March 2, 2010

A Close Call

davidDavid W. Deuth, CFSP
President, Weerts Funeral Home

Boarding the bus for my very first day of kindergarten, I quickly realized that I had something no one else in my class could boast: a cast from my thumb past the elbow on my left arm.

A few weeks before school began, our family had gathered at my grandparents’ home for a Sunday afternoon get-together. The sound of the fire truck sirens proved more than the curiosity of the grandkids could bear – we all headed off to cross the highway in search of what surely had to be some sort of “Emergency”.

Along with our older cousins, my brother and I tagged along; at 5 years of age and the youngest of the group, I had all I could do to keep up.
Once the commotion settled down (it turned out to be a false alarm), we headed back to our grandparents’ house. Everyone made it back across the highway…except me.

The passing motorist surely didn’t realize that I was lagging in the traffic lane, struggling to keep up with the others who had already safely crossed. Striking my left side, the impact of the car launched me a dozen or more yards airborne before I fell abruptly to the pavement. Vividly I remember being scooped up from the roadway by my dad and cradled in the front seat of my uncle’s car as we sped to the Emergency Room just a few blocks away.

X-rays confirmed that I had broken a couple of bones in my left wrist; miraculously, no other injuries. Soon the bruising and the swelling became evident – both eyes swelled shut and I was pretty well “black and blue all over.” A close call, to be certain.

Thankfully, there was enough time between the accident and the first day of school that the cast was the only visible reminder of this close call. And my classmates thought the cast was pretty cool, too – they all wanted to sign their “autograph.”

After just a few short weeks, the cast had immobilized the broken bones long enough to allow them to fuse and heal. During this time, I had become accustomed to adults telling me how brave I was. And I was beginning to believe it.

Until it was time to remove the cast.

I certainly wasn’t unaccustomed to being at the clinic – my mom worked there. I’d been in and out of that exam/procedure room countless times before. But there was something I’d never seen in that room before: a saw. And it was plugged into the wall outlet.

They tried to convince me it wouldn’t hurt. They tried to get me to laugh and lighten up. They tried to distract me. They tried to tell me how brave I was.

It took four adults to hold me down once they fired up that saw. And although I didn’t feel a thing, I was completely certain they were removing my arm above the elbow.

My mom still has the cast along with other things that moms keep to remember the childhood of their kids. And I still have my arm.

As we find our own kids leaving our nest a little more regularly these days, Linda and I are reminded that all the memories – even the close calls – are precious and treasured.

And somewhere along the way, we’ve come to better appreciate that memories are for keeps.

All of them.

Remember well.

David W. Deuth, CFSP, is the owner of Weerts Funeral Home in Davenport. He can be reached at 563.355.4433 or by email at