I Am Minus One Tooth

“See the difference,” she asked? No, but I knew where this was going.

Back when I was a kid I used to watch Soupy Sales on TV. He would often say, “Be true to your teeth or they’ll be false to you.” Soupy, why didn’t I listen?

I started feeling pain in a left lower molar a few days ago. Tooth pain seldom gets better with time.

I called my periodontist Tuesday and got an appointment for today. I was hoping some seed or other hard bit had become wedged between my tooth and gum. A little expert poking with a sharp instrument to dislodge it and I’d be on my way.

No such luck.

A dental assistant took an x-ray then displayed it and one from last year side-by-side on a monitor mounted on the ceiling.

“See the difference,” she asked?

No, but I knew where this was going.

My poor woobly tooth with its pre-existing root canal and cap was sitting atop an infection. We put it on the DNR list!

I helped pull the nitrous mask over my nose. If I was going to be in pain the least they could do was allow me to relive the sixties!

Brian the periodontist came at me with a syringe full of some sort of ‘caine’ (not co-, not nova-, possibly lyda-). He poked my gum a few times, reloaded and poked again.

The tooth didn’t put up much of a fight. A few seconds of tugging and it was out.

I went home with a mouthful of gauze and clotted blood. This called for a quick nap.

I’m mostly OK now. There’s a little soreness–not much. It was weird to shave while my left cheek was mostly numb.

I’ll miss that tooth. It’s not like we had a great relationship, but I did have a lot invested in it. Chewing won’t be the same without it!

About That Last Entry

Today we also experienced our first funny TSA agent. His name tag said “Wallace” and he was at McCarren in Las Vegas

I could have sworn I entered text in on the last entry! I used my Blackberry which might not be the optimal solution to blog posting–obvi.

More on the trip over the next few days. A few quick words about Southwest Airlines. We are such huge fans. If you think it’s some cramped, cattle call thing you’ve never been aboard.

Today’s flights were no exception to the usual Southwest experience with flight attendants having such a good time it made us have a good time. Our plane change in Chicago was painless and, even adding this stop, took around two hours longer than the coveted non-stop.

Today we also experienced our first funny TSA agent. His name tag said “Wallace” and he was at McCarren in Las Vegas. As we were removing our shoes and loading our stuff onto the X-ray machine he was humming tunes. He asked Helaine to step into “the aquarium,” that glass lined sniffer machine used to make sure my wife isn’t a terrorist.

I asked if I could take photos so you’d know what I was tlaking about. You’ll notice there is no photo.

We’re home now and exhausted.

At The Airport

IMG_9391I’m on my butt, on the thin carpeting, over the very hard floor, at Gate 6 at Bradley International. That’s the only way to sit near an electrical outlet.

I know the label ‘International’ now fits this airport because across the hall Northwest Flight 98 to Amsterdam is getting ready to board.

I went through security with one tiny problem. As my bag was rolling into the x-ray machine my cellphone began to ring! The TSA agent told me it was OK to answer it… but what a bad place to start a conversation.

As I was reconfiguring my baggage – putting my watch on, my wallet in my pocket, my belt on my pants, my laptop back in its case, etc., an older woman was being frisked. She stood there, arms outstretched horizontally at her sides while a guard waved a metal detecting wand up and down her body. Her feet were carefully placed on the foot outlines stenciled on the mat she stood on.

Here’s the deal. I am willing to live with the risk this woman is a terrorist. Let her pass. Is there anyone who could possible consider her a threat?

Frisking her doesn’t make me safer. When I start hearing about gray haired old ladies making trouble, I’ll reevaluate my position. There’s a happy medium between profiling and stupidity.

Seeing her there only went to point out the foolishness of the whole security procedure. Truth is, by noon on September 11, 2001, the type of hijacking we’d experienced that morning was no longer viable. Emboldened passengers, not governmental vigilance, changed the paradigm.

Can you tell I’m upset?

Doctor, Doctor, Give Me The News

I’ve been wearing the boot for my fractured fibula since June 11. I went back to the orthopedist this morning to see how things are going.

My impressions first, then hers.

There’s a whole lot less pain overall and no pain at all when I’m in the boot. I walked all over Midtown Manhattan last Saturday with no problems… until I got home. Even then it was just a little sore, and that passed.

Tuesday at work, as I was walking onto our elevated anchor desk when I caught my foot on something and felt a twinge. Since then, without the boot there is some minor sensitivity, especially if I turn the leg to an uncomfortable position.

