Each night when the Butterfly goes to bed, we go through the same routine.

  1. The Butterfly gives night-night kisses to mommy and sister
  2. I turn on the bed-side light and close the blinds
  3. The Butterfly closes her door and turns of the main light
  4. We waltz around the room for bit
  5. The Butterfly gives me a goodnight kiss
  6. I put her in the crib, sing a Wiggles song or two, and leave

Unfortunately, last night the Ladybug, who was hanging out by the door as the Butterfly was heading to bed, managed to insert her fingers into the space between the door and the door frame right above the hinges just as the Butterfly was finishing Step 3.   As a result, the Ladybug got her fingers crunched as the door closed.

She let out a blood-curdling scream, and when she pulled her hand out of the door frame, her middle and ring fingers were bent backwards at the knuckles in a terrifyingly unnatural angle that I can only describe as Holy shit that looks like it hurts.

(Actually, given the night to think it over, I can think of a better way to describe it: boneitis.)

The little girl simply looked at her hand a screamed some more, while the Queen B and I tried as best we could to survey the damage.   Between her sobs, the Ladybug said that she couldn’t move her fingers and that her hand hurt, so we decided immediately to run to the emergency room.   The Queen B wrapped the Ladybug in a sweater, while I hopped into a pair of flip-flops, and then the two of us — panicky girl and panicky dad — rushed into the car and headed to the hospital.

I raced to the emergency room entrance and parked my truck outside the front doors, whereby “parked” I mean “drove up onto the sidewalk and narrowly avoided taking out a pair of nurses on their smoking break.”   I swept the Bug up into my arms and ran inside to the front desk, the pair of us shaking from a combination of adrenaline, fear, and extreme cold (in our haste, we were both still in our pajamas, and it was only 4 degrees out).

We were greeted by a orderly who surveyed the Ladybug, her outstretched arm, and her mangled hand which, at this point, looked like an attempt to make the Vulcan hand-sign gone horribly wrong.   He crouched down by the tear-stained, snot-soaked, hyperventilating mass of hair and and skin that had once been my daughter.

“Hi sweetie,” he said, “we’re going to fix your hand up, okay?   But first, I need your help, okay?”

The Ladybug nodded quick assent.

“Okay,” he continued, “I need to takes some deep breaths, like this…   Eeeeee (inhale) Oooooo (exhale)… Eeeeee (inhale) Oooooo (exhale)…   Eeeeee (inhale) Oooooo (exhale).   Can you do that?”

The Ladybug, still shaking and in pain, tried.   Eeeee Ooooo… Eeeee Ooooo… Eeeee Oooo… As her breathing slowed, so did her shaking, and after a minute or so of breathing with the orderly, the Ladybug had stopped shivering and sobbing and seemed in much better spirits.

“Are you feeling a little better?” he asked.

“Yes, thank you,” said the Ladybug.

“Good,” said the orderly.   “Now remind your dad how to breathe too, because I think he’s going to fall over.”

Over the next hour, the Ladybug and I sat and waited in a small room with a pair of extraordinarily uncomfortable seats as nurses peaked in from time to time to see how she was doing.   Over the course of the first half-hour her backwards-bending fingers slowly straightened out, and she began to flex her fingers ever so slightly.

To keep her mind off of things, I gave her my iPod and set it to stream Phineas and Ferb from Netflix, and as we waited, she eventually began to smile and giggle, and by the time a physical doctor actually showed up, her left hand was functioning perfectly fine.   He pushed and prodded it a bit, and seeing that the Ladybug did not wince or shout in pain, commented that she had probably dislocated two of her fingers, but what with little kids being composed primarily of rubber and Laffy Taffy, that they had naturally popped back into place.

“Just to be sure,” he added, “I like to take some x-rays.”

So we did.   Afterward, the Ladybug and I looked at her x-rays on a computer with the nurses.   She stared in fascination at the sight of the skeletal claw gloved by the shadowy outline of her hand.   She noted the neatly arranged phalanges in her fingers, which connected to the similarly ordered metacarpals in her hand, which in turn terminated in what appeared to be a chaotic jumble of pebbles perched at the end of her radius and ulna.

“What’s that?” the Ladybug asked the nurse, pointing to the pebbles.

“Those are the bones in your wrist.”

The Ladybug compared them to the long, slender bones of fingers and arms for a moment.

“Oh man,” she said with an air of exasperation, “I guess I broke my wrist instead.”

It took another hour for the doctor to survey the x-rays himself and officially discharge the Ladybug, who was, despite his say so, was still unconvinced her wrist bones should look like that.   He disappeared again to find a nurse, so to pass the time, the Ladybug again whipped out the iPod and sat back in her uncomfortable chair watching Doctor Who.

Eventually, a nurse appeared with her discharge papers and announced we were free to go (…pay the bill, that is).   I got up and stretched my body, which was aching from a combination of leftover adrenaline and the bootleg iron-maiden assembly that masqueraded as “a chair.”

“Time to go home, little girl,” I said, gathering up her jacket.

The Ladybug held up her left hand, which I immediately assumed was to show me that it was doing okay.   However, she quickly curled up all of her fingers except her index one.

“Just a minute.   The Doctor hasn’t beat the Weeping Angels yet.”

So, yeah, she’s doing fine.

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