Tuesday, September 11, 2007

A moment

It's funny how significantly things can change in a moment. When the phone rang at 1:49 yesterday afternoon, I looked at the caller ID and knew this wasn't an average call. It was Zach's school. Not good. He's a sweet kid who doesn't get into trouble. Even less good. I hesitated to answer the phone, hoping that an extra heartbeat would change the outcome. Not so much.

The secretary said he'd been in an accident. PE class, soccer, collision, leg, ice, principal's office. I didn't hear the sentences as much as I heard disconnected words. Things became blurry as I called Debbie and bounced work priorities around before running out the door.

Two hospitals, countless doctors, nurses, tests, twists and turns later, he's nursing a badly broken leg, has a bright green full-leg cast just waiting for everyone to sign, and is enjoying the prospect of being the center of attention for a little while.

I'm not sure what was more exhausting: the direct upheaval of everyone's lives as we shipped his brother and sister to our friends' house, navigated the city-within-a-city that is the children's hospital here and fought the fatigue as we try to be by his bedside 24/7; or the more subtle realization that you've got to give up any and all sense of control as you entrust your child to a group of people you met not five minutes previously.

But entrust we did. And my how incredibly gifted these doctors, nurses and hospital staff were. It was inspiring to watch them shepherd a frightened 12-year-old along the convoluted path from initial injury to resolution.

If you ever find yourself doubting the future of humanity, spend some time watching the ortho team step through a reduction on your kid's crunched leg. I think what did it for me was the most senior doc's demeanor as he sat at the head of the bed, timing drug doses and talking to our son as if they were watching a ballgame. He never failed to find the right words, tone and inflection. This surreal mixture of professional perfectionism and heartfelt humanity was remarkable to watch.

We just got him home and he's resting comfortably on the couch, his little brother hovering over his every need. I'll have much more to say in the days and weeks to come. For now, Debbie and I feel changed by the experience, challenged by what comes next, and lucky that it wasn't worse. Blessings always seem to hide amidst the chaos. More on that in future entries.

Your turn: Wordnerd, who kindly IMd us with words of comfort while we were in the hospital (BlackBerries rule, btw), suggested we ask visitors for a virtual cast signing. I love that idea! So what would you write on our son's cast if you had a marker in your hand right now? I'll share all of your submissions with him, so please write to your heart's content.


Anonymous said...

Zach rocks! Neon green all the way! I hope it's not hurting you too badly Zach. That had to really hurt. I'm glad you are home from the hospital. Take this from someone from experience. ICE CREAM! It really helps broken bones heal quickly. Milk shakes are really good...especially if you have french fries to dip into it. Take it easy Zach. Heal quickly. I'll be keeping you in my thoughts. And don't forget to tell your mom and dad about the ICE CREAM.

Jeremiah Andrews said...

Zach rocks too...

Neon green casts! Who knew! Know that we are all thinking about you tonight. Be well and take care of that leg!

"showering is going to be a fisaco!" I could never figure that one out, but having to wrap my leg in a garbage sac to shower! Stay Cool Zach!


HRH Courtney, Queen of Everything said...

I saw your message on Facebook, and was worried. Poor guy. I'm glad everything is settled, and I hope he heals quickly.

Signed, HRH Courtney, Queen of Everything (in bright red sharpie);)

Linda said...

Zach - the term "break a leg" applies to folks in the THEATRE business, not PE class playing soccer. Heal quick!

Carmi and Morahmommy: I hope that peace descends upon you and that you are blessed with quick healing and understanding (no matter how "cool" a broken leg seems at first, it WILL wear off)...and as much rest as you can muster.

I'm glad it wasn't worse!

Unknown said...

I have been told by MY 12 year old son that I am not cool enough to sign your cast. So I will refrain. Take it easy Zach and listen to moogie - milkshakes with fries. Just sayin'.

Judy said...

Zack... neon green is just too cool! Next time you want to brighten up your life, though, dye the hair! (just kidding, MOM!!!)

Hang in there, dude, and get well soon.

