A Boy, a bike and Bubble

2015
Kljajic, George

A few years ago, I worked as a general practitioner in the suburban areas 1700km north of Vancouver, in a small Aboriginal Community called New Aiyansh. An area north of the Rocky Mountains, that enveloped one bigger and three smaller communities, with a total population of about 6000 people.

Later in the day, I would often go for a light jog or brisk walk to get some fresh air. I would walk five to six kilometers which would usually take me about forty five minutes. My most pleasurable part was the eastern part of town, consisting of newly built homes. The homes were bungalow style two story homes, scattered across the hill overlooking the valley that was three to four kilometres long. At this time in the afternoons, as the sun was setting, it would light up the homes illuminating them in bright golden rays.

I would come across a few locals living in the area, a car driving by. But mostly I would see children playing outside with their ball or riding their bicycles on the street, or at the nearby park.

One cold day in late fall, as I was walking, I noticed a boy crying sitting on the sidewalk curb close to a ditch. He had dark brown hair, and was wearing only a light t-shirt and shorts that were completely covered in mud. Looking at me he was shivering from the cold, in hopes that I would stop and give him a hand.

“What happened, why are you crying,” I asked, as I walked up to him.

Crying, he lifted his left arm showing me his muddy elbow that was covered blood.

The boy fell and badly hurt his left elbow. I gently caressed him on his head, and noticed that his ears and hands were cold. I grabbed the few clean tissues that I had in my pocket to wipe the blood on his elbow, and noticed that it was quite a deep cut masked by dirt and sand. His muscles, ligaments and bones were all intact, and not hurt. I temporarily wrapped his elbow with my tissues, and just then I noticed a dog that was patiently waiting on the side, curiously watching wiggling its tail. The dog was a light brown colour, and had grey eyes that were constantly observing.

“What’s the dog’s name?” I asked.

“His name is Bubble,” the boy answered.

“Ok, can we go now?” I asked, wanting to take him to the clinic to clean his elbow.

“No,” said the boy pointing to the ditch where his bicycle was laying. “My bike.”

Just then I noticed his bike laying in the ditch. The boy was riding his bike, he fell and hurt his elbow, and his bicycle ended up in the ditch next to the sidewalk. I walked a few steps to the bike, picked it up and noticed that it cannot be ridden. The right pedal of the bike was crooked and couldn’t function. I noticed the boy was cold, and I took of my jacket and put it over his shoulders, as I still had a sweater underneath. I started pushing the bicycle with one hand and with the other I tapped the boy on the back to start walking. I looked back and realized that Bubble was following us. We were all cold and hurried to make it to the clinic as soon as possible.

We got to the clinic, and I helped the boy jump on the clinic bed placed in the room for small medical procedures, supplied with the necessary sterilized equipment. I covered him with a blanket, and prepared gauzes and bandages to cover up his wound. After cleaning it with an antibacterial solution, I gently wrapped his elbow with the gauze.

I found his chart and checked that his tetanus shots were all up to date.
At the clinic I found a jacket to give to the boy until he got home, slightly bigger for him, but he was pleased.

“Where do you live?” I asked.

“There in the green house,” the boy was pointing to one of the houses that was just a few hundred meters away.

“What’s your mother’s name?” I asked.

“Mary,” said the boy.

“Does she know where you are?” I asked.

“I don’t know,” said the boy, not seeming too worried.

“Can you walk home now?” I asked.

“No,” said the boy, “I can’t show up like this with my bike, my mom will be very mad, and I can’t even ride it,” explained the boy.
“Ok, come with me to my house, we’ll find something to fix it,” I said. “I might be able to fix it for you,” I said.

We started walking, I was pushing the bike, and Bubble was right behind us. I lived not too far from the clinic in a smaller mobile home, down the street and only a few hundred meters away. When we got there, I found a hammer and some pliers, and without too much effort I was able to fix the bicycle. The bicycle was working and the aftereffects of the fall were hardly noticeable.
The boy seemed pleased, “Thank you very much, you’re some kind of a strange doctor.”

“You’re welcome,” I said.
His dog Bubble was watching everything that was going on, as he was licking the boy’s right hand.

“Wait for a second,” I said going inside to grab a couple of doughnuts leftover from that morning’s breakfast. I came back, and gave one to the boy and one to Bubble. Bubble gobbled down the doughnut in an instant, and looked up to see if I had anymore to give him. But, there was no more doughnuts.

“Go home to your mom now,” I said, “It’s late and she’ll be worried.”
The boy quickly ate the doughnut, jumped on his bicycle and left. Bubble was running after the boy happily wiggling his tail.

The dark outside and the crisp wind blowing were calling for a cold night.

Theme: Community | Communauté
Theme: Patients | Patients
Theme: Physicians | Médecins

Stories in Family Medicine | Récits en médecine familiale [Internet] Mississauga ON: College of Family Physicians of Canada. 2008 --.

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