Fractures, Mean Girls, and Squiggly Straws

Here’s the thing, when I was five years old I fell from the Monkey Bars, crashed to the ground and broke both my arms. That’s right, I busted both arms at the same time. I always was an over-achiever. Anyhoo, the most I remember of the incident is that I was conscious long enough to tell my sister to go get Mommy. She did. That’s all I know until I woke up surrounded by bright lights. Yep, thought I died. But then I heard my mother’s voice in the distance like it was coming from someplace far far away, another universe perhaps, which if you knew Flossie, would make sense. But no, she was in the room calling me, “Joycie, Joycie, wake-up.” I did, only to discover I couldn’t move. My arms were encased in ten pounds of plaster. Yikes.
But I did come around—eventually. Later that day I awoke in a room with four other children who for some reason I took an immediate dislike too. Especially this one, snooty girl in the bed next to me. I have no idea what her problem was, but she was one mean child. I was in the hospital or Alcatraz, lying in a bed with bars—a huge prison crib with bars! I hated it and wanted out. But my mother said I had to stay there because they were afraid I might fall out. Geeze, fall from one Monkey bar and you’re branded for life.
Mom stayed with me for as long as she could. She helped me eat my dinner because, well, my arms were broken! This was back in the days when Moms and Dad were not encouraged to stay with their ailing children. Yeah, what sense would that make. “Um, o sorry, Mom, you daughter is in deep distress but you have to leave.” Guess it made us stronger.
Except when she left the mean girl started to poke fun at me. She laughed that I had both arms in huge casts, I mean it, they were the size of gun turrets. Maybe not, but that’s how I remember it. But then the night grew even more bizarre. A child came in wearing a nurses uniform. It was white. She wore a white cap. She was three feet tall with little tiny arms. I felt frightened but I figured they had kid nurses for kid patients. Nah, she was a Little Person. Geeze, they could warn a patient. She made me drink Milk of Magnesia so I would . . . you know. Apparently they didn’t want me straining anything inside. Mean girl laughed. I wouldn’t doubt it if she grew up to be some terrible prison guard.
The next day Mean Girl went home. She actually stood there with her hands on her hips and said, “Neener neener I get to go home and you don’t.” If I could have, I would have thrown a bed pan at her.
Finally, I was released. I went home where I was relegated to the living room couch. I got to control the television. Holy Smokes that was neat. I watched the TV show Combat. Loved that show.
That evening my Pop came home from work with a special “For Achievement in Broken Bones” prize. A sack of straws. Don’t laugh. It was sweet. My arms were useless. It was hard to eat. I had to be fed. But Pop brought me several fun straws. There were short ones, long ones, striped ones, and squiggly ones with curly cues.
But no good deed goes unpunished as they say. Pop brought me a tall glass of chocolate milk. He unwrapped straw number one, the curly cue and dropped it into my frosty milk. At which point my mother came running into the living room waving a dish towel. “What are you doing. She’s not supposed to suck.”
Um, never figured that one out, but a few days later I got the straws back and Pop and I watched a ball game together while Flossie baked pie. And this my friends is why I write quirk.


Caroline said...

LOL. Loved the post, Joyce. Poor kiddo, just think, that mean kid could have turned out to be a cranky editor. Nah. Surely not. :)


Leah Morgan said...

It's been proven through extensive research in a study at Yale on lab rats, that sucking from curly straws while having any extremity broken and encased in plaster causes the limbs to grow in a spiral pattern. Swallowing with aid of a short straw caused the limbs to heal much shorter than their unbroken counterparts.
There was no conclusive findings on using striped straws while having plaster casts on a broken bone. 40%of those rats in the striped straw study emerged with spots rather than stripes but some involved in conducting and analyzing the study felt it was due to reactions to the plaster casts.
This research was completed and documented in 1967. Flossie's concerns were justified. She was wiser than anyone realized.
While her strict no sucking policy may have been a bit of an over reaction, I'm sure she was just being thorough. There were no pacifiers, bottles, ordinary straws or other sucking devices used in the study.