Today’s appointment was for 11:30 AM and they took me right on time. A technician took me to the x-ray table&#185, snapping off three shots. They’re still old school at this office with actual film negatives that get chemically processed.

My doctor took a look and was pleased with my results. She pointed to an area which was a darker shade of gray than the surrounding bone. It was where the healing is taking place.

My first x-ray (before I visited her) showed nothing. My next x-ray showed a small off-shade area. This time, the area has grown.

“So, the worse it looks, the better it is,” I asked? Bingo!

She said I was healing quickly, something I was pleased to hear. As you get older… ugh, must I say this… As you got older, nothing works as well as it did when you were young. That includes your recuperative powers.

She said I have no restrictions on walking, as long as the boot is on. That’s good, because my folks are coming in in a few weeks and I need to keep up! We have lots of plans, much of which includes walking.

This stress fracture happened as I was running, trying to get into shape. I’m not anxious to repeat that, but I still want to work on getting fit. Once I’m boot free, I plan on lots of bike riding.

Finally, I don’t know who it was who invented my Velcro encrusted boot, but I am grateful. My leg would be in a cast without this technology. I can remove the boot to shower and sleep. That makes the whole adventure much more palatable.

It’s still a pain, but I haven’t let it change my life.

I will wear the boot another three weeks, until all pain is gone.

&#185 – I still find it comical they throw a washcloth sized lead shield over my mid-section as the x-rays fire through my leg.

My Leg

I’ve been going to physical therapy, trying to get my leg to feel better. X-rays were negative. The assumption was, inflamed tendons.

OK – that’s not medically correct nomenclature, but it’s the best I can do. And it generally describes the prevailing wisdom about my leg… until this afternoon.

The physical therapist was perplexed. My leg was not responding to treatment. Even worse, as he’d press and poke, trying to make it hurt&#185, the pain was inconsistent. It flared in different places at different times.

Sometimes hitting the same spot twice would cause me to wince followed by no pain at all.

Two points he found that brought pain were associated with two separate tendons. It’s unlikely they’re both injured. It’s got to be something else.

The prevailing wisdom has changed. Maybe it’s not tendon related. Maybe it’s a hairline fracture that didn’t show up on the X-ray. I’m now told that’s common.

I’m seeing an orthopedist on Monday. Until then, the only two things I can do for my leg are wrap it in ice and complain.

I’m really good at complaining.

&#185 – Now there’s a job!

Moving Through The System

My leg/ankle is still killing me. I can walk on it and don’t wince in pain, but I am limping and the discomfort has woken me in the middle of the night.

I went to see Steve today. Sock off, pant leg rolled up, on the table… he looked every bit a doctor as he examined me.

He saw enough to send me off for an X-ray. The Temple Medical Center is only a few blocks away.

Though Steve is an ‘old school’ sole practitioner, once you leave his office the medical profession becomes the medical industry. As a patient in this system, you’re a tree on your way to becoming a box of toothpicks.

Unless you’re ‘in the system’ on a regular basis, it’s easy to lose track of how big ‘organized medicine’ is. I parked at the Temple Street Garage and walked the sky bridge to the medical center’s building. After an elevator trip to the ground floor, I walked across a connecting lobby, then up another elevator to the radiology practice.

The waiting room is massive with magazines everywhere and a glass wall behind which the office staff sits. Because my stats are on file for Yale, they are on file here.

A nice woman behind the glass put a hospital bracelet on my left wrist. I went back and sat down to wait my turn.

Before I go on, let me say it’s good to be Geoff in New Haven. When people know you, and are nice to you, it makes an otherwise pedestrian experience enjoyable.

Today, people could not have been nicer. That’s not lost on me. I am grateful for their attention. I cannot understand the attitude of today’s big celebs who forget to be gracious and nice.

I was ushered through a door and into the inner sanctum of medicine. We were deep enough in the building for my cell phone to lose service. There were windowless halls leading to windowless rooms.

I ended up in an X-ray room (I’m sure there’s a proper technical term). Shoes and socks off again, I stretched out on a slab while my foot had a target projected onto it.

The technician threw a lead shield over my private parts! I suppose it’s some sort of historical site worthy of continued protection.


After three X-rays (now digital, thank you), I put my sock on, only to be requested to take another. No sweat.

A nice guy named John showed me my shots. A foot is crazy with bones. It’s tough to imagine how complex that part of your body is. He could see my tissue was swollen. There were no breaks!

So, now it’s on to physical therapy. I have an appointment for tomorrow afternoon.

