It’s All Fun and Games Till Someone Breaks an Elbow

by Bill Brenner on June 25, 2012

Duncan is sporting a pink cast on his right arm again, the result of a tumble off my bed last week. He was horsing around with Sean and took a spill over the side, landing on his elbow and fracturing it.

Mood music:

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Duncan went flying when Sean put up his hands to keep his brother from landing on top of him. Now every time someone asks what happened, Duncan points an accusing finger in Sean’s direction. Call it what you will — brothers being brothers, parental fail (I was on the other side of the bed reading, oblivious to the accident about to happen), Duncan being accident prone.

When Duncan came home in another cast, Sean felt terrible about it. He doesn’t like to see his little brother in pain and was equally upset last fall after Duncan fell off a set of monkey bars and broke his right wrist bones.

In addition, there’s a fair amount of guilt swirling around the Brenner house. Sean feels guilty because his reflexive action during a moment of horsing around caused Duncan’s spill. I feel guilty because I should have stopped the horseplay sooner. Erin feels guilty because she was a floor above us during the incident, talking on the phone.

There are teachable moments in all this.

The first is that feeling guilty is pointless; nobody conspired for this to happen. But we can be a little more alert in the future. For my part, the second horseplay starts, I can lay down the law and stop it.

The second lesson is that beating yourself up won’t change the outcome. Bad luck will always show itself in a split-second, before you’re fully able to process what’s about to happen. The tumble off the bed happened faster than the blink of an eye, and that’s the way life is sometimes — fast and sloppy.

As an OCD case, I’ve had to work at that last one. Those of us with clinical OCD are masters at second-guessing ourselves and everyone around us. We’ll replay the event in our heads repeatedly, looking for that quick moment when someone screwed up. But it never helps. In fact, it just makes matters worse because we let the obsession incapacitate us.

The best I can do now — the best all of us can do — is be there for Duncan and help him through it.

Fortunately, Duncan isn’t letting it get him down. He’s still every bit as active as he usually is, and yesterday he even enjoyed a string of bowling.

Despite the cast and sling, he won.

On to the next thing, which will hopefully be a lot less eventful.

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