Thursday, April 28, 2016

X-Ray #AtoZChallenge

When I was ten years old, I would play outside after school in good weather if I didn't have too much homework.  (That's what we did before the Internet and video games.) In the fall of 1963, I was doing a lot of roller skating.

In 1963, roller skates were a heavy, clunky affair.  They were metal skates (four wheels each) that you locked onto your shoes (using a skate key) and away you rolled.

On a Friday afternoon in late October, I was skating with friends when suddenly I was on the ground.  I had tripped on a sidewalk crack.  Coming down, my right skate slammed down on my left leg, just above my ankle.

I couldn't get up. It hurt.  It hurt a lot.

I was on the grounds of the housing project in the Bronx where I grew up.  A friend ran to get help from the housing police.  Two policemen came, and, holding a nightstick between them, one policeman on each end, I was boosted up and carried to the elevator of my building.  They delivered me to our apartment, where my Mom was cooking dinner.

Medicine isn't what it was like 50 years ago.  In some ways, that's bad.  In other ways, it isn't.

My Mom called our family doctor and he came right over. (Doctors still made house calls in those days).  He examined the leg, declared I had a bad sprain in my ankle, taped it up, and instructed me to walk on it.

I walked on it all night, even after the leg became swollen.  The pain got even worse - so bad I can still remember it today.  But I was a dutiful little girl and did what I was told.  I didn't even try to wake my parents. 

In the morning, my parents took one look at my leg and took me to the doctor's office.  I ended up being sent to the hospital for x-rays.  They revealed I had fractured my leg in three places.   I was put in a heavy plaster of Paris cast, from just past the tips of my toes to the middle of my thigh.  Two months of being taught at home by a teacher sent by the district, missing a field trip to the UN and the game show Concentration, and no Halloween trick-or-treating that year followed.

And yes, my cast became covered with autographs and various words of wisdom scrawled in magic marker by the other neighborhood kids.

Thank heavens for those x-rays, which allowed the doctors to know what had happened.

I think of my childhood as being a museum piece.  Playing outside, the black rotary phone my Mom used to call the doctor, the doctor who made a house call, the lack of immediately ordering x-rays for me...it seems like something that happened long ago and far away. 

Like sands through the hourglass, so are the Days of our Lives.

"X" day for the Blogging from A to Z Challenge.  Only two more days to go!

19 comments:

  1. Having broken both legs, one requiring surgical repair, I cannot imagine how you could stand at all let alone walk. I sent an employee for x-rays once when she was limping and she discovered she had a broken foot. I remember those skates. Had a pair myself. My Dad was a roller derby skater (just for fun) and taught me skate at 5 on the hardwood floors in our living room.

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    1. A father in roller derby? May I say "how cool"?

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  2. Ouch. Three places. I do remember house visits, though. Chicken Pox comes to mind.

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    1. I was so prone to tonsillitis; that was the subject of many of his visits. And that doctor didn't believe in taking out tonsils, either. Maybe, in a way, he was right.

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  3. Yes, my doctor made house calls, too. But, given my reputation, any fall would have elicited the response- get the kid to Meadowbrook. (By the time I was 16, I was on a first name basis with many of the OR techs. Not much employee turnover.)

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    1. I was fortunate with my son - only three ER visits.

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  4. When I was foing my pg, ended up fracturing my wrist. Didnt need surgery but yup, x ray and a cast it was... and yes, that cast too got its share of autographs... damn, did it itch when I finally removed it.

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    1. I can identify! Mine itched so much too, and I was told to be grateful because it was winter. I wanted so much to be able to take a bath and scratch that leg...I learned to appreciate simple things like scratching itches and taking baths!

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  5. He wanted you to walk on it!?! I get the not going for x-rays right away, but having you walk on it. That's barbaric!

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    1. I think he was convinced it was a sprain. And, nothing was poking out of the leg (to make it obvious). But yes, I didn't, later in life, think too many good thoughts about that doctor's order.

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  6. Once again, my life experience has somewhat mirrored yours, except in my case, I broke my left wrist. Those skates were deadly!

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    1. My gosh, they were deadly. And guess what - I could never put on a pair of skates again. That old saying about getting back on the horse right after you fall is true-except, by the time I got out the cast, it was winter, and we had no skating rink near us.

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  7. I love your comment--like a museum piece--reminds me of a time I went to our local children's museum and saw many of my children's toys on display behind glass. Nothing like a trip to the museum to make you feel old.

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    1. I agree, especially when your life is the museum. I fielded so many questions from my son, who is fascinated by "old" technology. Perhaps I should rerun my post on the time he asked me how I got on the Internet in my 1950's childhood. Was my computer so big that it filled up my bedroom? (the question was serious).

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  8. I remember those skates. "Brand New Key" by Melanie always plays in my head when I see people on skates.
    Mary
    #AtoZChallenge X is for X-Tina

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  9. It been a while since I had a bone x-ray. The last time it was my foot and ankle I fell of a horse.
    But since I do in-home care it seem like x ray machine advance all the time.
    Coffee is on

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  10. Ouch! That all night walking would have worsened the situation!
    My son recently had a ligament tear and a plaster cast was applied to hold leg in place. Thankfully, he was able to walk around with the help of a stick and was fit and fine for his school trip!

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  11. Such a descriptive post--you really put us all there with you. Nicely done.

    And your comment about your childhood becoming a museum piece--I think we all get there eventually. When I think of the number of items that were commonplace throughout my childhood, but are virtually non-existent now, I feel super-duper old. :)

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  12. "In the fall of 1963, I was doing a lot of roller skating." Yeah, you just KNOW that isn't gonna end well.... LOL

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