Worries have a way of sneaking up on you, but I should have seen this one coming.
A few weeks ago, Toby had a skiing accident, caused in the manner most common for young kids on the slopes: by another skier. Suddenly cut off, he was forced to turn sharply into the powder of the trees. His ski went one way and his body another, and quite rudely, the mountain did not give way to the human knee.
Even for this superhero kid.
Instead, he was rewarded with a snowmobile and sled ride compliments of ski patrol, an emergency splint the length of his leg, and a great story to tell. By the time I was alerted and met him in the first aid room, he was all smiles. Attention + Toby = one happy kid, and it’s good to know this equation holds true even in pain.
He seemed in such great spirits, in fact, that his ski coach wondered aloud whether he’d be back in class as early as the following weekend, and I agreed. Driving home, his leg propped up on the seat back in front of him, he happily played his Nintendo DS while I debated whether he really needed a same-day follow up with his pediatrician. In the end, I made the appointment, but figured it was overkill…Toby was itching to get off the couch within an hour of arriving home.
Two visits, four x-rays, and an afternoon watching our lives click away on a radiology department clock later, I was starting to think I did have cause for concern. By Saturday evening, Toby’s smile was long gone, and it was safe to say the fun of wheelchairing around the waiting room had worn off.
A full week later, he still wasn’t walking on his right leg without a limp, and his right knee was still swollen to the size of a baseball. Our pediatrician referred Toby to an orthopedic surgeon, and we were told to expect an MRI ordered at the least. We saw the surgeon last week, and, though she was optimistic that he’ll make a recovery without surgery, we’re in ‘wait and see’ mode.
I don’t scare easily, but this has me worried. Not so much about any possible procedures (although imaging Toby lying still for an MRI or patiently recuperating from a surgery has me laughing hysterically), but about the long-term implications: what if we’re missing something? What if this never heals properly or fully? Because he’s six, and despite our recent jokes about his new ability to predict rainy weather (yeah, that’s not very funny, is it?), the idea of a six-year-old being permanently damaged is horrifying.
And yes, I’ve been putting it into perspective, especially as I watch Japanese children on the news being tested for radiation, and as I read blogs of parents of disabled kids, or even as I catalogue our collective worst fears.
This is not a worst fear. It’s not a worst-case scenario, and it’s not the end of the world. It’s even a calculated risk we knowingly take when skiing. But it’s a worry. A very real worry for my athletic, energetic, take-on-the-world child that I wish hadn’t penetrated our home and our lives.
That’s all I’m saying.