If it were the Civil War, they would have given him a leather strop to bite and a slug of opium (if he was lucky), broken out a couple of gore-smeared hacksaws and cut his leg off at the upper thigh. If he didn’t die from infection, he could look forward to life with an ill-fitting, painful wooden prosthesis.
If the accident had happened 50 or 60 years ago, he would have been heavily anesthetized and cared for in a sterile, well-stocked operating theater.
But he still would have lost his leg.
When The Kid was about 5, the only thing on the Christmas list was a two-wheeled, push scooter. Now, they’re everywhere.
But back then, they were ridiculously difficult to find.
Now, if you need an odd or obscure item, you hit the interwebs. And in the space of minutes, you have numerous variations of said strange item.
But back then, while there was a worldwide net, it was very early days yet. Most people didn’t even own a computer (we didn’t), and even of they did, most businesses were brick and mortar only.
It was tough, but we found that child a scooter.
A couple of months later we were visiting my parents. The Kid was riding the scooter in their garage. Then Petey had a turn.
The turn turned into a spill.
After seven hours at the emergency room, The Kid learned what was on Nick at Night at three in the morning, and I learned my spouse had broken his hand.
Five or six years later, Petey decided that he was burning up too much gas going back and forth to work, so he bought a scooter.
This wasn’t a two-wheeled, foot-operated child’s toy. This was a “Ciao Bella”, touring the Amalfi coast, riding with Audrey Hepburn through the traffic in Rome kind of thing. It was a Honda not a Vespa, but it was that kind of scooter.
He rode back and forth the first weekend. Friday, Saturday, and Sunday evening went fine.
After I walked The Kid to the bus stop and got back home, the phone rang. It was Petey.
“A funny thing happened on the way home from work.”
Yeah, it was knee-slappingly hilarious. His scooter slid on a manhole cover and his forward motion had been stooped by his knee hitting the curb.
At the emergency room, he looked fine. He had one little spot of blood on the white pants he wore to work. I figured they’d do a quick x-ray of his leg and we’d be on our way. We’d still be able to pick The Kid up after the last day of fifth grade.
I forgot about the wait that always accompanied any visit to our local emergency room. I finally called my mom to pick up our child.
They did scan after x-ray after ultrasound. Turns out, he’d completely demolished the knuckle part of his tibia. You know, the bone that all the other bones in your leg rest on?
It was a many-houred surgery which included netting, nuts, bolts and cadaver bone. He was not allowed to put any weight on it for about six months. Any strain on the joint could destroy the cutting-edge work done and he’s possibly lose the leg.
Gentle Reader, the other day I came home from work to find he’d spent his stimulus check — on a motorized scooter, like the green ones they rent out. It has a platform to stand on, two wheels, and goes 15 miles an hour.
Do you want to tell him, or should I?
Thanks for your time.
Contact Debbie Matthews at firstname.lastname@example.org.