Whatever bruise, tear and pull I have needs help to heal. And, I have to ask them to figure out exactly what I need to do to start exercising again.

I don’t want to lose my motivation. On the other hand, I also don’t want to limp.

On Our Way

Greetings from Gate 6 at Bradley International Airport. Our plane is listed ‘on time’, though there’s no plane at Gate 6 right now. We fly to Baltimore, stop for dinner, then board another flight to Albuquerque.

The Albuquerque airport is called the “Sunport.” A little too cute for an airport.

I pulled up at the curb, took the bags out of the car and milled around, hoping no policeman would ask me to move along. The idea was to get the bags checked, then drop off the car at long term parking. It worked.

We passed security unscathed. If I would have removed any more clothing, I could have been arrested for indecent exposure.

Some folks were being sent through a ‘puffer.’ I don’t know what it does, but I feel no more secure knowing it’s there. I’m sure GE, whose large logo is festooned on the side, is thrilled.

As we removed our sneakers, a steady beep came from a line of passengers nearby. A fierce looking 80 year old woman was being given the once over. Something she brought through the X-Ray machine wasn’t making the screeners happy.

Considering my feelings about the screening process, you might think I’m making this up. I am not.

As we continued through the screening area, I flashed back to the first real estate closing I ever had – the one for our condo when Helaine and I moved to Connecticut. That morning I looked at all the people sitting at the table and thought, “I’m paying for all these people. Why?”

The TSA’s secure area is now plastered with signs printed on 8 1/2 by 11 inch paper. Take off your shoes. Are your gels in small see-through plastic bags? Are you packing fireworks? It’s beginning to resemble the DMV with its institutionalized surliness.

Where are the good old days when the only signs you saw warned you about Murtala Mohammed Airport?

Oh, there’s one more thing about the airport. At least at this gate, the PA system is set at stun level.

At last check, the weather forecast for our Saturday morning balloon ride was still iffy. I’m hoping for better news.

See you from New Mexico.

Coming Home From Florida

On my way down to Florida I became a Song fan. On my way home, that feeling diminished.

My parents live 20 minutes from the airport so I thought leaving at 12:20 for a 3:05 flight would be fine… and it was. I had my doubts when we ran into bumper-to-bumper stop and go traffic in Lantana, two towns south of West Palm Beach.

After the traffic cleared, I took the new ramp directly from the highway into the airport. When I lived in West Palm 35 years ago this was a little airport where your bags were delivered to you outside the terminal. With all the tourist traffic, this airport is larger than what would conventionally be found in a market this size.

As you approach, a sign directs you to the red or blue terminal. Unfortunately, the signs are reversed! The first one ends with the words “all other airlines.” That’s strange.

An overly anxious skycap met our car at the curb and took my suitcase and golf bags. I carried my camera and computer into the building.

In this post 9/11 world, my carry on bags resemble the accessories counter at Circuit City. I have wires and adapters of all sorts. I also carry a laptop and digital camera. For some reason I usually escape the probing eye of the TSA. Not today.

After removing my sneakers and heading through the magnetometer, I glanced over to see the person running the X-ray machine saying something to the inspector at the end of the line. “Is this bag yours?” It was the computer bag.

My computer bag has lots of pockets, some zippered, others sealed with Velcro. He was going through every one. I offered up if he’d empty it, I’d be glad to put everything back. He looked at me with a scowl that could only be interpreted as, “Do you want to have to take your clothes off?” I took one step back and stared at the floor.

Finally he found his prey. He had been looking for a mini tripod, unidentifiable with X-ray. It was something I packed and never used.

The flight left from Gate C-1. Though that sounds convenient… and I guess it is… the first gate ends up thrusting lots of people who want to be on early, and don’t want to wait in a line, to move into the middle of the hall. That’s where everyone else is walking to the gate.

I should know. I was part of that throng.

Delta/Song uses a zone system. So your boarding pass has a designation of zone one through five. In was assigned row six on the plane and that meant zone two.

Our 757 boarded through a door somewhere around row 10. I turned left, toward the cockpit, while most people turned right.

I sat down and looked out the window. It’s good to leave when it’s gray and rainy. I also marveled at all the rolling stock airlines keep – mostly idle. I’ve never been to an airport that didn’t look like a used car lot for baggage carts, stubby tugs and flight stairs.

As the boarding progressed, a flight attendant on the PA system kept saying which side you could find seats A,B and C or D, E and F. She was right… except for those of us who had turned and walked toward the front!

