I sat in the small room on a black plastic chair staring at white walls and irritating motivational framed art. I patiently awaited the doctor as I looked away from the words about leadership and glanced down at my swollen ankle. I shook my head in shame of how I had incurred such an injury.
My current bruised and swollen ankle was nearly as comical as the bloody and scabbed knee I had from two weeks earlier when I fell off the merry-go-round while playing at the park with my sister and our two daughters. I had argued with my sister about who would sit on the merry-go-round with the girls, and who would run and push. I told her I would be the better runner because my shoes were more sensical. She was wearing flip-flops and I felt certain she would fall face first in the wood chips surrounding the play area, still a bit damp and muddy from the rain the day before. She argued that she had been in Cross Country so she should run because she would be able to push faster. I persisted and I was the one who ended up running and pushing the girls while she rode next to them.
My persistence that day led to a pair of muddy jeans and a bloody knee. When I tried to jump up to join them, I landed in those same damp wood chips I was concerned my sister would meet. She did not seem to share similar concern as she let out a hysterical roar of laughter and pointed at me. “Ha! Look at your jeans, you idiot! They’re all muddy! I told you I should push!” She laughed so hard that my niece and own daughter joined in, and their laughs roared to a fever pitch when I declared, “God damn-it! I’m bleeding too!”
My knee, bloodied nearly two weeks ago, still bore a few scabs to accompany the now swollen ankle that currently concerned me. I pushed my embarrassment down and smiled as the young male doctor entered the room, introduced himself, and shook my hand.
He sat behind the small desk near me and placed his tablet on the surface. “Well,” he said, “what brings you here today?”
“I have a playground injury,” I announced.
“Excuse me?” he said, “what did you say?”
“A playground injury,” I reaffirmed, offering no further explanation.
“What?” he inquired once more.
“I fell off the slide when I was playing with my daughter and I twisted my ankle. I think it might be sprained.”
“Is your daughter okay?” he asked, “How old is she?”
“Yes, she’s perfectly fine,” I replied. “She’s two.” If my daughter were injured, don’t you think she would be here with me? I wondered to myself, feeling the embarrassment I had tried to push away rise right back up in me.
“Well, okay,” he said, “Let’s have a look at it.” He didn’t seem very enthusiastic about checking out my silly playground injury, but I’m telling you now that my fucking ankle hurt.
He held out his hand and made a motion indicating that I lift my leg to him. He took my foot in his hand and turned it, confirming “Yes, it is indeed swollen.” He then flexed my foot back and forth to determine my pain tolerance and range of movement.
“So, you fell off the slide, huh?” he said, smiling and chuckling at me as he twisted my foot back and forth.
“Yep,” I replied, now with great self-effacing charm, “Would you also like to see my scabbed knee from when I fell off the merry-go-round earlier?”
“Hmm …” he nodded, as I pulled up my jeans to display my battle scars. He placed my foot back on the floor and then announced, “I think your ankle might be sprained, yes, but can you walk on it?”
I nodded in the affirmative as he then offered the following professional advice, “Well, then, I think you just suck it up and stay off the playground for a while. It appears your daughter may be fine on her own and you require the supervision.”
Thank you Dr. Smartass; thank you.