Chapter 4 1988 - Sweet Child O’ Mine

“Where’s that sweet child o’ mine?” I asked as he was playing Hide and Seek with Chrissy. Chrissy shrieked as her father found her hiding behind the curtain. At two and a half years old, Chrissy was a real handful, but for I and Angela, she was their world.

“Daddy, no!” Chrissy shrieked again, as I began to tickle her. “Stop!” I stopped. “Again!” Her laughter filled the room.

Chrissy knew only a few words, but she loved using them as often as possible. Game time was perfect for increasing her vocabulary.

“Ok, then, you asked for it! Up in the air!” I grabbed Chrissy at the waist and tossed her into the air about two feet above his head. He then let her drop about three feet before reaching down and catching again by the waist.

She screamed once again, delightedly, “Up! Up!” I threw her up again. Then Chrissy threw up, and this time it wasn’t so pretty. The vomit streamed down from the heights and landed directly in the middle of I’s face, as he was looking up to catch Chrissy. Missing her on the way down, she hit hard, and a distinct SNAP! indicated that there were to be consequences of his failure.

Chrissy sat stunned for a moment, until she realized the pain in her arm was not going to go away, and she began to scream in earnest, this time from the pain.

I looked down and also realized the horror of the situation. Chrissy had broken her arm in the fall. Scooping her up quickly, he rushed into the house and called for Angela.

“Angela! Angela!” He panicked a bit as there was no immediate response. “Angela!” Chrissy screamed even louder.

Angela rushed down the stairs screaming herself, “WHAT IS IT?! WHAT’S HAPPENED?!” She arrived at the bottom of the stairs a quickly surveyed the situation, I covered in vomit, Chrissy screaming and holding her arm.

She tried to calm herself, “What’s wrong?” she asked.

“I think Chrissy’s arm is broken. We were playing, and I dropped her on the ground. I heard a snap!” I admitted, leaving out some of the details.

“Then we need to get to the hospital emergency right away. Just calm down and let me have her. I’ll try to calm her down as you clean yourself up.”

I left the room to wash his face, while Angela took a look at the arm. Though the bone was not exposed, it was clear there was something wrong, and a kiss from mommy to make it better was not going to succeed. Surprisingly, Angela was able to remain calm in the light of Chrissy’s wailing and I’s panic.

I returned, ready to hit the road. He stopped to speak to Chrissy. “I’m so sorry, my sweet child. I’m so sorry.” The attention she was getting from her mother and father helped to distract her from the pain, and Angela held her tightly, mindful of the injured arm and said, “Let’s go!”

“I can’t buckle her in,” Angela declared. “I need to hold her. She needs her mother. Please be careful.”

The hospital was a twenty minute drive away, alternating between cries of pain and whimpering sobs as the pain from the broken arm rose and subsided.

“We should have called first,” Angela stated. “Maybe they could have told us what we could do for her in the meantime.”

“If we’d called, we would have waited on the phone for longer that it would take for us to drive there,” I noted. “You just keep her settled down, so I can concentrate on the road. I am not getting into an accident from being careless and distracted.” I realized that what he said perfectly matched the situation which started this whole scenario in the first place.

They arrived at the hospital and I pulled up to the emergency room doors. Angela carefully got out of the vehicle, ensuring that Chrissy’s injury was not further impacted by carelessness. She rushed into the waiting area and observed a short line awaiting services. Chrissy chose that moment to begin to scream loudly. The members in the line turned as one, and a nurse rushed to Chrissy’s side. “What is the problem?” she inquired.

Angela quickly summed up the situation. “I think she’s broken her arm. Her father and she were playing, and she fell. She’s in a lot of pain.”

The nurse tried to pry Chrissy from Angela’s arms, but Chrissy held on even tighter. The nurse adopted a gentle tone.

“Come on darling, we need to take a look at your arm. What’s your name, dear?”

Chrissy looked at her, tears welling, but, for the moment, the screams had stopped. But she didn’t respond.

After a moment, her mother offered, “Her name is Christina. We call her Chrissy.”