What makes Song so much more enjoyable than a conventional flight is the satellite TV system. With 24 channels, there’s a lot to watch. The problems with the TV began as soon as it was turned on.

Before I get to the specifics, the system does have a few inherent faults. Song gives out earpieces that are so cheap, they literally tell you to take them home. They are the least comfortable things I have ever put in my ears.

Even with 24 channels, Song has coverage holes. They have NBC, but not ABC, CBS, PBS, or the other lesser over-the-air networks. I flew home with satellite TV during the Jets/Steelers NFL playoff game, but the game wasn’t available to me. NBC has no football.

As the satellite system came on, we were flying through a thick bank of clouds. Satellite TV suffers from rain fade and we were in the midst of clouds droplets. Reception problems were to be expected.

The picture would appear for a few seconds before tearing or distorting or just plain going to black. Sometimes an error message would pop up from the satellite receivers. Though the message buttons said to press for help or more info, and we had touch screens, they weren’t addressable from the seats, making them a source of frustration.

We cleared the clouds, but the TV system still didn’t lock in. The problems affected different channels differently – but affected them all.

After a while the flight attendant came on to tell us there was a continuing problem and she was going to reset the system. She did. It fixed nothing.

I tried to watch but it was tough to stay with a program when it would lock up. Digital lockup is worse that analog since there are no signs if things are getting better or worse.

This would be all I’d write about the TV system, except one more weird thing which happened just before the end of the flight.

I was doing something else, not paying attention to the screen, when it caught my eye. Text was scrolling across the seat back display. I was watching a computer reboot!

This did not happen with either of the two seats adjacent to me. I don’t know if there’s a computer for each display or individual computers for the different services you could be watching (there’s more than just TV to be seen).

Whatever it was, it was happening… and the computer was booting into Linux! I wish I knew which ‘flavor,’ though that scrolled by before I got my wits about me.

The rest of the flight was uneventful and I’d give Song a pass, but they did one thing at the airport that really upset me.

After around 10 minutes of waiting at the carousel, the buzzer buzzed, the carousel started moving and about a dozen bags came off. Then the carousel stopped.

There was no announcement, no excuse. We waited for another 20 minutes until the bags began to come out again.

I think I know what happened because it has happened to me before.

Airplanes don’t come and go, spread out over the day, but come and go in bunches. There were enough baggage handlers for all the flights, but not enough to keep up with the bunches. When it came time to make the decision: get an airplane out on time or get the passengers out on time – the plane won.

So, now I’m home. I’m rested. Later today I’m back to work.

As I write this, it’s snowing here in Connecticut. In Florida it will be in the upper 60s and low 70s this week. Reality never waits.

Root Canal on Tooth Five

It’s a good thing I haven’t named my teeth. Over the years I would have cried for some of them. They have been poked and prodded. Some have survived, some have died, others have gotten a makeover.

As it turns out, my teeth are numbered. I didn’t know that, but when the periodontist sent me to the endodontist, good old number five was getting the work. Number five is on the upper right (from my perspective) side of my mouth.

This all began when a pea sized bubble mysteriously appeared on my gum. I’ve had no pain, but I did have an infection. Within five seconds of seeing the x-ray, Barry the periodontist said root canal was in order. Different specialty – go down the hall to that other office.

My appointment was this morning at 10:00. A few days ago they called to ask me to be there fifteen minutes early to fill out the paperwork.

I am Geoff. However, when it comes to insurance, my drivers license, and my mom when she’s angry, it’s Geoffrey. So, Geoffrey filled out the forms.

I had met Bruce the endodontist before. He had previously renovated another sick tooth. I have no idea what he was doing in my mouth, but I had 100% confidence in him. This is the kind of thing, I suppose, you can sense in someone.

Originally from Korea, where he first became a dentist, he came to the United States and had to train again. He is bright, focused and unbelievably gentle. This is no small feat. Not every dentist is gentle – and it makes a huge difference.

I also like Bruce because he’s a techno guy. He might not admit to that, but it’s true. The last time he worked on me he took pictures of the result with a digital camera. Now his office had a digital x-ray machine with the results displayed on an LCD screen that also hosts the office’s business system.

Up high, where a patient lounging in the chair could see is a flat screen TV. Only in a dentist’s office is the remote control wrapped in clear plastic.

Much of this was wasted on me because the first thing I did was put on the mask and start breathing nitrous oxide. I don’t drink, so I can’t be sure, but this has to be a little bit of what being tipsy is all about.

As soon as the gas took hold, he gave me two injections on the upper gum. I hardly felt them. Certainly, I have never felt any injection less.

