I knew it was him as soon as I heard the screams. But not with my ears, it was my heart that heard him first. Son No2 broke his wrist in two places playing rugby. He had the ball in his right hand when he was tackled, he pushed out his left arm hoping to break his fall but ended up breaking a couple of other things into the bargain.
Strangely I was talking to our team manager moments before. I have known her for a couple of seasons but have never asked what she did for a living. “I run the orthopedic ward at the local hospital.” That’ll come in handy next week when my child gets his second plaster.
As soon as I heard his cries I panicked. I am not good with my children in a crisis. Years ago, when I was Son No2’s age I suggested I might like to be a nurse when I grow up. My mum stopped laughing around the mid 90’s.
I did remember a rule told to me weeks before. ‘No mums on the pitch when a child is injured’. I accepted this as I was prone to screaming when my children are hurt which can be distracting. Anyway I left the mercy dash to the officials, my husband (a line judge at the time, so kind of official), my other son and my sister-in-law. New to the area, she didn’t know the rules. At least she’s a nurse.
Once my son was propped up in his dad’s arms on the wall, waiting for the ambulance, the other rugby mums formed another wall in front of me, a human shield. Preventing me from seeing my son’s misshaped arm. I am forever grateful. The husband nearly fainted when he saw it. We waited for the ambulance with a nervous boy-man medical assistant. He was an injury virgin and twittered around trying to work out forms. Bless.
Our team manager, the orthopedic team manger woman, kept talking about green whistles in the ambulance and how our boy needed one. I assumed it was a giant lolly to take his mind off things. I wasn’t far wrong. It did take his mind off things. Now full of drugs he relaxed, the creases drawn on his face by pain smudged away. In the ambulance he requested a purple cast, when the time came. His favourite colour.
At the hospital they struggled to manage his pain, especially after he was man-handled for the x-ray. He screamed in pain for what seemed hours. The husband sent me away one time as it was upsetting me so much. I could hear his cries down the corridor as I made my way to the waiting room. Not being able to make it better for him was hard.
My brave boy was operated on and spent the night in hospital. There was another boy in the bed opposite who had broken his wrist in two places and had surgery too. His name was William. Luckily neither boy needed pins or plates.
We took our hero home the next day, trying to assuage his disappointment. He had three sporting events he had qualified for that week. All had to be cancelled. And of course it’s the end of his rugby season.
I kept him home for the week where we watched far too much British comedy. And I read to him. A book about a dragon rider and his dragon, a present from a friend (the book not the dragon). I picked the story up where I had left it a few days before. Oddly the hero had broken his wrist too. But by climbing a rocky outcrop covered in moss to reach his dragon. Maybe rugby is a modern day version of dragons and riders. The ball the dragon’s egg. His rugby pads chain mail. And the goal posts, well they’re just goal posts really. Who am I kidding?
By the end of the week I had to go into our little town for meat and Son No2 came with me. I got talking, as I always do, with our butcher who’s very into sport. His son plays for a local league team. I told him what had happened and he said one of his son’s teammates had broken his wrist too. In two places as well. Turns out it was William, my son’s hospital chum.
Coincidence? I think not. Or perhaps my life is so small now, with so few players that themes keep cropping up. Between the bone-rugby-woman, Eragon and William it’s like dots joining up connecting us. A bit like those dot-to-dot books from our youth, that turned a dotty mess into a recognisable shape. Not sure what the shape is though. Maybe it’s a big smiley face and the message that we’re being looked after. I quite like the sound of that.