The Clavicle That Ate My Breakfast

So, Saturday (the first day of buses being back on the roads after 59 days of shock and awe strike and repairs) started out well enough. It was overcast, but mild and the buses started rolling just after 7:00 am.  The sight of freedom.

The child and I both had huge, bus-related plans for the day. I was going off to meet Robin, Stella, Zoom-and-the-GC for a breakfast we’d been trying to organize for months while the child was off to her regular Saturday figure-skating lessons.

We were going to hook up later to do some shopping we’d been putting off for months and maybe check out some Winterlude activities.

We both left the house just before 11:00.

The bus ride was uneventful; quiet, subdued. None of the spitting, cursing and physical violence drivers had been trained how to deal with at Friday’s “Coping with Nasty Passengers” session.

I arrived at the appointed breakfast spot which was just opening.

Then my cell phone rang.

This is never good. No one calls my cell phone except the daughter and she only calls when something is wrong. Usually she just texts to say “hi” or “what’s for supper” or “I got 51% on my history quiz” (to give me a chance to cool down before she sees me later…. I raise no fools)

 “Hello?” I said, heart in throat.

“Hi!” a chirpy voice answers. “Is this XUP Jr.’s mom?”

Okay. Now, as bad as a cell phone call from the daughter is, a cell phone call or any other call from someone else asking if I am the daughter’s mother is a thousand times worse.

I stop breathing.

“Yes,” I say, brain synapses bursting; heart pounding; hands clenched; teeth (including the new crown) grinding.

“Oh, hi! This is Cathy, XUP Jr.’s skating coach? She’s had a fall and I think it’s pretty serious. We’re in the ambulance right now on the way to CHEO[1] and I’m wondering if you could meet us there.”

Ticktickticktickticktickticktickticktickticktickticktickticktickticktickticktick (That’s me quietly, yet methodically freaking out.)

Cardiac arrest from still not breathing.

“What? Happened? What?”  I manage to ask through clenched jaws and still without breathing. (I’m a biological phenomena, I really am.)

“She seems okay. She’s conscious. No concussion or anything but I think she hurt her shoulder.”

Okay. Okay.  People sometimes survive shoulder injuries, right? Of course they do. Almost always. You don’t need your shoulders for much except shrugging and we’re not planning to emigrate to France anytime soon. So, okay…

“I’ll get there as soon as I can. Thank you.”

How do I get to the hospital now?

The idea of flagging down a cab in the streets in Ottawa is absurd. So, I call for one.

It’ll be 20 minutes they tell me. TWENTY MINUTES? I start breathing again. (Being pissed off requires oxygen)

I hate this city.

Fortunately, just then, the whole gang starts to arrived from various directions.

I said, “Hi! Gotta go. Waiting for a cab.”

The GC, being every bit as gallant and wonderful as Zoom makes him out to be, immediately offered to drive me to CHEO in his fabulous GC-mobile. I hesitate. I didn’t want him to miss the long-awaited breakfast, too, but I was desperate. So off we went.

Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. (And I understand the GC made it back in time to enjoy a hearty breakfast. Phew!)

Anyway, he drops me at the hospital pdq. The daughter is on a stretcher with paramedics hovering over her. She looks not too bad. We chat. I do all the paperwork. We get x-rays. We sit and wait.

Two and a half hours later, the verdict is:  broken collar bone, nothing we can do, go home and let it heal.   Big relief. And, the 2 ½ hours is a minor miracle  and one which will be discussed by Ottawans for years to come. A far cry from the 7 ½ hours it took last year when she broke the growth plate in her hip.

Needless to say, no more figure skating.  Finito. At least for the foreseeable future.

She has  been asking to start learning guitar. That seems safe enough — until the strings snap and take out her eyes. But we’ll cross that bridge when we get to it.

One other thing, though. While we were sitting there waiting, the daughter beside me whimpering in pain, me stroking her good shoulder, a little busy spot in the back of my head was totally ignoring her and was instead bavarian-barbariancomposing this blog post.

I’m such a heartless barvarian.


[1] Children’s Hospital of Eastern Ontario


50 responses to “The Clavicle That Ate My Breakfast

  1. I’m sorry your day didn’t turn out as you planned but I’m glad her injury wasn’t any more serious than it was. Hope she heals quickly!

  2. Gosh I never thought of cell phones and bad news. Mine is only on when I am driving alone! My nightmare are the 1:00 a.m. phone calls with news….two in my life that took literally years to get over….

