“I think something’s wrong with Tyler,” said the babysitter when I answered the phone at work.
“Well, he fell down in the yard and now he doesn’t want to stand up or have lunch or anything.”
“Okay. Let me call the children’s clinic and see if they want me to bring him in.”
That would be me. The me back then. The me who never overreacted to anything. If there’s no blood, don’t come tattling to me.
“Bring him in” says the receptionist at the clinic.
So I leave work early. This was when I needed a “little part-time job” to talk to adults. It was a very little part-time job. Three hours a day, three days a week. Perfect.
I get to the babysitter’s and my baby is laying on the couch. He’s pale and kinda sweaty. He’s two and a half.
“What’s wrong baby?”
“My leg hurts.”
So I carry him to the car. I wrestle him into his booster seat. I carry him into the clinic where the doctor squeezes his upper thigh. He screams.
“I think he needs an x-ray,” says the doctor.
So I carry him to x-ray. I hold his hand while they maneuver his leg into the positions they want for the pictures. I’m still feeling pretty calm, pretty sure that nothing is really wrong. He just hurt his leg.
“I’m not supposed to tell you this, but his leg is broken, right here near the hip. I just wanted you to know so you care be aware of how you carry him back to the clinic,” says the x-ray tech as she hands me the film.
I stop in my girlfriend’s office at the hospital and ask her if I can leave his shoes with her and will she please call my husband and ask him to meet me at the clinic.
I’m still being strong. I’m trying not to freak out because I don’t want my baby freaking out. He’s pretty calm too.
We get back to the clinic. The doctor looks at the x-ray and calls the local orthopedic office. The ortho surgeon doesn’t work on Wednesdays. His PA can’t put on the kind of cast he needs. We need to go to Santa Fe, to the ER there.
I drive. I need to drive because I need to stay in control of my feelings. I can’t lose it while I’m driving so I drive. I drive and I sing along to the “Hippopotamus Tap” tape we have in the car. Tyler is singing too, very softly. The husband is in the backseat, Tyler’s head in his lap, tears falling into his hair. The seatbelt is kind of wrapped around him as he lays on the seat, as secure as we can get him.
In the ER they tell us that they need to start an IV before the begin casting.
“Why? Why does he need needles stuck in him for a broken leg?”
“We need to give him a slight sedative and some medicine that will make him forget.”
They will not let us stay in the room while they cast him. I go to the waiting room to call his grandma and grandpa. I can hear him screaming.
“I want my mommy! Mommy! MOMMY!”
I lose it. I cannot stop crying. Please God, break my leg. Hell, amputate my leg. Don’t be letting this happen to my baby.
They finally allow us back in the room. The doctor is cutting the area around his butt to make it a little bigger. My baby is in a cast that goes from his left toes to his armpits back down to his right knee. There is a bar between his legs keeping them apart. There is a hole from his bellybutton around to past his butt where we’re supposed to figure out how to put a diaper. I pick him up, still crying. He’s still crying, the little hiccuping crying that happens after you have screamed for half an hour. He pees all over me.
“Do you remember what happened?” I asked as we were trying to figure out how to get him in the car.
“The doctor was cutting by my butt.”
Thank you God that he doesn’t remember the screaming for his mommy. I will never forget.