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Saturday, March 29, 2014


You know the song from “Cheers.” As the song goes, you want to go where everybody knows your name. It’s about that hometown feeling, having a sense of place, and what a satisfying feeling it is to walk into a place and have everyone know you. That is great. Unless, of course, that place is the emergency room.

I went my entire childhood without visiting the ER for any broken bones, fractures or injuries. My first visit was as a law student with kidney stones (you do NOT want to be 21 years old, at St. Vincent’s in NYC, suffering from kidney stone agony and trying to study for a law school exam while gunshot victims from a Chinese gang shooting are being wheeled in. But that’s another story for another blog).

Even my brother, who wrestled for a large public middle school and high school from 7th grade to 12th grade, did not have a childhood visit to the ER. (I believe his first visit was as a young married dad, while visiting Spain, when he tried to climb a window to get back into the villa they had locked themselves out of. It was not a successful climb)

My husband played JV basketball, youth baseball and was a youth QB but never visited the ER during childhood.

And yet when my husband walked into St. Luke’s ER during the week with Christian, the receptionist said, “Oh hello, young man, back again?” OK, she didn’t actually remember my son’s name but she remembered the face. After all, it was Christian’s 5th trip in eight months. Thank God we have good health insurance. There have been 4 trips due to football (one broken finger, one sprained calf muscle, bruised ribs and fractured ribs).

You know, I had been so happy when my oldest caught the basketball bug. Mainly, because I love, love, love high school basketball. But I also loved that hitting is not part of the sport, as it is in football. Mind you, I didn’t say basketball is not a “contact sport,” because that phrase has lost all meaning to me. Rowing is not a contact sport. However, people get concussions, because it is so easy to get hit in the back of the head with a 12-foot long oar or a 65-foot long crew shell. I have been hit in the back more than once and let me tell you it hurts like the dickens. I also wouldn’t call football a contact sport. It is beyond a contact sport -- it is a hitting sport.

What I’m saying is, you can get injured playing any sport. I know an Irish step dancer, a high school girl, who danced all St. Patrick’s Day on a brutally bruised and swollen toe. She would ice it, put her shoes back on and go back out and dance. And no one was going to stop her. Basically, unless you are very lucky, if your kid plays a sport, he or she is probably going to get injured. The only question is how are you going to handle it.

Back to my story. During basketball practice this week, Christian took an elbow to the face and his nose started bleeding and swelling. At this point, Anthony left it up to him. “Is this a trip home or a trip to the Emergency Room?,” he asked our son. Christian opted for the ER. And why not? St. Luke’s is right on the way home, the staff is incredibly pleasant, we never have to wait and, well, they know him. When I go, I like to bring my Cheetos and my trashy magazines, spread out in the waiting room, and kind of enjoy the downtime. What can I say, we have a whole different perspective on the whole Emergency Room thing. I’m not going to say I have fun there, but it’s just a minor step up from going to the pediatrician’s.

Bottom line, Christian had maybe a hairline fracture, and the main thing was for him to get lots of ice and some rest. Maybe a faceguard (good luck getting him to wear that thing). Anthony asked how long he would be out for and the answer was he doesn’t have to sit out at all. Which is good. Not because we’re trying to win a championship but because my son becomes a ball of nervous energy if he’s not playing sports. It’s an important part of his life, and if it’s important to him then it’s important to us.

And Michael? He likes sports but he doesn’t have the same burning drive to compete. He thoroughly enjoys his activities though. He loves sculling, swimming, skating and Irish step dancing. Someone asked him recently if anyone made fun of him for being in Irish step dancing. “Why would they do that?” Michael asked. “Some kids are like that,” the grown up answered. Michael thought about it. It was clearly a foreign concept. “Well, everybody wishes they knew how to do the Jig,” he said. “And besides, my brother said if anybody makes fun of me just come and tell him.” Why, asked the grown up, is your brother going to beat them up? “Oh no,” said Michael confidently, “he’s going to sue them.” That way, of course, no one ends up in the Emergency Room. After all, I just depleted my stock of Cheetos and People magazine.

Have a great day, everyone! And as always, remember to Count Your Blessings!  Mrs. Lo (Photo of Christian at AAU Newburgh Panthers practice). Join us all weekend for Newburgh AAU Basketball as the Newburgh Panthers take on the Newburgh Zion Lions, today at 8:30 am and 1:30 pm at NYMA, and Sunday at 9:45 am at Sacred Heart.