Neither Lindy nor I are doctors. Yet, as parents, we are often called upon to diagnose urgent medical situations and offer timely treatment advice to our kids.
Much of our medical guidance centers around the phrases "you'll be fine" and "walk it off" and "try not to bleed on the carpet."
Lindy -- I'm sure she got this from her dad -- regularly uses the phrase, "well, if that's the worst thing that happens to you today, you should consider yourself lucky."
Which, even when it comes to casual advice, is irresponsible at best.
Anyway. We are rarely accused of overreacting.
Our kids have inherited our reticence to admit injury.
When then-8-year-old daughter Hadley was playing baseball, she got hit by a fastball from a kid that I would have been afraid to face. She ran to first, tears falling on the baseline. Wouldn't come out of the game.
In her next at-bat against the same pitcher, she stood in there and swung away. And got what may have been the greatest infield single in the 182-year history of the sport.
We've got plenty of those kinds of stories of our kids toughing it out. Everyone does.
But we have also -- on more than one occasion - -negligently misdiagnosed the severity of injuries.
Last year, when Lindy fell and hurt her ankle, she wondered aloud whether it may be "broken."
Since I’ve played organized sports and sprained my ankles dozens of times, I felt obligated to explain in painstaking detail how the doctor would just tell you rest, ice, wrap, and elevate it anyway. I came to the medical conclusion that she should try what medical personnel refer to as "walking it off."
Lindy, for whatever reason, ignored my advice in favor of listening to her own body.
She went to the doctor. Her foot was broken.
When son Henry was 14, he was downhill skiing with Rochester's High School Ski Club. I got a Friday night phone call from the adviser.
SKI CLUB GUY: Your son fell, and we're pretty sure his wrist is broken.
ME: OK. What emergency room are you going to? We'll meet you.
SKI CLUB GUY: No. That's why I'm calling. Henry won't stop skiing. You need to tell him he has to go to the hospital.
ME: I have no idea where he gets that. Also, has he already tried to "walk it off?"
When we took him to the ER, his wrist was broken.
A few weeks ago, daughter Emma, 14, fell off her skateboard.
Emma said her arm hurt, but wasn't acting like it was a big deal. She tried to walk it off.
When we took her to the ER, her shoulder was dislocated.
So it has gone.
A decade ago, when my dad and I were on a motorcycle trip in Alabama, I wiped out on a gravel road. My elbow hit first. As we were lifting up my bike, my dad looked at me and said "Um, I think I can see your arm bone."
"Oh, that's just a deep cut," I said. "I'll be fine. I just need to walk it off."
Though, inside, I was screaming "Daddy, take my pain away! Please make my arm all better, Daddy!"
Steve Lange is the editor of Rochester Magazine. His column appears every Tuesday.