So we were going to go out to dinner on Wednesday night, and I was en route to the apartment to rendezvous with the rest of the fam when The Spouse called:
"Can you meet us at urgent care?"
"And to whom do I owe the pleasure?"
At this point, I identified the source of the wailing in The Spouse's backseat as The Little Kid.
"PJ may have broken his arm."
"He couldn't find the remote, so he was reaching up to change the channel remotely, and he pulled the TV and the tall chest over on top of him, and for a minute he was pinned to the bed."
So many thoughts at once:
Damn The Event. At home, dangerous furniture was secured to the wall. At the apartment: not our furniture, not our wall.
Spouse, I told you so. I told you that if you didn't bring the kids' (smaller) TV over to the apartment on the first day, the movers were going to accidentally pack it up. After they accidentally packed it up, I told you that putting the larger TV on top of the tall-and-narrow chest was a recipe for disaster.
What is it with my kids and broken arms?
Then I had a panic attack: what if his neck or back was broken, but not all of the way through? What if he moved a certain way, and the break competed itself, and his spinal cord was severed? Seriously, this happened to my mother's cousin's wife: she was run over by a car in her driveway while sunbathing (okay, I realize that that sounds totally ridiculous, but I do not think that my mother had a reason to lie, and I SWEAR this is how the story was recounted to me, several times), and initially she got up and was moving around like nothing was seriously wrong, but her husband took her to the hospital in an abundance of caution, and the doctor asked her if she could move her head from one side to the other, and she did, and she died.
Thus ends the tragic tale of my mother's cousin's wife.
I called The Spouse back:
"ABORT! ABORT! Take him to the ER! He needs to be immobilized and strapped to a backboard!"
"He's fine. With all of the flailing about, and the wailing and gnashing of teeth, anything that was going to snap would have snapped by now. [The Spouse has heard the tragic tale of my mother's cousin's wife.] I don't even think that his arm is broken."
We agreed to take him for an X-ray out of an abundance of caution.
Fast forward an hour. After suffering through forty five choruses of, "Am I next? How long is this going to take?" we were taken to the back. Pretty much already knowing what the verdict was going to be, because, the longer we had to wait, the more forced his "Ow, my arms" were becoming, and the more times he slipped up and actually used said arm in a way wholly inconsistent with an actual broken arm.
PJ to the nurse:
"Hi. I'm PJ. You might remember my brother? You have X-rayed his arm before. A couple of times. But this is MY first time."
Doctor came in, examined him, took note of zero swelling, and then gave me a look over his head that clearly said, "And I'm looking at this kid why?" I rolled my eyes and shrugged, hopefully conveying the "abundance of caution" message.
Doctor: "PJ, can you take your shirt off for me so that I can look at your shoulder?"
Ah, the classic "let's see if the kid's faking" gambit.
PJ: "My arm's broken. YOU take it off."
Wow, he's good.
Doctor: "Can you just see if you can lift your arm over your head?"
PJ: "Ow. Ow. OW."
Big Brother: "He's faking. HE'S FAKING, MOM. I have broken my arm twice, and sprained it once, and I can tell that he's faking."
PJ: "STOP IT! MY ARM IS REALLY BROKEN!"
Big Brother: "If you keep this up, it's your own funeral. Because Mom will make you keep it in a sling, and she'll write a note for PE, and you won't get to go to recess, and you'll get really, really bored, and the only way to get out of wearing the sling will be to tell Mom that you lied."
Big Brother knows me pretty well by now.
X-ray technician arrives.
PJ: "YAY. My first X-ray. I love X-rays."
Big Brother: "How can you love them if you have never had one before? And, also, X-rays are dangerous. And expensive. Mom and Dad may dock your allowance."
Dad asks Big Brother to kindly stop co-parenting. Mom thinks that he is doing a pretty good job.
The X-ray reveals something odd where the shoulder inserts - something odd in the growth plate. Of course in the growth plate. It's always the growth plate. Doctor wants to take a look at the other shoulder, for the sake of comparison.
Great. TWO X-rays.
Right shoulder looks exactly like the left one. Apparently, my child has oddly formed shoulders. Um, good to know? Child is given a placebo sling. Child is irritated: "I really do think it's broken."
"Well, we'll have the radiologist have a look at it in the morning, and if it's broken we'll call your mom. If we don't call, then you can take the sling off once it stops hurting."
Placebo sling made it until lunch the next day.
When we got back to the apartment, we determined that, while tallboy didn't do much damage to child, child did some damage to the tallboy, requiring a wood glue repair to a drawer support.
The TV fired right back up. No damage whatsoever.
So, for those scoring at home, that's McGlincheys 2, McGlincheys' Television 1, Murderous Apartment 0. (Remember that the first day in the Murderous Apartment, the big kid took a tumble down the steps - REQUIRING AN X-RAY. I am starting to suspect that the Murderous Apartment is getting kickbacks from the urgent care.)
Two final notes, and I'll wrap up the tragic tale of my drama king seven year-old and the rented tallboy dresser:
(1) Upon returning home, Big Brother, in a moment of uncharacteristic emotion, turned to me and said, "Mom, if PJ hadn't thrown a shoulder at the chest the way he did, he could have DIED." As I was opening my mouth to explain that, as a parent, you have to shut your mind to "woulda, coulda" thoughts, or you go crazy, Big Brother continued: "If he had died, do you think that we would give his toys to charity, or would we have a garage sale? Do you think we would keep some of his toys as a reminder of him, and, if so, for how long?"
Yeah, I got nothin'.
(2) From the Department of Ironies: as noted above, PJ pulled over the tallboy and TV as he was attempting to change channels manually, because he could not find the remote. Know what hit PJ first? THE REMOTE - AS IT SLID OFF OF ITS PLACE ON THE TALLBOY, DIRECTLY IN FRONT OF THE BUTTON THAT PJ WAS REACHING FOR. Clearly, he is his father's son. My spouse can, and frequently does, look for something in the pantry for eons without finding it, at which point I will open the pantry door and the item in question will be on the front row, at my spouse's exact eye level. My question ever time: "You couldn't find THAT?" His answer every time: "Nope, because it didn't leap into my outstretched hands."
As it turns out, the remote did leap into PJ's outstretched hands.
Kind of funny. Not funny ha-ha, funny ironic.
Okay, kind of funny ha-ha, too. Because, as a parent, you have to laugh to keep from beating your head against a wall.