Monday, March 11, 2019

The Butterfly Hours Memoir Project: EMERGENCY ROOM

For 2019 I'm running a year-long series on my blog in which I share my responses to the writing assignment prompts found in THE BUTTERLY HOURS by Patty Dann.

I welcome you to join me, if you like! I've divided the prompts by month, and the plan is to respond to 3 (or so) a week. For some of these I may write poems, for others prose. The important thing is to mine my memory. Who knows where this exploration will lead?
In January I wrote about: apron, bar, basketball, bed, bicycle, birthday, boat, broom, button, cake, car.

In February: chair, chlorine, church, concert, cookbook, couch, dancing, desk, dessert, dining room table, diploma.

Here are March's prompts: divorce, door, dream, emergency room, envelope, eyebrows, first apartment, first job, food, game, garden.


I went to the E.R. twice as a child – both times for a broken arm. I don't remember much about the hospital, but I do remember a lot about how I broke the arm each time.

First time I was playing on the church playground with my brother Ken. He challenged me to a contest – who could jump the farthest from the swing? So we both set to pumping ourselves high as possible before leaping out of the swing mid-air. I was determined to win – and I did! I also broke my right arm in the process. It was a compound fracture near the elbow that required an overnight hospital stay and a long recovery.

Second time my sister and I were riding my pony Rusty through the woods, bareback. Lynn sat in front, and I sat just behind her. We rode in the woods behind our house, not on a trail exactly... we urged Rusty to jump over a log (as we'd done many times before), and when he complied, I lost my balance and slipped from his back. I landed near a pine tree, and my wrist hit an exposed root. I knew instantly it was broken. The worst part was holding my broken wrist and running home. My mom promptly put me in the back seat of the car, and drove me to the E.R. Every bump in the road sent pain radiating up my arm, so I pretty much cried the whole way to the hospital. That break required weeks of physical therapy, including a wax dip to help maximize the mobility of my joint. I was able to regain most of it, but not all. I notice it occasionally when I am cello-ing, because it's my right bowing hand, which requires a smooth wrist motion I cannot always achieve.

Much more vivid in my memory are the 3 times we had to take our kids to the E.R.:

a.) Eric, who at age 4 was riding a bike with training wheels in our driveway while under the care of a babysitter, and decided to run over a plastic shampoo bottle (left out after bathing the dog). He wrecked, and the handle bar went through his face (near his mouth). Getting that call from the babysitter was one of the worst things ever! And then watching them wrap my child and stitch his face was pretty awful. He recovered fine, of course, and was left with a scar and a great story. :)
Andrew's broken arm

  • b.) 
  • Andrew, who at age 8, broke his right arm at the skating rink. It's one of the many things he and I have in common!

  • c.) Eric, again. We were vacationing in Pigeon Forge, and when Eric woke up in our hotel room, he couldn't breathe. I banged on his back and called 9-1-1. Paramedics rushed him to the hospital in an ambulance, which is not what you want to happen on vacation (or ever!). It turned out to be strep throat, and he was really past the danger by the time paramedics arrived. But we were in high alert mode at the time, as my mother-in-law was in the last stages of cancer. Eric got an antibiotic shot and was soon feeling better... thank goodness!

    1 comment:

    1. Oh, my, I've had those moments, too, but not myself, only with my own children. I won't write it all, but Nathan was a climber very early, had stiches twice at two! I'm glad all of yours turned out okay. No matter what, it's scary!


    Your thoughts?