broken arm!

There were 3 possible expenditure categories for our E.R. visit: (1) parking, subterranean, 2 hours 15 minutes; (2) prescription painkillers, two types, one week's worth of each; and (3) doctor's fees and x-ray costs. And here are the actual expenditures: (1) €2,40 for parking; (2) €1,78 for medicine; and (3) €0 for the healthcare. I was fully aware that we live in a socialized-medicine type of place, but I still didn't see it coming that pocket change for parking would be the biggest expense.

Poor Sam. He fell out of a high climbing apparatus at a playground--a thing that, obviously, is meant to be fallen out of: it's a log suspended horizontally by rope, and it jiggles dangerously when you walk on it. It's Sam-trapment. He fell for it, and fell out of it, landing from 6 feet up on his arm, and then there we were, at the clinique pediatrique of the municipal hospital, an emergency room for children. We didn't fill out any forms. The receptionist took a 30-second Q&A and copied down Sam's social security number--the Luxembourg one, from a nicely laminated card--and sent us to the waiting room. Then a nurse, then a doctor, then the x-ray technician, then back to the doctor, all the while Sam quiet and morose and in a lot of pain, and Alex reminiscing proudly about his one and only hospital visit, back on Long Island, "when I cracked my eye open" (i.e., got a cut near his eye) and "needed surgery" (i.e., a few stitches).

If there's one thing that has filled me with dread about living abroad, it's this situation: my child is hurt, and I'm not understanding what's going on. Luckily, the only person we encountered at the hospital who spoke no English whatsoever was the x-ray technician; she was barking at Sam in Luxembourgeois, but he got the point. Throughout the experience, I had to use a lot more French than was ideal for all parties concerned. But we all muddled through, and I don't feel like I missed anything important.

But the doctors did: the x-rays of his humerus, where the pain was, were all clear, and we were sent away with a sling and painkillers and a return visit in 4 days. At which point we discovered that it's Sam's ulna that's fractured, at the elbow. Not a spot that was x-rayed during the first go-round. Ah well.

Sam is the first in our family to wear a cast; he can't remember anyone at school wearing one. So he's a celebrity, with everyone exclaiming, "Sam! What happened?!" He immediately tired of answering, but I think he likes the asking. He's also exhausted by lugging the heavy cast around, and it hurts his neck, but he's adapted quickly to having the use of only one arm: he can replace magic-marker caps, get his shoes on and off, pull up his pants. And at the playground in Strasbourg this weekend, he started climbing again, a mere two days after his plaster set. We were sort of hoping that the broken arm would teach him a lesson, but it hasn't. Or perhaps it has, but it's a different lesson than we were hoping for.

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