The school day had ended and the hall outside my office was quiet. I made notes at my desk and became aware of a small person standing in front of me. I looked up into the face of Betsy, a second grader who stood with her backpack in place, her rather expressionless face surrounded by wisps of blond hair, and her arm stretched toward me with her index finger extended.
I smiled and asked, “How may I help you, Betsy?” She spoke quietly, “I wanted to see you about this finger. I was going to come after lunch but my teacher thought it looked all right and I could see you after school.”
Taking her finger in my hands I examined it gently. Not seeing any visible injury, having her bend it in all directions, I asked, “Did you injure your finger?” She removed her back pack, placed it on the chair near my desk and answered, “Yes, nurse. I hurt it yesterday at home.”
“Maybe you could tell me about that,” I suggested. She took a deep breath and spoke with more animation. “Well, it happened when I was playing in the front yard with a bunch of kids and we started to play on our porch railing—we were going to walk on it. I had done that before—and I told them I had. The older kids laughed and said they bet I couldn’t do it. So, I tried to show them—but this time I fell off, landed on my finger, and it really hurt!” There was a long pause before she added, “All the kids laughed at me.”
“Oh, I am so sorry that happened, Betsy.” She nodded. I continued, “Well, I am glad to see it is healing so well.”
With the beginning of a smile Betsy replied, “Yes it is . . . but I just thought you would want to know.”