The Barbie Pink Body Cast
Of every child that I have ever met who was in second grade, I have never met one who actually looked forward to going back to school after summer's end. I was no different. About a week before my second grade year began, I wasn't looking forward to giving up my gleeful outdoor freedom in favor of pencils, books, and homework. I didn't want to return to school, and I wished that I didn't have to go back. I was reminded the hard way of the cliché, "Be careful what you wish for."
I was playing at the local park behind my house one afternoon, and much to my absolute glee, there were other children there who were attending some kind of family reunion. Normally, when I went to the park, nobody was there, except the high schoolers who would sometimes use the basketball courts for practice. Most of the time, it was me, my Barbie dolls, and the swings. On this particular afternoon, I was happy to be invited to joyride with them on the merry-go-round. Little did I know that this was a bad idea – a very bad idea.
I climbed on as usual, taking a seat in the very middle next to this one boy. I held on to the handlebars next to me as some strange lady, a relative of my newfound playmates, began to push the merry-go-round, starting it off slowly and smoothly, yet with every push, the ride would get slightly faster. And the more the lady pushed, the more us kids begged her to go faster.
Before I knew it, the world around me was a blur, and I couldn't even make out the faces of the onlookers watching us go round, let alone the children who were sharing the very ride with me. But something alarming began happening to me as I went around and around; the merry-go-round was spinning so quickly that the centripetal force was making me start to slide from the middle dangerously.
"Wait! Slow down!" I screamed as I struggled to grasp the handlebars and scoot myself back to me rightful seat.
But the woman must not have heard my distressed screams as my voice had been lost among the gleeful shouts of the other kids.
I continued to slide from the middle where I reached the edge. This was it; I knew I was going to slide off, and so I grasped the handlebar with both hands as my rear end slipped off the edge and I hung on for dear life as the centripetal force kept my body from dragging the ground. I screamed and screamed. My stomach was turning into knots, and I was losing my grip. What was worse was that I felt my legs knock into someone else's just before I let go.
Everything was a blur and happening so fast that I didn't remember hitting the grassy ground several feet away. Eyewitness accounts told me that I literally flew across the playground, and had I gone a few more feet, I would have wound up tangled in the bars of the jungle gym. The only thing I remember was that when I landed, my right leg hurt, and I was crying. Well, it was more like wailing.
People soon gravitated around me to see if I was okay. The woman who was pushing the merry-go-round helped me up, but when I tried to walk, I started with my right leg and wound up face first on the ground. I rolled over, still bawling, holding my leg, and now complaining that I could not walk. At this point what I needed was Mom. Now.
I told two people in a shaking, sobbing voice to go get my mom. Luckily, my house was so close by that it didn't take long for them to show up. I can't imagine what my mom was thinking when two complete strangers showed up on the back deck to let her know that her daughter was injured. All I know is that as soon as the lady found out that my mother was coming over to get me, she went MIA. And my mom was mad. Really, really, mad. Like people are going to die mad.
She picked me up and took me home where she put me on the couch. At this point, the area just above my knee had swelled up about the size of a baseball. Mom tried an ice pack on the area to get the swelling down, but being a nurse, she pretty well knew it was broken. Dad wasn't home from work yet, but within minutes of coming home, I was loaded back into the family vehicle and whisked off to the hospital.
Upon arriving there, we had to wait in the emergency room. Mom filled out some kind of paperwork and gave me a months old copy of Highlights for Kids magazine to read. Though I was an avid reader, I only glanced at the pages as my leg was throbbing to the point where I honestly thought it was going to fall off. Finally, we were called back to an exam room where I was placed into a wheelchair and pushed back. I had to explain to an emergency room nurse what happened. The best child's description I could offer was that it was like Wile E. Coyote running off a cliff and smashing on the ground.
My leg hurt. I told the same story to at least four different people, including one doctor. After quite some time, I was carted off to an x-ray room where the nurse put me on this incredibly cold table with a big machine above me. They told me not to move so they could take pictures of my leg, and telling a seven-year-old not to squirm is like telling them not to breathe.
They gave me back to Mom where we waited even more. Around this time, Dad found out I was at the hospital, so he went home, picked up my brother, and they came up to see where I was. John brought by a very special friend – a favorite stuffed animal named Scrooge McDuck. I happily took it, and the doctors came back to show us all the x-rays; I had broken my leg clean through the bone just inches above my knee and fractured it below. Great.
I didn't pay much attention to what else was said, but I was told I was going to have to stay in the hospital. Even better. So I get checked in, my leg's wrapped up, and I'm starving because for some stupid reason, the staff won't feed me! And this was after two days! This fact made my mom incredibly irate, and I recall vaguely my mom throwing a fit over this. She came back in to the room and asked me what I wanted – Kentucky Fried Chicken with a double order of Cole slaw.
The following day, I soon found myself being carted off to a surgery room where I was told that I would be put under in order for them to put on the cast. They showed me a display of a really cool cast that was a rainbow cast. I was asked what color I wanted.
"I want a rainbow one like that one!" I exclaimed.
They told me I could only have one color; I guess you can't have your cake and eat it, too, so I settled on pink. Barbie pink.
After picking my color, I was soon carted directly into the surgery room. I found myself surrounded by several people in gowns and caps, and I looked directly up into the face of the anesthesiologist. She told me to count backward from a hundred; I didn't even make it to ninety-seven before I finally passed out from the gas they were giving me.
I awoke hours later groggy and incapable of remembering anything that happened between the times I was in the surgery room and being in the recovery room. My stomach was upset, and I belatedly realized that maybe the KFC wasn't a good idea. To make matters worse, I found that I was unable to sit up! I looked down at my body and saw myself encased in a large pink cast that came all the way up to my chest! Horrified, I started flailing madly and whining. Mom came to my aid to calm me down as well as provide a bedpan in which I hurled.
When I calmed down and stopped puking up last night's KFC, the doctor told me that I had to be put in a big cast because they couldn't allow movement for my hips or the break near my knee wouldn't set. Then some kind of saw was brought in where they would cut a hole for my stomach to expand whenever I ate, and the thing made such a scary racket that I wished they would have kept me out for that part.
I went home the same day after the cast totally dried. The Barbie pink body cast not only came up to my chest making me completely incapable of sitting up, it had a wooden bar that stretched from about midway down my lower right leg to my upper right leg so my parents could carry me better. I had a hole cut in the stomach area and a pair of my brother's old boxer shorts covered up other exposed areas.
I spent a good four to five months in that miserable, itchy cast. A tutor had to come around to my house to deliver homework and go over it with me. As for the woman who ran off, she finally had the gumption to see how I was. Needless to say, Mom did not let her in to see me, but she certainly didn't leave without a good, healthy piece of my dear mother's mind.
After the case was removed, it took me a few months of therapy to begin walking again. The muscles had deteriorated from lack of use, so I had to rebuild them Amazingly, half of that very cast was taken home with me and now resides somewhere in a storage shed. I haven't broken a bone since then, but one thing is for sure – be careful of what you wish for!