I started roller skating with my family when I was in elementary school. Dad and Mom were great skaters. I remember watching them do the Boogie Bounce to the live organ music. Dad often showed off, spinning and doing fancy footwork. I became a pretty good skater myself by fifth grade. I even owned my own white skates with purple pom poms.
One evening I was dancing around the skating rink to “Knock Three Times” when this older kid came whizzing past me. His skate accidentally clipped my skate, causing me to lose my balance. I took a hard tumble and landed on my right wrist. A floor guard named Bob reached me within seconds. “We need to get you off the floor before someone runs into you,” he said. I nodded through my tears. He scooped me up in his arms and skated me off the floor.
By the next morning, my wrist was swollen badly. Mom announced, “No school for you today. We’re going to get that wrist x-rayed. It could be broken.”
“Broken?” I exclaimed. (A broken bone sounded really scary.) “If it’s broken, what will happen?” I asked.
“The doctor will probably put a cast on your arm,” Mom explained. (A cast that all my friends could sign? That made me smile.) Mom helped me dress and we headed to the emergency room.
Luckily, the ER wasn’t too busy. We were promptly escorted to one of the curtained sections of the exam room. I climbed up on the bed while a nurse asked Mom about the injury. She made some notes inside a metal chart, slammed it shut, and said, as she slipped out the curtain, “The doctor will be in to see you in a few minutes.”
We waited…and waited…and waited. Mom told me you always have to wait a long time in an emergency room. Finally, the curtain jerked open and a doctor entered. He gently examined my wrist. I winced when he turned it right or left. The look on the doctor’s face made me suspect I might get a cast. “Let’s take you over to x-ray and see what’s going on with this wrist,” he stated. Then he quickly walked out, jerking the curtain shut behind him…
Well, the x-ray confirmed it—the wrist was broken. The doctor put a cast from my knuckles to my elbow! It was kind of fun at first, showing up at school with a cast, letting everybody sign it with a black marker, kids offering to carry my lunch tray and books. But it didn’t take long for the fun to wear off. With one prosthetic arm and the other in a cast, even the simplest tasks were a challenge. My teachers had to give me tests orally because I couldn’t write. Mom had to wash my hair and assist me with baths. And the worst part of all was that I couldn’t go to the skating rink for five weeks!
Have mercy on me, Lord, for I am faint; heal me, Lord, for my bones are in agony. Psalm 6:2 (NIV)
Author’s Note: I found out years later that Floor Guard Bob was Bob Alexander—my future father-in-law. Ain’t life funny?