was fine.

Three days later, my arm still hurt. So, with great reluctance, she took me to Dr. Wood. He sent me to get x-rays and they discovered I had a hairline fracture. Poor Mom, for three days I was walking around with a broken arm and she did nothing about it.

I bring that to her attention whenever I am feeling neglected….

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