Doc Smo here, your pedcast host. Thank you for joining me today for what I hope will be an interesting edition of docsmo.com, the place where we discuss all things pediatric, all the way from the “onesie” to the “three-piecie”…and everything in between. Today I’m going to tell you about an interesting experience I had a few weeks ago when I was doing a check up in the office. The patient and his mother was there, the child being about 10 years old. The subject of trampolines came up (as it always does in my checkups with older children), and I was giving this young man my usual warning about not doing flips on trampoline. I never want to see a child have a serious head or neck injury from a trampoline accident, or any other activity for that matter. While I was warning this child not to do flips on a trampoline because the risk of a serious neck injury, this child’s mom got a really pained look on her face. I stopped the conversation and asked her if anything was wrong, and she proceeded to tell me what happened to her when she was 12 years old… in her backyard, jumping on a trampoline.
Here is what she told us: her family had a trampoline in their backyard for the kids to play on. She wasn’t supposed to be on the trampoline, and she certainly wasn’t supposed to do stunts like flips on it, especially when she was home by herself. But she played on it anyway. Then she told us she was doing a somersault and she flipped off the trampoline and came down on the back of her neck and head. She told us that as soon as she hit the ground she knew something terrible had happened. She was not able to move her arms or legs, and she thought she had broken her neck. Remember, she was by herself, laying on the ground, scared to death to move her head, thinking her neck was broken. Her arms and legs were limp and heavy, not under her control. What a horrible experience, no help in sight, scared to move her neck thinking it was broken, and convinced that she would never move again. What could she do? So she just laid there for what must’ve seemed like an eternity. After about a half an hour of agony, she began to get feeling and movement in her arms and legs. A miracle…perhaps, but more likely the “concussion” to her spine began to clear. After her arms and legs began to move, she finally got up enough nerve to move her neck and she realized that she hadn’t broken neck, but rather she just had a horrible blow to her spine and was temporarily paralyzed.
She had come within millimeters of actually fracturing her spine and being a quadriplegic for the rest of her life, and she knew it. What good fortune she had not to actually break her neck. Finally she got up and kept that fall a secret from everyone, including her parents, until that day in my office! She had never told a soul about her fall until that day in that examining room when she relived every moment of that terrifying event. She knew all too well what I was discussing with her children, and she was glad that we were talking about this subject so that hopefully no other child, especially a child of hers, would ever have to endure such a horrible event… or worse.
So here is the takeaway message from this story for your family: make sure you take the time to share stories of your childhood that might benefit your children, just like this mother did. When your children are old enough, tell them about the people you knew who got into cars after drinking when you were in high school and what terrible things happened to them. Tell them about the kids who got hurt playing with things that they knew they shouldn’t have been playing with like explosives, knives, firearms, or even drugs and alcohol. Tell them what happened to your friends who didn’t take school seriously and do their work, choosing instead to just get by. Make sure you share your treasure trove of life experience with your kids so they can benefit from your experiences. I think you will find that they’re very interested in what you have learned and experienced. Even if they don’t act like they are listening to you, they are probably taking in every word you say. I can guarantee you the kids in that exam room heard every word their mother said that day, and that they will never do flips on trampoline… and that’s a really good thing!
Thanks for sharing some of your precious time with me today. My audience is really growing and for that, I want to thank you. If you are new to the DocSmo blog, take a few minutes to explore literally hundreds of articles and pedcasts. I think you will be glad you did. While you are there or on the DocSmo iTunes site, take a moment to leave a comment or a review. This is your pedcast host, Dr. Paul Smolen, reminding you to move your lips, and tell your kids not to do flips. Until next time.