When I was in first grade I was one of the fastest runners in my class. That's a big deal in the 1st grade.
We had a merry go round on the playground and the fastest runners would get in the middle to push it for everyone else and then jump up on the bars to ride. One day while showing off my prowess I tripped over a root that ran under the merry go round. My left leg flew up at an awkward angle connecting with the metal bar and man, oh man did it hurt.
I began to cry and a friend helped me over to our teacher who was supposed to be supervising us on the playground. Mrs. Cole told us to walk across campus to the nurse's station and let her have a look at my leg. I tried to hop on my right foot and hold my left foot up, but I wasn't very good at that, especially since I am left-handed, and at that age I was pretty much left-"sided"!
My sister, who was in 4th grade, says she heard me scream as she was walking back from lunch, so she and her best friend came to check on me.
I attended a private school that offered first grade through college on a large sprawling campus. My dad had taught in the high school and had recently moved to the college to teach, so we were relatively well-known by a wide variety of people.
As my sister and friends hovered around me trying to figure out how to get me to the nurse, a strapping high school boy (a football player, no less!) came to my rescue, picking me up, he carried me to the nurse's station. Oh what sweet relief!
The nurse put me on an exam table and I suppose checked my leg. She then transferred me to a bed in a dark room with no windows, behind her desk. Leaving the door cracked she went and called my mother. I overheard her tell my mother my leg might be broken. I have no idea what else was said. All I could of think of was broken toys and what we did with them. WE THREW THEM AWAY!
As I lay waiting for my mother I worried and worried over what this would mean. Was I doomed? Was only my leg doomed? Would I only have one leg from now on? It didn't hurt that much now that I wasn't walking on it. Maybe the mean, red-headed nurse in all the white clothes was wrong.
My parents arrived and I went to a doctor (not my usual one) and they took x-rays. They told me my leg was broken, and I began to weep. Suddenly there were assurances that everything would be okay. They were going to wrap my leg in special stuff and I'd get to use crutches and everyone would help me and be extra nice.
Once we got home, people came by to visit and they brought me GIFTS! Books and flowers and toys. Maybe this was going to be okay.
I wore that heavy plaster cast for 6 weeks. They gave me a special dispensation at school and allowed me to wear pants because of my injury, and every day a different student was assigned to be my helper, to carry my books and lunch and open doors for me. I got to go talk with other classes about being careful on the playground.
I was a celebrity!
And they didn't throw me away.
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