I’m not sure why we always fall for the okey-doke. I mean, the kid is all drama all the time—bumps into a chair and acts like she broke a kneecap, purposely Jim Carey falls on the floor and screams like she fell down a Chilean mine shaft. She gets a splinter and demands a sling. And runs through Sponge Bob band-aids like she owns stock in Johnson & Johnson. No blood required. By now, we should know not to take Lila’s frequent and frantic “Kid down—someone call 911!” antics so seriously.
Still, when she came home from a birthday party last weekend—a raucous, soccer-playing, giant bouncy-thingy affair—our Lila managed to whip up a teeny weeny bit of alarm amongst the ‘rents when she shoved her thumb in our face and insisted that it felt like it was going to fall off. To be fair, it was a bit swollen. But a little ice, a few kisses and a good night’s sleep and it would be all good, right? Right?
The girl wakes up on Sunday and her thumb is still swollen and her insistence that something is terribly, awfully, horribly wrong whips into a frenzy and Nick and I are left standing there trying to figure out if we should make the emergency room run or wait it out. You know, until she accidentally forgets her right hand is about half a minute from paralysis and like, grabs a handful of chips or expertly turns the channel with the remote or playfully shoves her sister into the nearest wall, conveniently forgetting that the use of her right hand is all but certainly gone forever.
Of course, it was right there in that moment of hesitancy that Nick and I are reminded of the time when Mari insisted her ankle hurt and we told her to suck it up and, after two days of complaints, we took her to the doctor only to find out her ankle was broken. Like, for real for real broken. Or that time when she had that awful cough and I thought it was just a cold and shoved Robitussin down her throat for a solid week before taking her to the doctor, only to find out that she had pneumonia. Pneumonia, people!
And in that haze of memory and weakness, Nick and I succumbed to the okey doke and took Lila and her tender, near paralyzed thumb to the ER, convinced (kinda) that maybe she really did break it because it was swollen and she said it hurt really badly and she hadn’t shoved Mari into any walls in, like, the last 12 hours.
Three hours, two examinations and one set of x-rays later, the doctor pronounced that she didn’t have to amputate; turns out Lila’s thumb was just fine. A nurse squirted two vials of Motrin down our daughter’s throat while we signed papers basically promising to hand over our life savings as payment for the ER visit and over-the-counter drugs I can get down there at the CVS for $3.49 with a coupon. And wouldn’t you know it? By the time we get back to the car, Lila’s thumb is miraculously not near broken or sore and functioning just enough for her to play box her sister in the backseat of the car and, later, operate the thumb controls on her remote-controlled helicopter.
Maybe we’ll deduct the cost of the x-rays and expensive hospital Motrin from her allowance. She can work it off by using her two very capable hands with working thumbs to clean the bathrooms, organize the cabinets, wash the laundry, take out the garbage and wash and wax the car.
Or maybe we’ll just enforce this new rule: Unless there is a horror movie’s worth of blood gushing from your wounds and your finger is half hanging off your hand, you better get the sympathy from someone else. Mommy is no longer the one.