  3. Wow, is your daughter accident-prone? In that case, re-consider the guitar… Hm, what would be a good past-time? Is there a hobby consisting of throwing soft stuff at the wall?

    Glad she is okay… too bad she now can’t do the heavy lifting around the house that you usually sentence her to! (I am guessing here. It’s what I would do if I had kids… free slavery!)

  4. ah jesus. poor girl. that IS painful. my friend growing up told me so. what a pain in the butt that is and such a horrible start to the joys of the bus strike being over…

    jeesh. missed breakie and all.

  5. Debra – The whole combination of ice, sharp blades and a less-than-graceful child terrifies me every time she goes to skating. And as she’s been progressing of course the jumps and loops and spins get more and more challenging and require a greater and greater sense of balance and she’s really not built for that. As you say it could have been worse. It’s the head injury I always really fear.

    Kathryn – I only have my cell phone for emergencies really. My daughter uses hers only to text because kids don’t speak directly to each other anymore, so I know when the cell phone rings it’s either her with some news (sometimes it’s good news, too), a wrong number, or something like this.

    Gila – People with wider hips and thighs and shortish legs whose lower body is heavier than their upper body have a good centre of gravity and therefore balance. They are good for sports like skating and skiing. My daughter (and I) are completely the opposite. Most of our weight is in our upper bodies with long thin legs and very narrow hips. So we fall over easily when attempting crazy stuff like skating and skiing. In figure skating they don’t even wear a helmet because it throws their balance off, so you can imagine how difficult it is to remain upright when your upper body outweighs your lower body. Sure we can walk and run and play lots of other sports, but anything that requires a great deal of balance, is not good. She really loves skating though so I’ve let her go and she’s made amazing progress, but I think this might be the end of the road as far as anything competitive goes. She can still skate for fun, right? And – are you saying the guitar is dangerous, too?

    Raino – I know. The breakfast thing was a real bummer. The kid’s in pain, but it hasn’t prevented her from hanging out with her friends all day yesterday. It just prevents her from doing dishes and cleaning up stuff and other small chores. She did say she complained all day while she was out with her friends, though.

    Nat – My hair’s gone grey!!! Oh wait, it was before, right? I age every time she goes to that arena, waiting for the call that says she cracked her head open or got a skate blade across a femoral artery or something. (See my comment to Gila)

  6. Well the guitar can give you some nasty finger blisters and just think of the kind of guys that guitar playing will attract.
    Heavy gloves, a helmet, full face visor and maybe steel toed shoes and she should be ok for any but the weirdest guitar injuries, and I think there is a gnome somewhere in government working on these regs as we speak, but as for the ype of guys maybe pushing for accordion lessons might help there.

  7. Curiously last time I was in Ottawa I had no problem flagging down cabs – however that one time that I reached in and threw the passengers out while they were waiting at the stop light…….

    On the topic of guitars- I recommend that you watch “Harvey Birdman Attorney at Law” – an Episode called “The Right to bear Guitars” before you purchase her one. It outlines the risks associated with guitar ownership. I own two myself and keep them locked up in case someone breaks in. Wouldn’t want such hazardous things floating around in the streets.

  8. Poor little peanut. My niece broke her clavicle last year, and had to wear some kind of torture-devise splint that went over her head and shoulder. But she’s *fine* now! As your girl will be.

  9. Ouch! Is she in a crazy brace or anything? Does not sound like it. You know, if she went further into figure skating competitively, she may have succumbed to some random beating prompted by jealousy, so it is probably for the best that she move on.

  10. Yipes… that would have freaked me out too… I guess this is why my wife always cringes whenever I do something stupid and relatively reckless with the kids (relatively reckless meaning something as little as looking over a well fenced cliff…). She just sees all the things that could go wrong.
    I don’t think about that stuff – but getting a call like that would certainly make my heart stop. And not being able to quickly get to them would have killed me…
    Hope she’s doing better, and if you’re afraid of the guitar string breaking and taking out an eye – better stay away from the bass guitar. They don’t often break – but when they do – they put holes in walls…

  11. See this is why I enjoy you so much… once the worst is over, and you’re breathing again, it’s all about the blog post… Glad she’s ok… for all involved you don’t think it might be better for all if she took up Macramé?

  12. Bandobras – She won’t wear the protective gear anymore. I have an entire suit of armour (made of soft plastic with a hard outer shell, of course). She says it messes up her “style”. Like, whatever!!! How much style will she have when she has to have all her limbs amputated and her brain is jello, I’d like to know.

