C. Peevie's hard cast came off on Tuesday. The X-ray of the tibia in question showed that his body was hard at work generating new bone around the spiral fracture. Time to put the saw to the fiberglass and slice that baby right off--so buzz, buzz, and off it came.
The smell was palpable. It mushroomed into the office atmosphere like the aftermath of a nuclear explosion, and the doctor and I both collapsed, unconscious. When we came to, C. Peevie and his mushroom cloud were isolated behind yellow crime scene tape, and men in white suits and gas masks were stuffing the pieces of cast and lumps of cotton padding into Hefty bags marked with the yellow and black universal symbol of Yikes!
C. Peevie was happily scraping layers of cheesy epidermis off, exposing patches of tender, pink skin dotted with manly black hairs. He groaned with the ecstasy of delayed scratching gratification that only the recently de-casted can truly appreciate. Even after the haz-mat team hurled the steaming pile of cast remnants into the incinerator, the smell of decaying monkey carcasses still wafted up from C. Peevie's newly liberated calf.
But we're not done with Broken Leg Drama yet. Now he's wearing a removable velcro knee-high boot. He can place as much weight on his leg as he feels comfortable with, but he's still got to have his crutches with him for the next four weeks. That puts us at December 15 before he's cast- and crutch-free, adding up to a total of three-and-a-half months of limited mobility and limited chore-doing.
C. Peevie has developed an unattractive victimy dependence and sense of entitlement that reaches far beyond his actual medical needs. On cast removal morning, I got him up to get ready to leave with me to take A. Peevie and M. Peevie to school. I was running around, making breakfasts, making lunches, helping kids find missing shoes, reminding them about various books and homework assignments, and doing my best to get the four of us out the door on time.
Meanwhile, C. Peevie was sitting on the couch in his PJs, video game remote control in his hand, hollering, "I need a tissue! I need a tissue!" I ignored him the first few times, but his insistent demands finally broke through my calm and patient exterior; and I started leaking a bit of (justifiable) homicidal rage.
I walked into the living room, smacked the off button on the TV, and squarely confronted Captain IHaveABrokenLegCanYouPleaseWipeMyAss.
"C. Peevie," I said grimly. "Get up off your butt and get your own tissue."
"But there aren't any on this floor," he said, pulling his I Have a Broken Leg card for the 80 jillionth time.
"Then you can walk to the bathroom and use toilet paper like the rest of us do," I said, pointing out the obvious-to-everyone-but-him solution.
"Oh," he said.
I feel like we have regressed about two years in the training of this man-child, who's first sentence was "Me do it!" He has always wanted to do things himself, learn, and take responsibility, and he was growing into an independent, responsible, helpful member of the family. He was making his own oatmeal at age four--and now he has to be reminded to get his own damn Kleenex.
My friend Q said I'm being too hard on him; that I should just let him heal, and let the chores and responsibilities go for now. But she is the parent of one compliant child, and you know what Bill Cosby had to say about that: You're not really a parent until you have more than one child. I figure she doesn't really know jack.
[Note: I searched and googled for a link to the actual Cosby quote, but could only find anecdotal references to it. I know I read it myself, probably in his book Fatherhood.]