Boy with broken arm in cast


So last week the school called—never a good thing. My immediate response is to say, What did he do now? But I restrained myself. Turns out it was the school nurse. Punch—in a less-than-elegant move with a soccer goal—may or may not have broken his pinky. I think all parents have the same reaction when a non-life threatening trip to the emergency room is required: There goes my day. The school nurse is both comforting and informative, and encourages me to try an urgent care center.

So Punch and I head off at precisely 1:15 pm. When we arrive at the center on Manchester Road, we are greeted immediately by the receptionist. Here’s a first: no paper work. Turns out we already are in the system—even our insurance information—as the little guy broke a finger in a basketball game last year.

OK then, so far, so good. We head into the back, where a few moments later, the doctor enters and asks Punch what happened. I start to answer and the doctor stops me. That’s OK ma’am, I need him to tell me. As if it’s a social services issue. Of course, I get hyper-defensive and encourage Punch to tell the doctor what happened, emphasizing the fact that I was nowhere near him at the time. The doctor looks at the finger, suspects a break, and a few other people shuffle through performing the standard stuff.

Next come the X-rays and confirmation that the pinky is broken. Then, the talk—care and feeding of said finger. Finally, the splinting. Punch is a trooper, everyone is friendly, but here’s the thing: It took 24 minutes, from the time we walked in the door to the time we headed on our merry way. Twenty-four minutes! They showed us in, examined Punch, X-rayed, bandaged and counseled him in 24 minutes. Plus, he was so excited about his bright red bandage that he wanted to go back to school and show his friends!

The experience has ruined me for doctors’ visits. Anything that takes longer than 24 minutes is now unacceptable; any form that needs filling out, extraneous; any bandaging performed that doesn’t include a color choice, substandard. All I can say is I know where I’m going the next time a minor injury occurs, which I’m guessing will most likely be by the end of this week.

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