Tuesday, December 4, 2007

Spelling Bee at the ER

By now, most of you have heard about Elise's half-gainer off of the monkey bar platform at Orr Park. Basically, she was about to cross the monkey bars and somehow slipped or misstepped and did a swan dive from about 6 1/2 feet in the air, landing on her elbows and head/neck. It was something to see. We were overdue for a 911 moment.

In emergencies, Steve usually airs on the side of caution (as in, let's just get it checked out for fun), and I'm on the opposite end of the spectrum (as in, if there's no protruding bone, shake it off, you'll be fine), so we're learning to meet in the middle. Since there were no other symptoms other than "sore neck", we opted to wait overnight and see how she was in the morning. And of course we ended up in the Children's emergency room Sunday at lunchtime "just for fun". (The experience of taking a child to Children's downtown is another blog for another day.)

So, 2 1/2 hours on the road, three hours in the emergency room, X-Rays and a CT scan, and several hundred dollars later, we have an official diagnosis of a Sore Neck. They put her in a neck brace and told her to take it easy, no PE and no gymnastics for at least a week. The neck brace looks quite impressive, so the sympathy and snuggle factor are off of the scale. I'm talking quality attention--the kind that involves cake and 'oh you poor, sweet thing'. And Elise is no dummy--she likes a good snuggle and hug and cake as good as any other Johnson.

The funniest part of this particular ordeal was when the primary doctor came into see us and explained that she had strained her blah-blah-blah-blah-blah muscles. He said that they were called the SCM for short. She gave him this are-you-sure look and he said, "I can even spell that."

Now, I'm sure that this physician was just being cute, but to Elise The Literal Child, this was cause for an instant challenge.

She paused for a second and said, "Okay, then, go ahead."

He did a double take, and then the doctor seriously and carefully spelled the eighteen syllable word and smiled at his accomplishment with this little self-satisfied grin.

Obviously unimpressed, Elise considered that for a second and then deadpanned, "Well, I can spell Mississippi. That's a long word too."

"Okay, then let's hear it," said the Doctor in all manner of seriousness.

Elise Johnson, Scholar replied with what else but, "M. I. Crooked letter, crooked letter. I. Crooked letter, crooked letter. I. Humpback, humpback, I. (pause, pause, pause.) Of course you understand that the Crooked Letters stand for "s" and the Humpbacks stand for "p", but you get the idea."

Doctor: "That is a very long word."

Then he couldn't keep the straight face anymore and started laughing at her serious little face. But he missed the funniest part. On the way home, from the backseat, Elise piped up with, "I should have chosen to spell 'oxygen' or 'Christmas' or 'university' because those are complicated words. Mississippi might be long, but there are lots of repeat letters, so it's easy. Next time we go up here for an emergency I'll have a better word, so if Carter or Lily or Elaina have an emergency, I get to come too."

Okay then.

(Note to self: pack up all sharp objects so that Elise doesn't stab someone in order to challenge the ER doctor to a re-do.)

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