Thursday 6 February 2014

Dropped on your head

I will admit that writing this blog is somewhat cathartic.  I get to educate, get things off my chest, and insult various people all at the same time.  While I like sharing my "good saves", I like telling the stories of the stupid, ignorant, irresponsible idiots the most.  And my favourite stories of all are the ones where I'm the idiot.

Unfortunately I don't have many such stories, at least not many that I'm willing to A) share and B) admit to.  Mrs. Bastard might disagree with that statement, but what the hell does she know.  

Um, please don't tell her I said that.

My older brother may also disagree, however.  "You were dropped on your head as a child!" was the classic insult that my brother used to hurl at me whenever I did something stupid, which was fairly often.  My response was usually to yell some idiotic, meaningless insult at him (ie "WHATEVER, YOU BIG STUPID  STUPIDHEAD!") or to do something just as stupid as whatever temporary moment of insanity prompted his comment in the first place, like attacking him.  He was always much larger than I, so my assaults would inevitably fail. 

Regardless, that insult stuck with me, because I couldn't possibly imagine my father (DadBastard) or mother (MumBastard) ever being so irresponsible as to drop me.  But one day recently the insult suddenly hit close to home.  Very close.

It was a perfect day for the pool - warm but not too hot, the sun was shining brightly.  My extended family (parents, siblings, various nieces and nephews, cousins, in-laws) was in town for a little torture session get-together, and we all decided it would be an ideal day to hang out at the pool.  My brother-in-law managed to get all of us guest passes to his neighbourhood pool, so we (read: Mrs. Bastard) packed a huge bag of pool toys (seriously, do we really need 124 sinking toys, 95 floating toys, and 45 water guns?) and a picnic lunch, and we all met there just before noon.

"Wait, BEFORE lunch?  But don't you have to wait 15 minutes after eating before going in the pool?"

No, you don't.  I thought I busted that myth months ago, but I must have missed it.  Now stop interrupting.

The picnic area was at the top of a small hill, and the pool was at the bottom.  After eating (no, I did not wait 15 minutes), it was time to swim.  I slathered my 2-year old son in sunblock (SPF 1500, I believe), picked him up, and started down the hill.

At this point if you remember the title, I'm sure you see where this story is going, even though I clearly did not.

At the very bottom of the hill while taking the very last step, my left foot turned inwards.  Badly.  As my ankle turned, I felt a distinct "pop", and suddenly my entire left lower leg felt like it was on fire.  It may sound trite and contrived, but the next 2 seconds actually felt like 2 minutes, everything seemingly going in super-slow motion.  I lost my balance and saw my son tumble sideways out of my arms, his head going downwards directly towards the concrete pool deck.  In an attempt to prevent the inevitable, I planted off my left foot (and distinctly remember thinking, "THAT WAS A VERY BAD IDEA, STUPID"), and lunged towards him, trying in vain to catch him.  My arms flailed and my ankle burned as I failed to grab anything more than air, and he landed squarely on his head with a clear, unmistakable dull thud on the concrete.  

My son immediately righted himself and paused for a moment, trying to figure out what the hell had just happened.  His eyes darted around, clearly saying "Wait, I was just in Daddy's arms, and now I'm not and ow ow OW OW MY HEAD!  OW OW OW OW!"  The crowd in the pool was suddenly dead silent as all eyes turned to the bumbling idiot and his now-screaming child.  

Terrified that I had just scrambled my son's brain and thwarted any chances of him becoming the next Elon Musk, I did my best to ignore the sensation that a basilisk had latched onto my ankle.  I scooped him up, cradling his head as best I could, and I started limping back up the hill.  My ankle was hurting more and more with each step, but I didn't care.  All I cared about was making sure my son wasn't seriously injured. 

I flopped gingerly into a chair and looked at my little boy, who by this time was no longer crying but was still clutching me around my neck.  I took a quick look at his head and saw no blood, no bump, not even a single scratch.  After looking him over carefully, I realised he wasn't at all hurt, and after heaving the heaviest and most relieved sigh of my life, I tried to extricate him from my neck so I could assess the damage to my ankle.  But my son wouldn't let go.  It was as if he was saying, "NO WAY, Daddy!  You already dropped me once.  I am NOT letting go this time!"  Mrs. Bastard couldn't even get him to release his grip on me. 

For the next several minutes I held him just as tightly as he was holding me until we had both completely calmed down.  By the time it was obvious that he was totally fine, it was even more obvious that I was not.  My ankle and foot were swollen to nearly twice their normal size and starting to turn several very interesting shades of purple, mauve, magenta, and violet.  My brother-in-law brought me a bag of ice, and I tried to keep my foot elevated.
The worst part was that I was on call the following day, and as I hobbled through the hospital towards my next trauma patient (who turned out to be less injured than I), I had to explain to at least 276 different people why I was limping and how careless and stupid I had been.  I considered telling them that I injured myself while fighting off a band of vengeful ninjas, but I thought maybe the truth would be easier to remember. 

Considering I admitted two slip-and-fall patients that week who had open fracture-dislocations of their ankles, I have to consider myself very lucky that my ankle was only severely sprained and has since healed.  But I am far luckier that my son wasn't hurt.  If this episode taught me anything, it's that I's that...uh...that...

Hmm.  Now that I think about it, maybe I actually was dropped on my head as a child. 


  1. When my brother was about a year old, he managed to wiggle out of my (6'7") dad's arms and landed headfirst. He was completely uninjured.

    I'm glad you and your son weren't seriously hurt! I can imagine there's nothing worse than fearing your child has been injured.

  2. My husband was carrying the baby in his carrier out of church, but hadn't fastened him securely. He turned to speak to someone and the (now 26 year old) boy fell out and hit the concrete. He was checked over by all the nurses in the congregation who agreed the father was at fault and the boy was perfect.
    W/ regard to ankles, I was walking across the street to my apartment and for no reason my ankle rolled and I had a massive sprain. I was off work for 2 weeks because I couldn't do my job on crutches. And the plethora of colors it turned was amazing. Not as good as when I broke my 5th metatarsal tripping over a 4x4 in the garage, but close.

  3. I never dropped my son on his head , he did it for me. Basically the now 22 year old walked into every wall , door , or piece of furniture within a quarter mile radius. For the better part of his second year on this planet I thought that he may have been part unicorn. I won't mention the 2 times I closed his hand in my car door because clearly it wasn't my fault ;)

  4. My grandson is a severe type A hemophiliac. He is also a master at landing on his head. Imagine if you had to give your kid a $1000 medication and take him in for a CT scan each and every time he landed on his head. You'd think just the thought of getting an IV would be enough to incent him be careful.

  5. When I was born I was very nearly dropped on my head in the delivery room. The doctor had handed me off to the nurse to be cleaned up and she dropped me and the doctor did a perfect football catch to stop me from falling.

  6. You know you are too gimpy to be at work when the patient says to you, "Honey, if I wasn't having such terrible chest pains, I'd tell you to take that morphine and get off your feet."

    True story!


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