So the story goes like this...
Damon had a tournament at home, and Patrick's team was at a tournament out of town. So at 5 am on a Friday morning I drove Patrick, Campbell, Kira and Hanna to a game in Guelph. Our plan was to stay at my mother's house for a few days. Despite being without their team captain (because of a suspension), the first game of the tournament, Patrick's team was pretty evenly matched by another team. Patrick's team was up by one goal by the middle of the second period. Patrick was hit by another player, and it appeared to be a perfectly normal clean hit. His shoulder went into the boards. But I could tell immediately that something was different this time. Patrick dropped his shoulder after he came out of the boards and winced. Play continued right in front of him, so he continued to play, but he wasn't using his left arm. Finally Patrick cleared the puck out of his end and Patrick's shift ended. When he got off, he was in pain. He walked to the end of the bench and started taking off his shirt and shoulder pads. Right there, the trainer suggested that his shoulder may be dislocated. Patrick started getting dizzy when he heard those words. I left the kids with another father and raced to the front desk to get a key for the dressing room. The trainer and a father who is an EMT helped him into the dressing room. The father said that it may not be dislocated, but likely it was separated. At this point Patrick felt like he was going to pass out. The pain and the thought of such an injury were too much for him. As the EMT put him into a temporary sling, we could hear the cheers of the other team scoring. By the time I had helped get Patrick dressed and rounded up the other kids, the game was over and his team had lost by a goal. I called the family doctor's office to see if I could bring him there, but my doctor was not in that day, and the other doctors were booked up. We dropped Campbell and Kira off at my sister's house and went to the Emergency Department. We were there for 5 hours. Patrick had to endure a series of x-rays where he had to lift weights while they x-rayed his shoulders. After more than 5 hours, the doctor told us that Patrick had "deep tissue bruising". He said that he probably shouldn't play in the game that evening, but that he could play as early as the following day, if he felt up to it. On the way home, I stopped at the grocery and bumped into one of the ladies with whom I had spoken to earlier at my family doctor's office. I told her about the visit at the E.R., and we talked for a while in the line for the cashier. So we got to my mom's, put ice on Patrick's shoulder, kept him on a steady supply of Advil and settled in for an evening of pizza and movies. The next morning, I was disappointed that Patrick didn't feel like he could play in the game. Campbell and Kira stayed with my mother while I took Hanna and Patrick to watch the team play. With the doctor's words ringing in my ears, I brought his equipment, just in case he felt "up to it". He didn't. We had a birthday party for all of the November birthdays in our family that night, and I was starting to get concerned that Patrick was still complaining about pain in his shoulder. I chalked it up to him having a low pain threshold. What a wimp.
Sunday afternoon we drove home, Patrick still wearing his sling.
Monday morning, Patrick went off to school, arm still in sling. I wrote him a note to ask that he be excused from gym class, just for the day. On Monday afternoon, my family doctor's office called. The secretary asked if Patrick had been to the hospital on the weekend. She asked what the doctor there had said. I told her about the "bruising" and that he had said he could play hockey whenever he wants. She asked if he had referred Patrick to an orthopedic surgeon. I told her no. "Hmm, Well I am sitting here looking at a radiologist's report that says that Patrick has a separated shoulder. Dr. S. says that he should not be using it for a minimum of 2 weeks, but most likely 6. He needs to see an orthopedic surgeon for it though. Is there one out there you want us to refer you to?" I told her I'd call her back, and quickly called Patrick's coach's house. His wife answered and she is an emergency doctor, and told me to who to get a referral to and what other information we needed. I called the secretary back, got the referral and asked for more details from the report. She told me that the radiologist had noted that the severity of the separation was type 1-2. I was overcome by what a horribly insensitive mother I was! My child had been telling me that he was in pain, but I had doubted him and listened instead to a doctor. A doctor who was absolutely WRONG!
On Wednesday, Matt took Patrick to see the specialist. He said that Patrick would need to take a break from hockey, and gym class for 5-6 weeks. By this point, the first aid kit slings that Patrick had been using were giving him a rash around his neck and I had to buy him a proper one with padded straps.
Watching Patrick sit out for so long was painful. His team suffered from his absence and the extended suspension of his team captain, and slid in the standings. When he finally came back, he was not the same player. He was timid in the corners and understandably afraid to hit with his shoulder (a regular part of the game). It took several more weeks before he got his confidence back.
It was inevitable. We can only take it as a reminder that any activity, especially a contact sport like hockey, involves some risk, but the risk is far outweighed by the self-confidence that performing as a skilled hockey player has given a shy boy like Patrick.