Susan Helene Gottfried said...

Dude. When you get seasick, it's your FACE that's supposed to turn green. Not your leg.

And admit it. You did this just to get out of sitting through services this week.

L'shanah tova, Carmi and family. May you all be inscribed for a great upcoming year. Take care of yourselves.

Anonymous said...

Zach RULZ!

Neon green? Does it glow in the dark? Way to start the school year, buddy! And about dying your hair...why not make it match your cast? I hope you're back on (both) feet soon!

Peace to you, Carmi, and Mrs. Carmi.

BreadBox said...

I'll think on the caption for the cast: perhaps you can post a picture of it, and it can become next Sunday's caption contest too!

Poor Zach! I know what it is like to break a bone -- having fractured my arm in Halifax in February, and still suffering the after effects a little.
Thank goodness you are in Canada, where the costs are reasonable (I know, we paid most of them up front, and I am still fighting the insurance company to get them back!) and the insurance treats you like humans! And my experience in Halifax was that the doctors were good, were willing to answer questions, and if I said "I'm bright: don't give me a condescending answer", answered, explained, helped, and were genuinely kind to a cranky patient.

I hope that all heals well, and quickly, and without after effects. And when it comes to the physio: don't skimp: do *all* the exercises they suggest, do them well, do them often and do them right!

Good luck to you, Zach -- have a quick recovery,

BreadBox said...

Okay, a possible signing:
"No more loafing around,

Carli N. Wendell said...

Hey, Zach. I'm sorry you hurt your leg. I don't have any wise words of encouragement, so I'm sending you a Marx Brothers joke I told at a meeting today.

"One night I shot an elephant in my pajamas. How he got in my pajamas, I don't know. Then we tried to remove the tusks, but they were embedded in so firmly, they wouldn't move. Of course, in Alabama the Tuscaloosa. But that's entirely irrelephant."

Feel better soon.

tommie said...

I hope you are feeling better Zach! Heal quickly...and milk this for all it's worth...

Bernie said...

Just read about his 'little' accident, and I feel for you (well, him) and Debbie...

Please wish him our best, and please sign his cast with the following:
Well wish's, here from Michele's, burntofferings

Whilst I am not here from Michele's, I am in fact from Breadbox today...

I hope he recovers soon...

Anonymous said...

I think I've aged about 10 years in the last 2 days. I don't remember much of the drive to his school, kind of scary since I was driving!

What a brave boy we have.I was so proud.

He wanted me to be the first one to sign his cast. What can I say, he'll always be mommy's little boy.

Zach, please, no green hair.Mommy and Daddy are going to take very good care of you, and yes milk it for all it's worth!


CG said...

Oh i know that feeling of sheer terror when the school rings...I'm sure I'm not cool enough to sign Zach's cast either but please tell him that good wishes come his way from England!

kenju said...

Zach, is it easy being green? (My favorite color). Take care, and do what the doctors tell you to do now that you are home.

Bobkat said...

Hi Carmi. I saw your Blackberry message yesterday but didn't want to intrude ..just in case. So I came by today to check if everything was okay. I am so very glad that your son is going to be just fine. That is great news.

You are very right about the demeanor of hospital staff. I was at the hospital this last weekend as my niece was taken to hospital. The ICU staff were fantastic, so understanding. I am afraid we lost my niece. I wonder how people can work somewhere like the ICU and see this kind of thing and remain so supportive and kind and not break down.

I have a message for your son: 'Get well soon! I am sure you'll soon mend and be as good as new but mean while enjoy getting extra ice cream and being the centre of attention. I'm sure a brave lad like you deserves it'.

Anonymous said...

Ouch! So sorry to hear about Zach's leg. Get better soon!

awareness said...

Zach! Does this mean you get to have control of the TV remote? I'm sure your leg is hurting right now but the pain will go away in a couple of days and then the cast will begin to do it's healing trick.

I will think of a good caption for your bright green cast and visit again soon. Save me a spot on your knee.