    Lynn – I know. I start thinking… if this can happen to her, what else can happen to her? ANYTHING!! Literally, anything. Why would anyone in their right mind become a parent? So much heart-stopping anxiety.

    Sky Girl – I have to hand it to you, I couldn’t bring myself to do this all over again. Every stage of the way there are dangers; things to freak out about. It never, ever stops. There should be some guarantee that nothing will happen to them ever.

    Lebowski – So are you saying you actually flagged down a cab in Ottawa? Without having to toss the passenger out? And thanks for the guitar warnings. I never knew.

    Ellie – Ya, they seem to have done away with those harness/splint things. My sister broke her clavicle twice and had to wear that contraption both times. For my daughter they just sent us on our way and said she could wear a sling if it felt better and try not to fall on it for the next month or so.

    Dr. Monkey – I know. I terrifies me every time she goes to the rink. They don’t wear helmets because it “ throws off their balance”. It’s ice. It’s hard AND slippery. And there are sharp, sharp blades involved. There isn’t a figure skater alive who hasn’t broken, twisted, cracked, snapped, twisted or destroyed several bones, tendons, muscles, ligaments and/or skulls. It’s certainly nothing I’ve gone out of my way to encourage. But she loves it a lot. Maybe not so much now. Fingers crossed (while we can still cross them)

    Missy – No! As I said to Ellie, they’ve stopped doing the brace thing, I guess. They just sent us away with some Tylenol. And you’re so right – competitive figure skating is brutal physically and psychologically. I hope she’s lost her enthusiasm for it now, though that’s awful to say. It always frightens me when she’s out there leaping around on slippery ice with what are essentially sharp knives tied to her feet.

    Ian – I used to see that on playgrounds when my daughter was younger. The Dads let (and encouraged) their kids to do all sorts of insane things. The moms hovered and yelled “look out”, “be careful”, “don’t do that”. And thanks for the head up on the bass guitar. I’m crossing it off the list now.

    GC – It’s fabulous because it got me to where I needed to be very efficiently. It was like the batmobile careening single-mindedly toward its goal. If it had flaws, I didn’t notice them. I’m very glad you got a good breakfast after all that.

    Kitty – Macrame, eh? What if the rope gets tangled around her neck or something? And what if people beat her up for being a non-relevant hippy with her stupid macramé? And yes, everything in life starts to become evaluated on the basis of its blog potential. Is that healthy?

  13. I feel your pain, which might be worse than Daughter’s pain, although I broke my clavicle (collarbone) in high school playing floor hockey, and it hurts like hell. My then-best friend dished out the check that did the damage. His mother freaked, as if he planned it, and made him be my slave for a month, which I naturally took advantage of. He tied my shoes as if I was a tard and carried my books as if we were going steady.

    My parentesque experiences with injury and illness came with Little Bro Dan, and I was with him each time.
    First, when he was 12, we were visiting Ottawa and he got sick — fever, chills, nausea, etc. I finally took him to an urgent care clinic. The first thing the doctor told me after examining Dano was “Well, at least it’s not meningitis”. That was the year the province vaccinated ALL 12-year-olds against meningitis. I had an instant vision of calling his Mom and saying “Um, Theresa, it’s Bob. Dan has meningitis…”

    He broke his collarbone twice while playing hockey. The first time, the doctor miscalculated and gave him too much morphine. So I had to sit with him for 45 minutes while he slept it off, checking frequently to make sure he was breathing. I did call Theresa that time and told her what happened, and why we’d be late. AND the doc told us that the collarbone is useless, providing no structural advantage or anything. You could live without it, the same as tonsils and appendix.

    So trade hugs with Daughter on my behalf, but be careful: her shoulder hurts like hell.

  14. If she got all her limbs amputated she coudn’t do anything.
    If her brain was turned to jello she couldn’t have any creative or problem solving thoughts.
    Oh well she could still have abright career as a politician.

  15. Well that was scary. You start off talking about the buses starting up and I was afraid she was hit by a bus! My daughter’s boyfriend broke his clavicle skating last year and she said he became a couch-sitting whiney pain in the butt, but it was only for a few weeks and then he was back to his normal self, whatever that is. Barvaraian? Bavarian? Barbarian? Whut?

  16. OK, um, finger painting?! I’m sure they have some that are ok if injested…

    And EVERYTHING is blogable… HELLO!? I once bloged about passing gas and tripping out smoke detector… really once you reach that level… EVERYTHING is blagable.



  17. Oh man, I hate when that happens. Of course with my daughter it’s never an injury. It’s always the cow in the front office of the school calling to gleefully tattle and list off the rules my little angel has broken now.

