03 February 2009

Badge of Honor (?)

I had already taken a gander at the X-ray of the fourteen year-old boy who sat in front of me this afternoon. I already knew he had a fifth metacarpal (Boxer's) fracture. But, I like to get the story from the horse's mouth, as it were.

"What happened to your hand?"
"I was play-fighting."
"Play-fighting? Looks more like you were fight-fighting."
(kid shrugs his shoulders)
"When did this happen?"
"Sunday--in church."
...? (I raised an eyebrow, and did not say a word.)
"I punched a kid right here." (As he pointed above his father's eyebrow--sitting proudly next to him--and they giggled together.)

It was an interesting bonding moment that I witnessed; one that I must say I did not understand. But not as much as I did not understand what came a little later.

I talk to my patients--a lot. I make sure that they understand what is going on before they walk out the door. If they have questions, they always know they can call, but they rarely do. (I would like to think that is because I explained it so well the first time around.) At any rate, I was in the midst of my fracture speech: showing the X-ray to the child and his father, explaining treatment, healing rates, dos and don'ts while in the splint... Well, at least that was the plan.

I barely had started to talk about the X-ray, and the father interrupted me, "Yeah, yeah, yeah, I know, you already said." I answered, "Actually, I haven't said, you interrupted me." He giggled and continued, "But I have a question. Is he going to lose his knuckle like me? Because I had the same thing happen a long time ago, and now I don't have a knuckle."

It was the only thing he was interested in, and I truly believe that the answer he was looking for was, "Of course, like father, like son."