Star said...

poor Carmi 7 Debbie. Now that Zach is all settled in I can imagine you guys need some TLC. I have to think of something good for Zach's cast. I'll get back to you.

Karen said...

Carmi, I just visited BreadBox and she mentioned your son's accident. Poor guy! I'm so sorry to hear about this. I'm sure it's traumatic for the whole family. I hope he's not in too much pain and will heal quickly. On the up side, he'll now have a great story to tell for years. Hope all goes well.

Write something non-sensical or something in another language. My father wrote the German word for "individual eye focus" on my daughter's cast. It cracked her up for weeks.

Anonymous said...

Too bad for Zach. But in no time he is going to jump about. Nothing can keep boys down! For that matter, girls too.

Being a school teacher, we deal with all sorts of injuries incurred by students. When I first joined school and saw a girl banging her head on the corner of a wall as she wasn't looking where she was going( they never look--16 years of teaching has taught me that!) I did not know how to react. Only for a moment. Her forehead had split, blood was flowing freely, we couldn't have me panic. I led her the nearest chair and hurried through what was to be done before getting her to the doctor. We both survived that ordeal. Now I am kind of pro...girls are behind boys incurring injuries while playing..:D

Well, last year in July 06, I slipped in school. landing on my right elbow, which dislocated promptly. I had a boring, white obnoxious looking plaster-cast for 3 weeks.

Michele sent me your way to ask about Zach and ramble about myself!

Anonymous said...

Hey, Dude! Nice way to get out of school for a couple of days! ;) Remember -- as long as you're in a cast, you are in charge! And remind your parents that I said so!

Carmi & Debbie? You guys rock my world.

Joan said...

Enjoy having everyone cater to you, Zach! I'm sure with a neon green cast you'll "stand" out in a crowd, too. :)

And to Carmi and the rest of the family - many blessings to you as you try to recover from the shock and move forward. Thank God the worst is over. May you ALL heal quickly & completely! :)

Nikki - Notes of Life said...

I'd say "Milk the sympathy and slavery for all it's worth, because you won't get it like that again!". Hehe.

I bet he's coping better with it than you guys. Kids are remarkable like that.

Like others have said, I didn't know you could get neon green casts! I've only ever seen white ones here!

Jennie said...

I'm glad he's OK! And neon green cast?! Excellent choice.

MaR said...

Bright green casts are absolutely new to me. This is calling out loud for pictures ! sending get well wishes, young bones heal quickly... :)

Anonymous said...

Green rules Zach!! From a mom who has had a son break 3 bones in his lifetime so far (he's 17 1/2), I'm here to tell you the girls love to look after a young man in a cast. And they sign the cast with things like "I heart Zach" "Zach is so brave" "You're our hero Zach". So I won't go on and on because the girls are right of course. You ARE brave Zach. Get better real soon.

Holly Schwendiman said...

Aww so sorry to hear about the broken leg. It is incredible to be exposed to the professional services by people who can help care for our most valued treasures isn't it? And so nice to know they are there when you need them! Glad to hear Zach is doing okay!


Moon said...

(I GLO IN THE DARK!) Is what I would probably write on his cast lol, neon green! hehe, how cool is that?...
Oddly enough, I always wanted to be one of those kids who got to have a cast..I know its silly but..he..we can all be silly....I am 44 yrs old and I still haven't broken a bone yet...although I am no longer in school..so I have no latent disires for a broken bone now lol. (knock on wood)
I am thankful as u are, that it wasn't worse...get well and healed soon Zack...and enjoy all the help you are getting now from those who love you dearly. Because of your wonderful parents, you have lots and lots of ppl thinking of you.

craziequeen said...

Hey Zach - your leg's turned green......!!

I bet $10 Noah gets tired of being your slave in a week......

Best of luck, Zach, look after that leg and don't wear mom and dad down too much....


Pirate Princess said...

I hope he has a speedy recovery! Sounds like he was well taken care of, which always makes Mom and dad feel much better. :)

Mike Davis said...

Next time you Bend it like Beckham, stick to just bending the ball!

get well soon!

