Smelly Socks: A standing invitation at the emergency room

By Anita Spisak
May 30, 2013 at 12:30 a.m.

Adam shows off his new cast.

Adam shows off his new cast.

As a child, I never really got hurt. Other than the occasional bad knee scrapes from roller skating outside with my cousins, my childhood was pretty much emergency room free.

So, of course, I end up with a child who just seems to invite accidents to happen. Adam is always hurting his head, knees and elbows or landing on his butt in the worst possible way.

When Adam was 3, he decided that he could see a lot more of what was on the kitchen countertop if he pulled a chair up to the counter and stood on it.

I warned him many times to "be careful" - a phrase that automatically comes out of every parent's mouth and one that I still tire saying to this day.

One day, he was standing at that counter, and the next thing I see is Adam falling with a big thud and blood gushing from his mouth. Immediately, Joe came running out of his office, and we rushed over to Adam, who was crying hysterically and wouldn't let either of us look into his mouth.

My thoughts were racing: "Did he bite off his tongue? Did he knock out a tooth or two?" When we finally got a look inside, we saw that his tooth had bitten right through the middle of his tongue, and there was now a little flap on top of his tongue.

"Should we go to the emergency room?" I frantically asked Joe, who had quickly taken a cold wet washcloth to the tongue. "No, he'll be fine." Apparently, this was nothing new to my husband - who himself had had several similar experiences when he was younger. Eventually, the flap healed, and now, you can't even tell that there was a hole in his tongue.

Then when he was 4, after a very busy and tiring day, he was walking down the basement stairs. It was past his bedtime, and just as he was about to step on the last step, he somehow missed it, causing him to fall head first onto the cold, hard, unforgiving tile. He had a bump the size of a Brussels sprout but managed not to get a concussion.

When he was 5, he got a concussion. I had written about it in an earlier column, but to make a long story short, it was really my fault because I tripped while carrying him. He fell, and the right side of his head hit the concrete. He was in tremendous pain and tears. It was a trip to the ER and, thankfully, temporary short-term memory loss.

Then this past Mother's Day, it happened again. It had started out as a good day. After all, it was Mother's Day. The boys had gotten up early to decorate the house in streamers and papers written with "I Love You" all over my family room.

They had gone through almost two rolls of Scotch Tape and drawn about 10 Mother's Day cards between them. After enough oohs and ahhs from me to satisfy and justify their hard work, we all got ready to go for a nice Mother's Day brunch.

The boys behaved well and even got a few compliments on their behavior. Overall, the day was going rather nicely.

When we got home from the brunch, Adam and Charlie begged to go and play outside with our next-door neighbors. The first thing I heard was the scream. Then I saw the tears and Adam running toward me, holding his arm kind of lopsided and crying at the same time.

My first thought was "Oh dear Lord, it's broken," but upon further inspection, it looked like he had just seriously hurt it. So that night, I wrapped it in an elastic bandage. We awoke the next day to a swollen hand almost double the size of his good hand.

I iced it and bandaged it for school, and by the time he got back home, it was no longer swollen. The rest of the week, he seemed to be doing OK, but every time Joe touched the wrist, Adam would flinch, which is not a good sign of an injury that is supposed to be getting better.

So on about the fourth day after the accident, I did end up taking him to an orthopedist, and he confirmed with X-rays that it was broken. My boy's arm was put into a cast, which he promptly wanted every one to sign - including the doctor.

Hopefully, this will be the last of the accidents for a while. Although with boys, I can only wish.

Anita lives in Chicagoland with her husband, two boys and two dogs one of which is a girl. Email Johanna Bloom or Anita Spisak at



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