  18. CP – True, true – all the excitement was over and we were just biding our time waiting for the verdict. Could I help it if part of my mind wandered off?

    Bob – Gee – this woman kept sending her son to you even though he kept getting sick and injured? You’re a good step-in Dad. Better than some real Dads. The daughter has left me in no doubt whatsoever that her collar bone hurts like hell ALL THE TIME. I’ll just pat her on the head in sympathy.

    Bandobras – Or as a public servant.

    Geewits – A few weeks, eh? I was hoping it would start to feel better a lot sooner than that. Skating is damn dangerous. It’s bad enough if you’re just going in a straight line or around in circles – add leaps and twirls to that and I don’t know how the kid’s survived this long. I tell ya, I’m nervous every time she gets on the ice. Every week, 8 months of the year since she was 5. I kept trying to suggest less dangerous sports, but she’s crazy about this. Perhaps not so much anymore?? Please? (Barbarian – just playing around with the word since I’m also a little Bavarian)

    Kitty – Very true. You’ve set the bar impossibly low. The rest of us can only hope to crawl down far enough to squeeze under it.

    Charlene – I’ve had a few of those myself and it’s always a surprise because she’s a “butter-won’t –melt-in-her-mouth” kind of kid most of the time (in public). There are way too many rules in schools these days in an effort to turn everyone into little robotic clones of each other. No room for imagination, creativity, individuality or self expression anymore. If you don’t fit the mold you need to be drugged or sent somewhere for therapy of some sort. Don’t let them steal your angel’s spirit.

  19. Ooh, scary. Glad your daughter is (pretty much) okay. Oh, and “You don’t need your shoulders for much except shrugging and we’re not planning to emigrate to France anytime soon. So, okay…” – had me snorkling into my cup of tea!

  20. I’m with Loth on the France comment. I was drinking tea too.

    I’m glad XUP Jr. is OK and that you managed to make it to CHEO quickly. All the bloggers I’ve met so far have been wonderful people, so I’m not surprised GC drove you there.

    I hope she heals soon before she drives you crazy.

  21. Well, of course you were composing this post in your head. You need the joy of all these comments to cheer you up the next day when the wimpering merges into complaining and demands for constant nursing (at least while within the house). Glad she is well enough to be out with her friends, ha.

    I always fantasized about being a figure skater, but in reality was way to scared of the dizzy twirls and the sharp blades and the slippery ice to even enjoy skating.

  22. Is it wrong that I laughed at the shrugging and France comment?

    She can wear protective eye wear while learning guitar. Something cool in purple.

    Glad you both are okay.

  23. Loth – Yup, those French are hilarious

    Kitty – You can look up everyone’s pant legs for one thing.

    Alison – Me too. It seems to really hurt a lot, but she’s carrying on like a trooper — until she gets home. But I guess it’s good that I still have a purpose in her life, right?

    Violetsky – Yes, I think everyone should have a shattered dream in their background so they can always blame that when their life doesn’t go quite the way they expected it to or when stuff happens that’s depressing. You can always say, “I coulda bin somebody…if only…”

    Cedar – Yes, the French — ha ha. They are, how you say, very droll. Good point about the cool specs idea. All the best cool cats wear dark glasses, right? I believe I also remember some famous blues guitarists who always wore helmets, too, right? So the strings don’t snap and pierce their brains?

    Jobthingy – Me too. Gosh darn those kids anyway. If it isn’t one thing is a totally new surprising thing. And then they laugh at us when we are deep lines across our foreheads and grey hair.

  24. Wow! I’m with the others and am happy she’s o.k., but yeah, the story did make for one entertaining blog post.
    I guess I’m a naughty Bavarian too! 😉

  25. Egads! This take me back to the Intrepid vs. tree branch incident. The result? Broken femur, transportation from Peterborough to CHEO by ambulance and – oh yeah – no mom there to comfort him because I was home with a baby. Gah!

    I’m glad the girl wonder is doing well. Poor thing. That probably took five whole years off your life, too. Let’s get them back with some laughs again soon, ok? *hugs*

  26. Amazing isn’t it how there’s always the, “Hmm there gotta be a blog in this” monster is always hovering there at the back of our brains…

    Poor XUP Jr. fodder for her mother’s blog…

  27. Best wishes for quick healing to XUP Jr – and don’t feel guilty about using her as blog fodder. Apparently that’s only a sin if she reads your blog (does she?!).

  28. I’m glad that it wasn’t something horribly serious. It’s hard when our children hurt themselves. My son’s broken arm was the worst for me many years ago.

