25 March 2019

[Bess Tuggle] - Memoirs of Surviving Children: Thing 2, AKA, The "Crash-Dummy" & Tales of Bones Broken

My second son, Thing 2, had a nickname. He earned it. Early on, he earned it.

His nickname was “Crash-Dummy.” I don’t know how many folks remember the old toys, but they would crash, fall apart, get put back together, and go on to the next disaster. Thing 2 was like that.

His first disaster was at about 2 years old. He was running up the road to me at work and the mechanic’s puppy caught the bottom of his jeans. Down the child went. No ill will towards the pup, they were both playing, but Thing 2 ended up with a broken arm. That was cast number one.

At four years old Thing 2 took it to a whole new level. None of us know how he did it, but he certainly did.

We had bull panels stacked against the fence at work, all leaning at about a 45 degree angle, and each weighed 350 lbs. I know this. I picked up my side to move them more times than I can count and can attest to how heavy they were. It took a lot of muscle, grit and cussing for me to pick my end up to move ‘em. My chiropractor still thanks me for that experience.

Somehow, Thing 2, at a grand total of 28 pounds and 4 years old, managed to pull a bull panel over on himself. I was about 10’ away watching him climb, talking to his grandfather on the phone to see when he was going to pick up the monsters, and the boss’ son was even closer to him. None of us could stop that particular train wreck.

Down the panel came, kid underneath it. It didn’t look that bad to start with. The boss’ youngest son pulled him out from under the bull panel, I put him in the sink and started washing him off. Thing 2 quit breathing. That’s when I learned what “going into shock” all was about. I looked at our service tech and told him to call “911” then call my mother-in-law. That was closest person I could think of to grab the rest of my kids, and I had one child that needed my full attention.

That lovely experience landed us in Newton General for 6 weeks – with Thing 2 in traction. He broke his left femur just a couple inches below his hip.

To put this into perspective, my “White Coat” syndrome is so severe that 3 of my four children were born at home, and I was royally pregnant with Thing 4 at this point.

I’ll save his “turtle shell moments,” also known as his body cast, for another column.

Okay, that was 2 years old, 4 years old, then came 6 years old.

He broke his arm again. AGAIN! At the emergency room the nurses asked me who his primary doctor was. I answered with his bone doc’s name. The looks I got didn’t earn me any brownie points.

Eight years old was another special time. We were all getting ready to go to Cub Scouts when I hear the yelling. Not screaming, but yelling. Yup, he broke his arm again, at the beginning of summer, and was blaming it on one of his brothers.

This was a good one. Thing 2 came up from the creek, his arm held up in his Scout uniform shirt, and I asked to look at it. That was a BIG mistake.

If you’ve never seen a compound fracture, with the bone sticking through the skin, thank your lucky stars. You simply can not un-see that. Yet another cast.

Finally, FINALLY, Thing 2 woke up to his eleventh birthday. His first words were “Mama, I MADE it!”

He made it through an even numbered year, his tenth, without breaking a bone, and hasn’t broken another one since. Please, knock on wood with me, for him.

- Bess