The entire root canal took a little over an hour – and that’s it. Two hours of no eating for the filling to set and I’m good to go. Well, not exactly. A root canal is always followed by a crown, so there’s more fun ahead, I suppose.

I drove home, still a little woozy from the gas. A few hours of rest and time for the anesthetic to wear off, and now there’s hardly any discomfort at all.

I am truly amazed.

Greetings From Las Vegas

Good morning from seat 7F, cruising at 35,000 feet. I’m typing this aboard our non-stop Southwest flight to Las Vegas. Outside the plane, the Sun is shining. Puffy white clouds sit thousands of feet below. The ride is smooth.

As is customary on getaway day, we were up early. Very early. Outside, it was pouring. The Accuweather meteorologist on WCBS (they hide the fact that it’s Accuweather providing their forecasts since co-owned WINS has promoted Accuweather exclusivity for years) said there were thunderstorms and flooding in the area.

With a plethora of unused cell phone minutes, I transferred our home phone to my cell number. We’ll see how that works.

Instead of pulling the car out front, I loaded the bags in the garage. Farther to carry, but worth it to stay dry. If I needed to, I could have rearranging for more room, but with casual throws, the bags filled the rear of the Explorer.

It’s a holiday, so the traffic was light. Parking the car and the ride to the terminal were uneventful. Checking the bags was not.

We have locks on our bags. The locks are approved by the TSA and their employees are supposed to have master keys. The screener said he could get a key, but it would be easier if we’d unlock them and he’d see they were locked before hitting the log flume ride they take on their way to the plane.

As Helaine watched, they went through the X-Ray machine and then onto the belt without being relocked. By the time she told me, they were on their way downstairs – unlocked.

It’s not as if someone wants to steal my underwear, but there are some valuable items in there. It was out of the TSA’s control. If Southwest wanted to help, they could… and they did.

My hero is Jeanette, a counter agent at Southwest. She went downstairs and found my bags. And, when the lock wouldn’t work, she called the desk and asked me to help her on the phone.

There’s another reason to like Jeanette. This morning at 12:01 AM, I went on Southwest’s website to print boarding passes. Helaine and Steffie got into Group “A”. Because my ticket used a paper frequent flyer voucher, I couldn’t get a pass. When Jeanette saw our plight, she hand wrote a note on my boarding pass to let us go together.

Neither task was a big deal, but she did both with a smile, even though she was working at an ungodly hour on, what to most folks was, a holiday morning. She is part of the reason we have switched our allegiance to Southwest. There will be a note sent to Southwest commending her when we return.

The flight got off on time.

I like to sleep while flying, and did sleep a little, but this was a “Gus Souflas” flight. Gus is… or probably was a pilot for a major airline. One day, as my friend Howard flew coast-to-coast, Gus decided to note the crossing of every state boundary.

Today’s pilot was on the PA four or five times, always ending with the exact distance to Las Vegas.

From the air it’s astounding to see how much of the country looks empty. No disrespect to folks who live in the ‘great flyover’ but there does seem to be loads of unused space.

We flew south of Denver, over Colorado Springs. As we crossed the Rockies, there were still lots of snow covered peaks. No mountain was ‘capped’ with snow, like an idyllic picture of Mt. Fuji, but there were many veins of white.

We got to Las Vegas right on time. There’s construction in the baggage claim area and things were really jammed up. Thankfully, all our bags came – though the locks never were locked on one of the bags.

We went to Dollar to get our car. We had reserved a Dodge Intrepid, or similar. They were out of that class of car, so they said take a Pacifica – a car I’d never heard of, but turns out to be a six passenger, roomy cross between a van and SUV.

When we went to check out, the amount on our contract was different than what we were quoted. Unreal! It always happens. Is this a scam or what?

I had to go back to the office and work it out, which removes the advantage of being a Dollar Fast Lane member. But, things are now correct – and the car is nice.

My parents are seeing Mama Mia tonight at Mandalay Bay. The tickets were on Helaine’s name. So, we stopped there (and I double parked in what looked like a bus area) and she went to the box office. Then we stopped at Walgreen’s for a few cases of water.

I have never seen Las Vegas more crowded. It’s unreal. The sidewalks are jammed with people and Las Vegas Boulevard moved at a crawl. We turned in to the Mirage valet area and ended up in a long line of cars. Helaine got out while I made my way to the front of the line.

Helaine says nothing she asked for was here! Not a room near the elevator. Not two rooms nearby – one for us, one for Steffie and her friend Ali. Not a Strip view.

