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It was a beautiful day to get hurt. The sun was shining. The air was warm and mild for November. Heath and I were in the garage tinkering around with our cabinet project some more. Gavin was mountain biking with his scout troop. Gwen and Parker were puttering around the circle on their bikes.

We were just about to tell the kids they were on their last lap. Parker walked his bike up to us. He said he fell off his bike and hurt his wrist. Sure enough, his left wrist was swollen. I felt both wrists to compare. All the bones felt the same but he obviously hurt himself. Heath assured both of us that the wrist was sprained and not broken. Parker couldn’t even remember exactly what happened. Just that he fell off his bike and landed with all his weight on that one wrist.

He was sent inside to watch TV while he rested his wrist with an ice pack. That boy watches way too much TV, especially on weekends. We had kept him from the TV so far that day. I guess every cloud has a silver lining.

Gavin’s scout leaders said they would return from the overnight trip around 1:30 on Saturday. It was about that time. We hadn’t heard from Gavin or any of his leaders. These things never seem to end on time so we weren’t too worried. The day moved on. Heath tried to time his trips to Home Depot to coincide with Gavin’s return. It wasn’t working out.

Finally we heard from one of Gavin’s leaders. He texted Heath saying that Gavin had fallen off his bike a few times and was a little banged up. They should be home sometime after 3:00. My mommy senses were tingling. I tried to remain calm on the outside but inside I was a flurry of worry. How hurt was he really? In typical fashion I expected Gavin to be returned home in ribbons as if he were sent through a paper shredder.

After Parker iced his wrist for a while, Heath gave him Ibuprofen and wrapped his wrist in an ace bandage. Parker asked me if I thought his fingers were purpling or if his hand was just dirty. Everything I could see sticking out of the bandage was a deep shade of throbbing purple. Clearly Heath had wrapped the bandage too tightly. I took it off but before I tried to rewrap it I remembered that I have two wrist braces. One for each wrist. I developed carpal tunnel issues in my wrists after my babies were born.

I seem to only need the braces when I have a small baby to take care of. It has been quite some time since I have used either one. I found the left one and strapped it on Parker. He liked that much better than the ace bandage because it held his wrist in place easier. I liked it better because it’s hard to overtighten it.

Gavin texted that he would be back around 5:15. Terrible timing, kid! Heath listened to the football game in his car while he went to pick Gavin up from the church building across town. Gavin was so excited about watching the football game that he dropped all his camping gear in the garage. It hasn’t moved since. I was surprised to see that he looked completely normal when he came in. I noticed a large band-aid near his elbow but that was it.

I felt relieved and a little let down all at the same time. Our home teacher is one of Gavin’s leaders and he’s the one who told us Gavin had gotten hurt. I had no way of knowing if he was over reporting the injuries or under reporting. A little road burn on his arm seemed like hardly anything worth reporting at all. Ben is our home teacher so maybe he felt extra responsibility to tell us our child was not coming home the way we sent him.

Gavin said he had fun. He was proud of the fact that he fell off his bike four times. He showed me his beat up hands. Each palm had a perfect black circle from where a small pebble punctured the skin. It wasn’t until Sunday morning that I really got a sense of his injuries. Obviously he had to take the band-aid off his arm to shower. The road rash wasn’t bad. I’ve seen much worse on my brother. Still, it actually pained me to clean it before Heath put on a gauze bandage.

Gavin announced, “I fell off a cliff.” You had to be there to hear him say it. He was so proud of himself! It made us all bust up laughing. It reminded me of my brother and all his war wounds from bike riding fails. I could also hear my brother being very disappointed in Gavin’s nearly non-existent wounds. Clearly Gavin didn’t have enough fun if that’s all he had to show for it!

Heath told mountain biking stories. Once he took his priests on a mountain biking activity in the forests north of Seattle. The boys were going down the hill too fast. Heath was too. At one point he was flying out over his handle bars but managed to reconnect his butt with the seat. The boys were not as successful. Complete with cartoon sounds the boys were launched from their bikes into the brush on either side of the trail.

At one point Gavin asked why people fall on their hands. Heath pointed out that we naturally want to stop ourselves and we do that with our hands. Gavin suggested people should fall flat on their chests. We just laughed and said he already tried that. “How did that work out for you?”

Gavin enjoyed watching YouTube videos of professional mountain bikers with Go-Pros on their helmets. He crouched slightly and held his hands out as if he were gripping handlebars as he watched the videos. I could tell he couldn’t wait to get back on his bike and try that again.

After church we went to Tithing Settlement. The Bishop wanted to hear Gavin’s bike riding adventures. I did too. I felt like I hadn’t really heard much of what happened. The Bishop started by saying he heard that Gavin fell a few times but was never afraid to get back on the bike and try again. Gavin would start to talk and his jealous little sister would interrupt. Spotlight on Gwen! She had to share her own stories of how her friends at school have crutches, broken bones, or sprains. Parker tried to say how he fell off his bike spraining his wrist. There was Gwen again with another story about another classmate.

While we didn’t get very far with Gavin’s adventures, I saw a side of him I have never seen before. He was such a guy about the experience. He loved every second of mountain biking, including falling off several times. And he was very proud of the scrapes reminding him of the fun he had.

Parker had mentioned once or twice that the brace smelled bad. He took it off when his arm was starting to itch. He laid his wrist up on a pillow to breathe. That’s when I saw his arm was red. At first I thought it was because he was rubbing it. Then I saw tiny little raised bumps developing all over. Soon his arm looked like it had a full blown rash. I put hydrocortisone on it to relieve the itching. Then I texted my mom for advice.

She had lots of good advice. I felt better when she told me not to worry about letting Parker wear a used brace. She said she would have done the same thing. Given that I received the brace when Gavin was still a baby and we were still living in Utah no less, I think the brace was gross with old bacteria. My mom thinks Parker may have had an allergic reaction to the materials in the brace. It’s possible. Parker has always been the sensitive one likely to have an allergic reaction to things. I just think the brace was old and gross. My mom suggested I burn it. I did toss it in the trash.

Gwen donated two doll pillows to help splint Parker’s wrist at bedtime. He was so funny. He kept posing like The Hulk. Or he would say he just needed an anchor drawn on his arm and he would be Popeye. Then he would sing Popeye the Sailor Man.

This morning Parker seemed to be doing much better. It hurts when he bends his hand too much or he rotates his wrist too quickly. I think it’s starting to get better. I sent him to school with a note to his teacher and PE teacher that he needed to avoid any physical activity that may re-injure his wrist. We wrapped him up in an ace bandage. I need to go shopping for a new brace but now that it’s a new day I don’t feel so insistent on it. I worry the most at night!

Heath and I will see how he’s doing when we meet with his teacher for Parent Teacher Conferences. I’m starting to think his academic success will take center stage to his tender wrist.

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