Saturday, July 26, 2008

Chop Chop Hockey Stick

During the Sunday morning services at my church, sometime before the sermon we send the smaller kids down to the basement for "Junior Church". A few brave adult volunteers and teenage helpers tell them a Bible story, they colour, have some juice, and play for a while while the folks upstairs listen to the pastor preach, most of us taking notes, a nap, or both in rotation.

A couple of weeks ago, one of the teenage helpers came upstairs to get me during this time, saying that my son had been injured. Nothing terribly serious, I was assured, but he was upset.

I went downstairs to find him sitting in the lap of one of the supervising grownups, crying. He told me that "a bigger boy chopped (his) finger". He held his hand out, and his middle finger was a bit of a mess. It was swollen, and had a long scrape along its length. No blood, but lots of torn skin.

I went to find a bandage - they always seem to make it feel better. By the time I got back, the swelling was noticeably worse. As I put the bandage on - a mistake in hindsight, as we'll soon see - the adult assured me that the incident had been an accident. The kids were playing with hockey sticks, and one got a little too high off the floor. No malice had been intended. I never even found out who the "bigger boy" was, and since it was an accident, I wasn't too worried about it.

I was worried, however, at how swollen my son's finger was by this point. It was turning black, and seemed to be bent at an odd angle. I ran upstairs to get my wife, and we took a family trip to the emergency room.

My son is very resilient. For most of our time in the waiting room, he seemed to have forgotten all about his finger. He looked at books, chatted with the other waiting patients, and generally made a good-natured nuisance of himself.

Things changed a bit when we got to see a doctor. She, of course, needed to see underneath the bandage. By this point he had grown quite accustomed to the bandage, and was not at all inclined to cooperate with its removal. The doctor finally cut it off, after much cajoling and not a little bribery (if I remember correctly, the promise of a popsicle may have been involved).

His finger looked pretty grotesque by this point. He could not bend it on his own, and reacted very badly to the doctor's gentle attempts to help. Unable to tell if it was broken, she sent him for an x-ray.

Thankfully, the x-ray quickly showed that his finger wasn't broken. The doctor recommended ice and aspirin, and the swelling went down over the next couple of days. By about Wednesday, you could hardly tell anything had ever happened to his finger.

Here's the punchline to the story. At some point during the afternoon, I asked him for more detail about how he got hurt. Once again, my son said, "We were playing a game, and that bigger boy chopped me."

"What game were you playing?"

"Chop Chop Hockey Stick."

.....Oh. Well, that explains everything. With a name like that, what could go wrong?

As we drove home from the hospital, my son and I had a conversation that we've had far too many times already.

After reconfirming the name of the game he was playing when injured, I asked, "What did you learn?"

Unhesitantly and confidently, he replied, "Nothing."

I had hoped for "Not to play Chop Chop Hockey Stick again", but I knew in my heart what the answer would be.

As a postscript, I was concerned about how some members of our church might react to this incident. Even though the injury turned out to be minor, I feared overreaction. Perhaps a ban on floor hockey (a ban on Chop Chop Hockey Stick wouldn't bother me as much) and other potentially risky play. As it turned out, nobody overreacted that way. We got a few phone calls over the next week asking how things turned out, and it ended there.

My wife and I were glad it went no further. It's the nature of children to play, sometimes roughly, and sometimes somebody takes a hockey stick to the finger. It happens, and trying to pack kids into nice safe bubble wrap will never change that.

Enough rambling. Here's a blurry picture of my son's injured hand, taken not long after we got home from the emergency room. Sadly, I didn't get a nice clear shot of it. In this picture, he's attempting to crush Indonesia.

1 comment:

RebelAngel said...

Why do I get the feeling that the general idea of Chop chop Hockey stick was to have one's hand very close to a hockey stick as it slammed to the floor? I must be just getting silly. Kids wouldn't play such a game, would they?