What Is Your Favourite Childhood Memory?

We all have those childhood memories. Some good, some bad and everything in between. Some of us are fortunate, like I was, to grow up in a home with loving parents and everything I may have needed. Some are not so lucky. But regardless of the childhood and upbringing you experienced, you have those memories. And in a conversation with a friend the other day I was asked what is your favorite childhood memory?

Well in my case, I have a ton. The one that stands out the most however, is the day that I broke my arm. Yes, I know, random as hell. Bare with me..

Photo by Johannes Plenio on Pexels.com

On an early August morning, the summer before sixth grade, I was hanging out with my two best friends at the local campground before the annual Highland Games started in the afternoon. We had walked down to the canteen for something to do and were on our way back when we ran into another girl. Being young, and mean in hindsight, we didn’t want to hang out with this girl, so once we noticed her standing there, we took off running. Our camper was at the top of the campground, and the canteen was at the bottom but we didn’t care.

As we scooted past the playground, young kids swinging and laughing, we quickly jumped over the chain link fence that was lying across the ground. Looking back to see if the other girl was following me at the same moment I jumped over the fence, I felt my toe getting caught and fell forward face first. Instinctively, I put my hand out to catch myself and in doing so felt a sharp jolt. Standing up, I looked down at my arm and noticed something was not right. Although my arm was straight, there was a bump by my wrist that wasn’t supposed to be there. Whether it was from pain or the shock, I couldn’t tell you, but I just started to scream.

Obviously my screaming was not the normal yells of children playing, and immediately an adult working at the entrance kiosk came running out. Noticing the state of my arm, he sent my two friends off to my camper and to find my parents while he went back into the office to grab a clipboard and some supplies. Sitting on the ground outside the kiosk, he started wrapping gauze around my arm as he gingerly placed my arm onto the clipboard for traction. “It’s okay,” he told me calmly as he rubbed my back. “Your parents will be here in a minute.”

It may have only been a few minutes but it felt like forever as I sat in the long grass shaded by the building while I waited for my parents. Pulling up in front of the kiosk, both mom and dad jumped out of the car. Helping to my feet, Dad helped me get into the backseat and buckled in. With his arm wrapped around me, and mom driving the forty minutes to Charlottetown, I noticed and felt every bump. Damn it hurt. A lot. With tears running down my face, I just kept telling them over and over how much it hurt. Reassuring me that we were on the way to the hospital, both Mom and Dad assumed it was probably broken and I was going to need x-rays.

Arriving at the emergency room, Dad grabbed a wheelchair and plopped me into it. Switching out, Dad took over driving while Mom and I went inside the building. I couldn’t help but noticed dad and I got out as mom pulled away to go park the car. The waiting room was full and I can remember thinking to myself that we were going to be there for awhile. I have no recollection of completing triage but before we knew it, we were sitting in the waiting room amongst the other patients. The pain in my arm was escalating and as it became stronger and stronger, I told Mom that I didn’t feel good. Before she was able to ask for help, or even grab a garbage can, I ended up throwing up all over myself, her and the wheelchair.

Trying to stay calm, and with Mom’s reassurance, we made our way into the public bathroom and tried to get me cleaned up. Once she did the best she could, we found ourselves back in the waiting room waiting to be seen. Fast forward four hours and my name was finally called. It was early afternoon at this point and all my eleven year old brain could think about was the Highland games that I was missing at that exact moment. X-rays were painfully taken, I was placed in a secluded room and another hour later the doctor came in to confirm that yes, my arm was broken. He went on to explain that it was actually broken in two places, was a complicated break and would need to put me under in order to reset it. “We have to line up the OR” he said leaving the room.

So, we waited some more. At one point, I remember dozing off and dreamt that I was swimming with friends. In my dream, I was jumping off a diving board, and when I did, I jerked in my sleep. Well, that sure woke me up. Annoyed, cranky and bored, I was ready for this to be done. That restlessness turned into anxiety when the nurse came to get me. The rest is a blur, which in hindsight is a good thing, and before I knew it, I had a cast up past my elbow, a prescription for pain medications and a discharge from the hospital.

Exhausted and disappointed from the long day, Dad went to get the car and pick us up at the door. It was getting dark out now, rounding around 830pm and this time, Mom snuggled into the back seat with me, arms around my shoulder as we made our way back to the campground. “You have a cool cast,” she said trying to reassure me. “Everyone is going to be able to sign it.” I didn’t care about getting it signed. I cared about not being able to swim for the rest of the summer. I cared about missing the Highland Games. I cared about how this was going to disrupt my life. Simple, eleven year old problems, that as an adult are so simple.

Arriving back at the campground, my sisters, two best friends and their parents were anxiously waiting around the campfire for our return. Cards were made. Balloons were blown and snacks were bought. A welcome back/get better party had been created in my absence and I was thrilled. It was a long day, I was still in a lot of discomfort but I couldn’t feel anything but special as they fought over who got to sign my case first. Help was offered for roasting my marshmallows. My little sister, only around five at the time, offered me her teddy bear for the night. I was loved and as I crawled into bed that night, I remember feeling sad that I had a broken arm, but also happy that I had so many people who loved me.

“When all the dust is settled and all the crowds are gone, the things that matter are faith, family and friends.”

– Barbara Bush

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