“All right, Chrissy, let’s get a good look at your arm.” The nurse touched her injury, only to send her into fits of wailing again.

“I know, I know,” the nurse cooed. “This isn’t going to be easy. But you’re going to be a good girl, aren’t you. You want to make it stop hurting, don’t you?”

To Angela, she remarked, “There’s no doubt about it, the arm is broken. I’m afraid there’s going to be more pain before it gets better. We have to set it, and that’s always a painful operation. You just need to keep her calm while we get a room ready for her. Gentle talking and soothing speech will go a long way to distract her.”

At that moment, I rushed in and his frantic arrival got Chrissy going once again. Angela quickly turned to I. “Shh. It’s going to be fine, but she needs to calm down. You need to calm down. The doctor is going to see her as soon as the room is ready.”

I caught his breath, and it was clear he’d been crying. He sniffed, “I’m just so sorry. It was an accident! I wasn’t thinking!”

With two panicky children at her arms, Angela was nearly worn out herself. “I don’t have time to take care of you and keep Chrissy calm.,” she warned. “You need to get a hold of yourself and calm down. It’s important for Chrissy to see you as strong and supportive. She’s reacting as much to you as the injury. Perhaps, even more. You’ve got to be strong for what’s to come.”

I looked at her quizzically. “What’s to come? What do you mean?”

“The doctor is going to have to set the bone. That is going to be painful, but once done, the pain is going to virtually vanish.”

“I’ve never had a broken bone, I can’t understand what she’s going through,” I commiserated.

“Just imagine great pain, and the panic that sets in from the unknown. Most of it is the panic, the initial pain has probably subsided. The body works well that way. But her being calm is going to go a long way to easing the overall situation.”

A few moments later, the nurse called them in to the treatment room. “Please bring Chrissy in here now, Mrs. Mall.” Angela hadn’t really noticed, but when called by named, she was surprised. She hadn’t given anyone that information upon arriving. “You know me?” she stated.

“Of course I do. I’ve been a fan of your husband’s music for years. I was a very active member of the Golden Fingers fan club in its heyday.” She almost looked proud. Chrissy, distracted by the conversation, allowed the nurse to remove her from her mother’s arms.

As they stepped into the treatment room, Angela turned around and cast a glance back into the waiting room. She began to notice secretive glances towards her and I. She really hadn’t experienced a lot of notoriety and celebrity status during I’s days with the band, so she was surprised at the recognition.

“It’s not that I’m unhappy, but I am rather surprised to be recognized. I’m not used to it, nor do I understand it.”

Now that Angela was distracted, the Doctor gently began to examine Chrissy, while Chrissy was still attentive on Angela’s conversation with the nurse.

“You’re famous in your own right,” she explained. “I AM FEW Hunger has made you a star, whether you know it or not.”

I, also distracted by the conversation, wasn’t quite prepared when Chrissy let out another scream. Both I and Angela turned quickly to see what had happened, and the doctor looked guiltily their way. “I’ve just set the bone. It’s best to do it while everyone is distracted by something else. You can help her calm down now, the pain is going to start to subside, and this shot here will also help.” The doctor quickly injected a syringe into Chrissy’s arm, and Chrissy barely made a reaction. “She’ll be a little numb in a bit, and that will help us as we begin to apply the cast.”

Angela reach out to Chrissy, wiped her tears with a tissue and stroked her hair. “It’s going to be alright. The hurt is going away. The doctor is going to help you some more.”

The doctor began applying a cast. “The break won’t require us to place a cast beyond her elbow, so she still be able to move her arms freely, though it will be a while before she can pick up anything with her hand, as that will be restricted. In a few weeks, we’ll be able to change it for even a smaller cast, and in about three months, it will all be healed.”

“You’ll have to keep the cast dry, so when she bathes, wrap it in plastic, or try you’re best to keep it out of the water,” the nurse offered. “It’s going to be a lot of work for you, but she’ll be fine, and at her age, she’ll forget this whole episode in time.”

As final paperwork began to wrap up, I confessed to Angela. I will never throw her up like that again. She’s too fragile and I don’t want to break her any more. I just want her to stay that sweet child o’ mine.”