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Making Time: Ice Packs vs Band-Aids
Sometimes the drama is worse than the pain

“My knee! My knee! I can’t move my pillow over my bed, Daddy! Please come help!”

As a new parent, you’re often told that if you keep your reactions in check, your children will as well. So if you stub your toe, you bottle up the hollering you used to do in favor of a more measured response. And if your kid falls, you do your best not to scream in panic because it might scare them and lead to more tears than necessary.

This advice is all well and good until you’re in the moment and watching your kid take a tumble (or you accidentally touch a scalding hot pan yourself). Aside from not cursing like I used to, my wife has said that my facial expressions still speak volumes.

So on a recent Friday night, after a long week of work, I was talking on my cell phone, distracted and tired, when I missed a step heading out to the garage. Thankfully, the boys were already in bed when I landed on the floor of the garage. I made my way back inside and resigned myself to admitting that my clumsiness was due to exhaustion, put my ankle up, iced it, and was ridiculously sore for the next few days.

Of course there was also a bunch of cursing, fuming and complaining about being a klutz along the way. I slept terribly that night and realized I’m not as young as I used to be, as I watched my ankle swell up a bit and felt rather achy.

The very next morning, Brandon was outside playing and took a little spill himself. Brandon said he hurt his knee a bit, but didn’t notice that he also appeared to bite his lip. There were tears as the requisite hugs and kisses were provided, and then he moved on. About 8 hours later, Brandon suddenly determined his knee was terribly, awfully sore. “My knee!” he hollered. He started to sob and asked for an ice pack. A bit later he was still on the couch with a warming ice pack when it was time for bed.

“I can’t walk up the stairs, Daddy. My knee! I can’t!” More tears and screams followed. “I need you to carry me upstairs,” he said. I showed him my swollen ankle and told him it was probably not a good idea. “But Daddy, I can’t move my [now completely warm] ice pack. My knee hurts too much!” So, against the advice of my wife Sarah, I carried him upstairs while limping myself.

My wife then got Brandon ready for bed and, from what I overheard, it sounded as though there must be gushing blood or some serious injury to his knee. He let out some of the loudest screams in recent memory and then ranted that his pants could not be changed, and that he could not go to the bathroom because it hurt his knee too much. He also announced that the only way he could possibly manage walking was while also applying the ice pack to his knee. (Note: the entire affected area fit beneath one child-sized Paw Patrol Band-Aid.)

At about 5 am the next morning, I was awakened to an urgent voice calling out over the monitor to me, “Daddy? Mommy said I cannot get out of bed because of my knee. Can you get me please?” I was sure that was not what my wife said. In fact I’m pretty confident she had told him that, if it hurt that much, he shouldn’t be wandering out of bed throughout the night. By 10 am Brandon finally took his first steps without holding an ice pack to his knee. At first his gait was hesitant, but by 10:05 he was chasing after Adam and playing again.

Then he noticed my new ankle brace. “Daddy, what is that for?” he asked.

“I didn’t pay attention on the steps or hold onto the railing and I fell,” I told him.

“Does it hurt?” he asked. “Yes, a lot,” I answered.

“Oh. Do you need an ice pack?” he inquired. “Actually, I do,” to which he said, “You can have mine, I’m all better now.” Nice offer, but a little warm and a little late.

December 2020
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