Breaking your arm is not a good idea, unless you want to be a Bone Doctor when you grow up. If you do, ask mummy or daddy if they will help you with a very special homework project that involves just a little snap. Good bones to snap are your radius (on your lower arm behind the thumb) or your ulna, which looks exactly like that big juicy bone that Spot the Dog likes to bury in the garden. You could even aim for a distinction and snap both bones.
One of the first things you will find out when you break your arm is that everyone will say ‘Oh dear, have you hurt your arm?’ This is because they think you might not have noticed the lump of concrete encasing it from the elbow down. Other people (or quite often the same person) will then tell you all about when and how they broke their arm. At length. This is what you will be told.
‘I was standing on the bed cleaning a cobweb off the ceiling when I lost my balance.’
‘I forgot to follow the ‘Working at Heights Policy’ and toppled off a ladder in the school hall.’
‘I was power walking across the corner of a muddy field when a tree root wrapped itself around my foot.’
‘I was experimenting for a special homework project about ‘What I want to be when I grow up’ and I want to be a Bone Doctor.’ (OK, I made that up.)
This is what happened when I found out that exercise is bad for you and got attacked by a tree root. Broken arms hurt. Quite a lot. You will say lots of things like:
‘Oh deary me’; ‘Whoops-a-daisy’; ‘What a silly Billy’ and ‘Sugar.’ You might even find you say some very grown up words that you didn’t know you knew. If you do, your mummy will get very cross with you. My mummy got very cross with me once she finished laughing.
People will give you lots of good advice when you break your arm. They will say things like:
‘Hold it above your head and wrap a bag of frozen peas around it whilst drinking a cup of tea.’ This is not easy. This does not help. It is not good advice if you try to do all three at once.
A much better idea is to ask mummy, daddy or that kind man from the AA to take you to the hospital. This they will do, but they might grumble. Be brave, children, keep focused on that gold star. At the hospital a smiley lady called Triage (what a funny name) will take one look at your ashen face and move you to the Purple Zone. It is a very good idea to look ashen. This is not a good time to practise using your big sister’s make up, particularly if you are a little boy.
If you are very lucky a gorgeous Bone Doctor will be all yours. He will send you off to have a very special selfie taken called an X-ray. You already know what one of these is because it is always the picture used in The Ladybird Book of the Alphabet for ‘X’, the silly writer does not think you are clever enough to spell ‘xylophone’.
Once upon a time a little girl called Debbie had a broken wrist. The very kind gorgeous Bone Doctor told Debbie all about his ‘magic touch’ and normally this would make her very excited, except that her arm was hurting even more now because the silly girl just had to prise off two rings. Taking off all rings straight away is first aid advice that should be higher up the list than frozen peas.
Have you written that in your project, children?
Debbie was then told to suck hard on a rubber thing. This was not as much fun as it sounds. The rubber tube was attached to a cylinder (good cross curriculum link, children) full of laughing gas. Laughing gas does not make you laugh when the now less than gorgeous Bone Doctor uses his ‘magic touch’ to pull the bones back into place. This is called a Closed Reduction. In an Open Reduction they open the flesh. This would definitely not be a good idea with laughing gas. You would need an operation with stronger gas. Otherwise you might cry.
Debbie did not cry.
Debbie was then given a Back Slab. This was after an old man called Tim tried to make Debbie laugh by pushing her wheel chair at high speed down a corridor. Tim has done this before when Debbie once had something grown up called labour pains. It was not funny then either.
How is your project coming along, children? Have you got to the bit I know you will like the most? Choosing the colour for your plaster cast! How exciting!
Red and yellow and pink and green; orange and purple and blue …
… once upon time you could only have white. This did not matter because you got all your friends to write silly messages all over your plaster cast so it became a Work of Art. Or a mess. Nowadays they don’t like a mess and they tell you not to write on your cast because you will be poisoned and die a ghastly death.
At first you will be quite proud of your cast. Six weeks (or even six minutes) later you will hate your cast. It will become smelly and bits of skin and other stuff will flake out the end. At this point you will wish you had chosen pressed wild flowers for your school project. It’s too late to change now children!
Here is a special little task for you – write a list of Ten Things You Can’t Do in an Arm Cast. Here is my list of things you can do in an arm cast.
- Whack annoying old men. Hard.
As part of your project research you will spend hours searching for facts on the internet. You will be so obsessive about this that other children will see your search history and call you unkind names like ‘nutter’ and ‘ hypochondriac’. A boy called Tom did this to Debbie, repeatedly. Tom is a bully. Debbie and Tom don’t talk to each other anymore.
You will find out that even the Ancient Egyptians used closed reduction to heal broken bones, though they had a poor success rate with more complicated fractures. Splints and casts have been used for thousands of years, though in the olden days strange mixtures of honey and tar were used instead of Plaster of Paris, which has only been used relatively recently. It’s only in the last 50 years that wires, screws and metal plates have been inserted, which coincides neatly with all the airport security devices they will set off en-route to Benidorm.
The best part of your research will be when you find the page that Debbie did. This page is now stuck on the door of Debbie’s fridge. It says you must increase your calorie intake by 200% because fractures need extra goodness to heal. Debbie is getting most of this extra goodness from squashed grapes.
Little children, try not to worry about what the worldwide web says about the day the cast comes off. They do not use a chainsaw and you will not discover that underneath the cast you are suffering from Hyper Hirsutism.
On the other hand, this might be true.
It says this on the same page as the calorie advice.
Have fun with your broken arm children!