  29. Hannah – We Barvarians have to stick together to make the world just a little darker

    Maven – Yes, I need my years back and laughs will definitely do it. Kids, eh? Do you lay awake in the middle of the night sometimes and itemize all the millions of things that could go wrong and/or happen to them until you hyperventilate and you feel like your head’s going to explode and you wonder how you’re going to stop it all from happening because that’s your job afterall? Huh? Do ya?

    Kevin – Hi Kevin. Thanks for visiting and I’m glad you can laugh at the thought of guitar strings de-eyeing my one and only wonderful child. Ha ha

    Olivia – Thanks – she appears to be in terrible discomfort and I can’t think of a thing to do for her. I’ve tied her up as much as possible to take the strain off the clavicle area, I’ve given her ice packs, Tylenol and even offered her liquor (which she refused…phew) I reckon it’s going to hurt for a while. Poor baby.

    Jazz – Well, I try not to blog about her too often, but sometimes it’s just irresistible.

    Laura – Ya, that little spot sometimes gets me in trouble, but more often than not gets me out of trouble so I usually let it have free reign

    Pinklea – She doesn’t read my blog, but she knew I was blogging about her broken collar bone and said she wanted to read it. So far she hasn’t. I’m lucky she’s not me. I would have loved to read stuff my parents had written whether about me or anyone else. I can’t imagine that she has so little curiosity about me. But I guess it’s the egocentricity of teenagers. And/or she just thinks I’m so boring I couldn’t possibly have anything to say worth reading.

    Bob – I try not to write anything here that I wouldn’t want her to read. Heck, I’d be flattered if she were interested enough in me to read my blog. (The one about her first date might embarrass her a bit and I’d catch hell for it, but it’s nothing top secret or anything) And, sadly, she doesn’t keep a diary. The closest I could get is reading her msn archives or Facebook

    Linda – It’s awful when there’s nothing you can do for them. Tonight we’re going to jump in the shower together though so I can wash her hair!! We haven’t done that since she was a little girl.

  30. poor kiddo!
    I have had my own share of skating-related traumas, which have led me to just abandon the whole thing.
    When I was 10 I was pond-skating and fell while doing some stupid twirl thing, badly breaking my arm. It was a really bad break… it even looked broken, if you get my drift. We had to drive 2 hours to a bigger hospital where I was knocked out to have the break set. That was on the night of December 23rd, and essentially ruined that X-mas.
    Then I badly sprained my ankle three years later, during my FIRST time skating since I broke my arm. That was it. I haven’t put on ice skates (or anything resembling skates) since I was 13.

  31. Em – Oh, that’s unfortunate. I think my daughter will be okay just skating for fun, but I’m going to do my best to discourage the competitive/exhibition type skating. It really is dangerous — all those hard surfaces and crazy maneuvers and sharp blades with no protective gear whatsoever. Figure skaters are usually in terrible shape by the time they’re in their 30s — between the concussions, lacerations and broken, twisted, sprained, strained and torn limbs, muscles, tendons and ligaments.

  32. sorry to hear about XUP jr.’s injury. sounds painful.
    the coach needs to work on her parental accident notification skills… “about your kid, we are in the ambulance and it seems pretty serious…”

    Okay, that would made me panic. she needs to candy coat it a bit. And I like the part about “can you meet us there?”

    duh. No, call me back with updates… Of course I’ll meet you there.

    blogging material. everthing is fair game. my wife watches what she says in bed since I put a note pad on my nightstand. But come on, some of the funniest things in the world are said in that room. I’m there. Stupid stuff just flows outta my mouth.

    hope your daughter is feeling better.

  33. Hasney – Thanks and yes that coaching staff did sort of plunge in at the end and work their way up to not-so-bad. Sheesh. I got the kid some arnica to help ease the pain a bit and a flashy new sling to rest her arm in. Hopefully it won’t be too much longer until she can move without screaming in pain. (It’s very irritating – ha ha)

  34. Davis – Yes it was and thank you. Now if only it would stop hurting her, then I could start to feel better, too.

    Leah – I’ve had too many of those calls. I don’t know how parents with more than one kid cope

  35. p.s.
    Vancouver isn’t really Canada in SOOOO many ways
    we can buy our allergy meds over the counter
    i lust after target…….
    we develop that talent ie hockey players, actors, singers and then we don’t support them….so they leave….but they all have summer homes here. does that make it better?:):)

  36. Pingback: » Have we stopped doing stuff?