The weather was unexpectedly nice on Sunday, so Namine and I took the opportunity to go to the park. We planned on walking (for Namine this meant in her wheelchair), playing for a while, then when we arrived back home she was going to ride her bike.
“I know!” Namine said once we left the apartment. “I could ride my bike to the park!”
I said that sounded like a fine idea. She’d never done it before, but when would that have stopped her?
There are two parks that we play at, when the weather permits us. The closer is just across the street, but it’s small. The other park is farther away (a round trip is about three quarters of a mile), but its playground is much larger.
Namine did not ask for much help, and even then only when some of the hills were too much for her to pedal up by herself.
When we got to the park, Namine asked me to carry her across the wood chips to the playground. “Last time I scooted across I got a woodchuck in my hand,” she told me. The word she was looking for, I explained, was “wood chip.” She knew what she meant.
The other kids were, for the most part, considerate of Namine. She climbed up to the top all by herself, but she wanted me to ride down the slide with her on my lap. This inspired bravery in Namine, who normally is not at all comfortable with going down the slide by herself.
After she climbed up to the top of the playground the second time, Namine decided she would go down by herself. I waited at the bottom. When she was about halfway down the tube slide (which, being opaque, did not allow me to see her), I heard her skid to a stop. Then I heard her crying.
At first I thought she was crying in fear, but as I climbed inside the tube and made my way to her, her cries turned to screams of pain. I didn’t want to pull her out without knowing what was wrong. She was in too much pain to talk, but she was coherent enough to answer questions. After a brief question and answer, I found out that her left leg, near the ankle, was hurt. I gently pulled her out and carried her over to a bench.
Namine calmed down after a short while, and explained to me what happened. She hadn’t been comfortable with going down the slide sitting up, so she laid down on her stomach and went down feet first. The slide was sectioned, and her left foot hit and caught on one of the section lips. The rest, as they say, was history.
When she was ready, we went back home. When we got back, I picked Namine up and put her back into her wheelchair. When she climbed down to the floor, though, she found that her left leg hurt too much to put any weight on it. Jessica called ahead to the Urgent Care, only to find that there was a two hour wait. I asked Namine, based on how much her leg hurt, if she wanted to go immediately or wait until tomorrow. She said she was fine waiting until tomorrow.
Since Namine wasn’t really complaining about her leg, we let her rest and just recline in her chair for the remainder of the evening. She scooted around when it came time to get her ready for bed, so we figured it wasn’t anything more than a sprain.
About quarter to midnight, Namine woke up crying from the pain in her leg. Jessica is still getting over the flu, so I bundled Namine up and we left for the ER.
As far as ER visits go, we were in and out in fairly short order — just a couple hours. Namine was very cheery and talkative to all the nurses and doctors who asked the same questions over and over again, and she never seemed to mind telling them how she hurt her leg.
During the x-rays, too, Namine never complained. She had to switch between laying on her back and rolling to each side for a total of three pictures, but she didn’t mind. “I’m used to this,” she told the radiology tech. The tech gave me a pitying look, but I just shrugged. This is our life, I thought. Whatever you think of it, this is normal for us.
When the doctor came in, he said he had good news and bad news. Namine’s response was immediate. “What’s the bad news?”
“The bad news is that you did break your leg. The good news is that it’s a very small break, not even all the way through the bone.”
The doctor wrapped Namine’s leg in a splint to keep it stable, and we were sent on our way with instructions to follow up with her orthopedic surgeon, which we did the following day. When he saw the x-rays and Namine’s leg, he was relatively pleased. His words were quite similar to the ER doctor’s: “If you’re going to break your leg, that’s the kind of break to have.” The break is so minor, in fact, that Namine is still allowed full movement and weight bearing, as much as is comfortable. (This means she can continue with physical therapy and dance class.)
The orthopedic nurse removed the splint and gave Namine’s leg a proper casting. It goes from her foot to about halfway up her calf, allowing her as much freedom while keeping the break stabilized.