Michele sent me.

Sara said...

Zach - Get well soon! And, have lots of ice cream!!!

Carmi and Mom, I hope you both are doing okay...I know that must have been a very scary time for you both. My thoughts are with all of you and lighting a candle for a speedy recovery!!!

Anonymous said...


I know it hurts now, but there are no accidents in life.

I once hurt my back badly early in my martial arts competitive career. While bedridden, I studied strategy, and by the time I healed, I used what I learned to be come a better fighter. Years later, I used the same knowledge to graduate at the top of my class in Leadership School, even though I was not an infantryman.

What needs to be learned from your experience?


P.S. Love is the only answer. We are all ONE...

David Edward said...

dems de breaks!

Carola said...

"It was undeniable that the great soccer player Zach was going to get that ball.
He saw it.
The ball saw him.
He felt the foot-to-ball connection even before he was near the ball.

The crowd knew the ball had it coming.
The ball knew the ball had it coming.
David Beckham was sitting in the sidelines because he didn't have what it takes to get that ball into the net.
Their fate late in Zach's boot.

Zach looks to the left. Harry Kewell's wearing his favourite "Zach is the BEST!" shirt, and gives Zach a nod of approval.

Zach looks to the right. The Queen is there with her banner, short shorts, tall socks, and heels all matching Zach's uniform, yelling and screaming and when she catches young Zach's eye, gives him the biggest thumbs up he'd ever seen [coming from the Queen, we're forced to say that].

The ball rolls closer, its like time has stood still - or atleast slowed down so much so that Zach can do what he likes for a brief moment, as every ones in slow-mo!

He runs around the field, puts his shirt over his head practicing his "I just won the game!!!" sprint.

Zach gets back into position,
the ball is almost there,
he steps back and..."

Unfortunately due to unforseen circumstances, this day-dream has been forced to end due to the fact that our star player, Mr Zach himself, found a green highlighter and insisted on colouring in one of his legs.

The umpires were forced to cancel this day-dream due to the fact that Zach then refused to wash the highlighter off, stating that green is the new black.

To this day, you can find Zach at home on the couch proudly displaying his green highlighted leg...


I hope that onces the 'coolness' of being stuck seated most of the time wears off, that you find great ways to amuze yourself in your hobbled state, Zach!

Mr C & Mrs D - I hope that all goes well in the healing process - and always remember - when its goes funky, breathe through your mouth :D

Master Champ and Miss Spunky - dont hassel your big bro too much - sure tickles can be fun - but not when you cant get away! And when you find that there is not much space to write - play dot-to-dot on his freckles - or something else...

*e-hugs all round*

awareness said...

Hey Zach....

I still don't know what I want to write on your cast but I wanted to pass this info onto you.

Are you a Corner Gas fan? Season 4 is being released on Sept 18th. It's good for a laugh. My son is counting the days. The show cracks him up.

Jay said...

Jeez, a broken leg! That's pretty tough - way cooler than just a broken toe.

Anonymous said...

Zach I'm sure this injury resulted from a move that would make even Beckham proud...don't know Beckham, how about a Power Ranger? Anyway I am sure you are the coolest kid in school right now...good luck, heal quickly and stay cool!

Unique Designs from Zazzle said...

Dear Zach:

I always wanted to see a show with an all star cast.

Break a leg (figuratively speaking of course),

Your pal,


Tiffany said...

Hope you feel better soon Zach! When I was about your age I broke my arm. My mom gave me a bell to ring if I needed anything. Make sure you get a bell to ring too ;) Milk it for all its worth...Ice cream, candy, milkshakes....lol. (But dad...a milkshake will make it feel better. *puppy dog eyes*) hehe

Sara said...

Sorry to hear about that accident, but glad to see you're well on your way to recovery :) Feel better & enjoy the fun of crutches!

Hint fo showering, get a step stool & place it in the bathtub so he can hang his leg outta the tub & not get it wet (that's what I did when I was in a cast in 2002)

Anonymous said...