Still, the room is very nice. After all, it’s the Mirage – one of the most beautiful hotels in Las Vegas.

On the way to the room we ran into my folks and then my sister and brother-in-law. Only Cousin Michael, Melissa and Max are AWOL. I’m sure we’ll see them soon.

Meanwhile, a call to the Bell Desk says it will be at least 30 minutes until we get our bags! Helaine can’t wait. She’s showering. I’m writing.

More later from Fabulous Las Vegas.

Why Do We Do What We Do?

Have you ever watched a car commercial on TV? At the end, there’s always ‘mouse’ type, often taking away what’s being offered in the commercial – or at least attaching conditions to it.

My question is, why is it necessary to have it there in the first place? Or, if it is necessary, why are requirements satisfied by having it in a form that can’t be read or understood?

Much of what the government mandates, though well intentioned, forces people to go through the motions with no intention of of satisfying the need that led to the mandate in the first place.

Let’s use airport security as another example. Today, we hope, airport security is a high priority. Yet there was screening at airports, with x-ray detectors, before September 11. However, we allowed the airlines to satisfy their safety mandate by going through the motions. It was a system rife with problems, populated with lowest bidder employees.

I don’t mean to pick on the airlines or car dealers, because this also applies to banks and anyone who lends money, drugs and dietary supplements, and a host of other products and services.

The point is, if it’s worth doing, do it right. If going through the motions really is enough, why do it at all?

Fractured Fairy Tales

Before Stefanie was born, Helaine and I had a long running joke. If our child turned out to have any athletic acumen, there should be an investigation.

Let the investigation begin!

Steffie’s school requires students to play sports – period. Nearly everyone, two of the three semesters a year, plays some sort of team sport. Steffie has played basketball, lacrosse and field hockey.

She’s actually been playing basketball since she was in grade school. This can probably be attributed to the very popular University of Connecticut’s women’s basketball team, which is a perennial powerhouse.

Over the past few years, Steffie has gravitated more and more to field hockey and there’s no doubt it’s her favorite sport.

Forget what you’ve heard about women being demure. These girls mix it up. Field hockey is by no means a gentle game under any circumstances. Wooden stick in hand, playing over sometimes rough fields, the ball is hard and travels fast. Shin guards are worn, but that’s about it for padding (except the goalie who wears an unbelievable amount of foam and plastic).

Steffie is very good at this game… and fearless. Playing a defensive position, she knows letting a ball get past her can easily become a goal by the other team.

Today, playing at home, her team dismantled a team from Stamford. With two quick goals in the first few minutes, they never looked back. Steffie played hard and with great skill.

She was fast and relentless, digging out the ball and changing it’s direction. Her position calls for a ball stealer, not a pass catcher. She’s perfect.

Defense is not a glory position. When played properly you don’t hear about those playing it. When played poorly, you’re counting losses.

All went well until there were about 10 minutes to go. In the middle of the action, another player swiped for the ball and caught Steffie’s right hand, middle finger. Most hits wouldn’t have caused a problem, but Steffie’s own stick stopped the motion and concentrated the force into her finger.

She was in pain.

It wasn’t long before Steffie was on the sidelines being attended to by Ethan Victor, who was assisting the trainer. The finger and hand were swelling.

It seemed like the right thing to do to go to the hospital, so Steffie and I drove to Yale/New Haven Children’s Hospital’s Pediatric Emergency Room. When the receptionist was taking down Steffie’s information and asked where she was born, I got to say, “upstairs.” Steffie was born at Yale, like George W. Bush (though he is less likely to admit to any Connecticut connection).

Ethan the trainer, was now Ethan the emergency room trauma specialist! That was a good thing because he helped speed along what would have been a slow and tedious process. The emergency room was jammed. It was “Sports Injury Saturday” with soccer, bicycle and paintball related injuries around us, and more that I don’t know about.

After seeing a few doctors and nurses and getting an X-Ray, we were told Steffie had fractured the tiny bone at the tip of her finger. More than likely, it would be just fine. But, Steffie would have to wear a splint for a while. And, field hockey would be out for two weeks… OK, maybe a week if her pediatrician said it was OK.

We drove home. Steffie was still in pain, but I think there’s a certain satisfying comfort in really knowing what’s wrong with you.

Though she always shies away from pictures and complains I take too many, Steffie agreed to ‘pose’ for this shot to archive the occasion (and possibly email to friends – I never quite understand what she’ll do). She will wear the splint with pride. Her team won.