He had a splinter.
I was first alerted to the medical drama when Mr Teacher sent me the following email:
"The Boy got a splinter in his finger whilst playing 'it' today from the cladding on one of the buildings. He didn't want me to try and get it out and he said amputation was completely out of the question. I have cleaned it with an antiseptic wipe and have put a plaster on it."
I've written before about pain, and what a strange concept it is. I know The Boy experiences pain daily from his cerebral palsy, I see it on his face as he gets tired, as he struggles to pull himself up the stairs. This pain, 'big' pain, he rarely complains about, in many ways it's upsetting that it's just become a part of his everyday life. But 'little' pain - pain that you can see, like cuts and splinters, will cause a reaction similar to someone who's been seventeen hours on the operating table with no anaesthetic.
By the time he arrived home from school that day his condition appeared stable, until he caught sight of me and then it went straight to critical. He got off the minibus, with Mrs T carrying the patient's bag behind him. The finger was held aloft in the prone position for everyone to see the injury, like ET getting ready to phone home.
Knowing full well what the reaction would be if I tried to remove the splinter, I took the old plaster off and put some magnesium paste on his finger to draw the splinter out (well, I used Vicks vapour rub and then bought magnesium paste the next day - what a marvellous thing google is). Once the plaster was back on the pain became better as he couldn't see it. But it also reinforced the idea that he had an injury.
Then the patient decided to make the best of a bad situation.
He couldn't get himself a drink, as he had a plaster. He couldn't have a bath, as he had a plaster. He couldn't get undressed/dressed as he had a plaster. He couldn't speak on the telephone to say thank you to someone for the late birthday present he'd been bought as he had a plaster. He could however use an iPad and type on a keyboard.
The present he'd been given was a watch to help him tell the time. The next morning I put it on his wrist to show him how to wear it.
"Do you like it?", I said.
"Yeh!", he replied.
"You can wear it to school today"
"I can't because that side's too heavy as I've already got a plaster..."
Although the pain subsided, it was six days of this before the splinter eventually worked its way out. And I can't help thinking The Boy was slightly disappointed when it did. Being a patient is much more fun than having to do things yourself.
It would appear it wasn't only at home where he made the best of the situation. My favourite comment of the week was from Mr Teacher on day three in the home school diary: "The Boy did very good work in Science today despite having only nine fingers...".