Zach, milk it for all it is worth. You will remember this time fondly for years and years, and if you can get some extra service out of the siblings, go for it.

Our youngest got a broken leg and full leg cast at 7. She enjoyed the attention, and was spectacular at using crutches after being on them for 8 weeks. She knew where every handicap door button was and could use them with precision and grace. She motored down the mall in record speeds with her skip technique (crutches, 3 hops,big lean forward ,crutches, repeat). You will learn skills, you didn't know possible, have fun with it.

Janet said...

I'm sorry to hear about your son's broken leg; hope he'll heal quickly and enjoy the cast signings!

utenzi said...

That's scary. I hope that he recovers fully and quickly. Any injury merits a bit of panic but a broken leg is a major injury. Fortunately kids heal quickly...

I guess it's way too soon for the "break a leg" jokes to start but I suspect he'll eventually hear that a lot--and get quite tired of it.

Anonymous said...

Oh no! My son Dylan broke his leg playing soccer too. Sending well wishes!

Lori said...

I'm late with my wishes, but hoping your leg is getting better each day, Zach. I have five brothers and sisters and none of us have ever had a broken bone and I think only one or two of the twelve grandkids have had a broken bone so it's all foreign to me! But hey...milk it for all it's worth, bud, and go for the ice cream (dairy builds bones, right?!)

Seriously...sending my best wishes for a speedy recovery.

Anonymous said...

I feel your pain. I am sporting a plaster full leg cast, be glad yours is lighter. See my blog for a girl's take on the being sidelined. Sally

November Rain said...

they say everyone has to break a bone before he is too old :) So we all have done it

Hope you get better soon

sending best wishes from germany
Novy and Fire

Pat said...

Dear Zach I hope your leg has stopped hurting now. The first time I broke my leg I was so surprised that it hurt so much - I didn't think bone would feel like that. However soon I couldn't feel a thing and children's bones, I believe heal more quickly. I have to confess that I have since broken two more legs. No I don't have three - just two - but it was through my own carelessness and now I am VERY careful. Don't tell
Daddy or he will think I am a bad influence. I am sending you a great big hug from an English Grandma.xoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxox
Cheers from Michele!

Lifelong Learner said...


This is a little late in coming, but take it easy on your mom and dad, will ya?

Take care and mend well!

Anonymous said...

Hi Zach,

I'm so sorry to hear about your leg. It's been a few days now, does it itch? I hear a really skinny back scratcher does the job?

Hey Zach, my youngest son is 12 too. Do you like Mario? Because he would love to race you in Mario Kart. He was pretty bummed to hear about a kid his age break his leg. But he says this might be a good time to ask for a Gameboy DS (or a DS game?) Hey, you need something to do while you're waiting to heal, right? *wink*

Get well soon dude and good job on being so brave. (And remember, you're king of the couch right now!)

Unknown said...

Hi Zack. When I was 10 I broke my leg in an accident, and back in the stone age, they put my leg in what's called a Spica cast. It went from my toes all the way up to under my arms. I couldn't move at all except for my head and arms. Boy, it itched in there! I had it for many months, and then when they took it off, I had to learn how to walk all over again.

So you're lucky that you have a nice light fiberglass green cast and not a huge plaster one.

Spend lots of time watching TV and doing puzzles and reading books. But try to keep your muscles strong on your other leg and make sure that you have a nice long stick to scratch those itches inside your cast.

Don't drive your mom and dad TOO crazy, although you can ask for special treats if you use your best blooper face and a bit of judicious whining.

Take care. You'll be fine in a few months!

Nestor Family said...

Here's to a good transition back to school, Zach!

Take care! And I will share with you like I tell my little guys all the time... don't be afraid to ask for help if you need it.

Anonymous said...

Ah...the trials and tribulations of a boy's childhood.
Reminds me of when my grandson broke his leg. (and less than a year later...broke the same leg again!)
As for Zach's virtual cast message:
"Wishing you a good recovery with limited itching."
I'm told a knitting needle slid gently down the cast helps with the horrible itching.