It Was Bad But Then Good

When I was in my last semester at Lake Junior High School, we had an assignment from one of my classes (I can’t remember which one) that required us to acquire a certain book that would last us through the short time left to our school-end. I knew that if I was able to get to the Denver branch library real fast after school was over that day, I would have a good chance to find the book in the stacks and wouldn’t have to buy one. I rode my bike to school and so it behooved me to get it out the stacks and ride away fast.

Lake Junior High was built over several square blocks on top of a slight hill. One of the entrances was at Lowell Blvd. and the road down from there to 16th Avenue was sand, not paved. I got up a good rate of speed and had to make a left-hand turn at 16th Avenue. The bike slipped on the sand I went one way off the saddle while the bike went out from under me. I must have put my right hand to break my fall for I landed with all my weight on my open palm, and, as I learned later, broke the two bones in my right arm slightly above the wrist. All I knew then was that I was hurting bad. Lucky for me, I landed just about one block from the Beth Israel Hospital and was able to walk, holding my arm, while a friend of mine pushed the bike for me.

When I got into the hospital, the lady at the reception desk called for an intern who checked over my arm after I told him what had happened. He treated my are carefully, but there were no breaks in the skin, so he really did not think there was anything grossly wrong. I convinced him to call my Mother. He told her that he couldn’t see anything wrong, but that I seemed to be in a lot of pain.

My Mother told him that she would be up to the hospital in a very short time, and that she would call Dr. Miller who was a staff doctor at Beth Israel, a very good surgeon, and also a very good friend of my Father. Not too long after, the intern came back to me, saying that Dr. Miller had called him and that the Doctor was coming to the hospital and had ordered X-rays on my arm. The took the x-rays, made me undress, and put me in bed.

Dr. Miller came bouncing in (that was his regular mode of walking), he had seen the x-rays, told me that I had broken both bones in my arm and that they would take me down to the operating room very shortly. The lousy part of the next couple of hours was that they used ether in those days and it was horrible stuff. When I woke up, I was immediately sick and then had to be cleaned up. I had a big hard cast on my arm that enclosed my fingers and went up to my elbow. Dr. Miller was extremely pleased with his work, but I wasn’t happy to be the one to afford him with this pleasure. They kept me in the hospital over night and I was discharged the next day. I stayed at home several days and then went back to school. I got so many kind inquiries about my well-being, I almost felt like a hero. By the way, my Father had gone out and bought me a copy of the book that caused all my trouble. He actually read the book before he gave it me and said he couldn’t figure out what was such a big deal. I don’t remember what book it was, but who would have thought a person would have to go through so much trouble to get an education.

It was easy for me in class, because it was my right arm, and I had difficulty writing left-handed. Though I tried, oh so bravely, I was not expected to finish any tests. I had so many offers of help from the girls in my class, I found that I could give offense if I turned any of them down.

Before long, the doctor took off the cast but insisted that I keep my arm in a sling the few days left to the end of the semester. At least, he said that it would do any harm after I suggested it to him.

Then came the big day, graduation, finally. In Junior High School we did not have a prom as they do in high school. Lake, however, did have a Senior Dance in the gym in our last week. I went, shyly, to the gym, because I really didn’t know how to dance very well, and, especially, that I could only hold a girl with my left arm.

No girl turned me down! I was not scolded for being so clumsy, and, found out that the girls did not complain at all when I had to press them close against my poor right arm, so pathetically in the absolutely necessary sling. Can you imagine the BLISS? It was the best learning experience I could remember from my total four years at Lake Junior High School.