“Sparkledy” is the word (or, more precisely, non-word) that comes to mind when I think of Britney. She chatters in my front seat on the short drive to the orthopedists’ offices. She’s chattering and sparkling like happy 11-year-old girls are wont to do, commenting on the scenery, telling about the comings and goings of her brothers and sisters, and relating with much enthusiasm the story of her injury, 10 days hence, when her unlucky index finger got slammed in the van door.“It was all my fault,” she says, “because no body else was watching me.”
There is great detail and drama in Britney’s telling, not because of some out-of-whack desire for sympathy or attention, not because she is nervous about visiting a doctor, but because the whole ordeal has just certainly been a very interesting adventure. Granted, it is a rather fascinating thing to slam one’s finger in a van door and get a quick ride to the emergency room and then watch a slew of doctors and nurses gather around excitedly and give it an injection of anesthetic—Can you believe they gave me a shot in my finger?–and then figure out what to do to make it point and flex and grow a pretty fingernail again.
Really, how cool is that?
Britney is one brave and matter-a-fact girl and she does have a rather complicated yowie (much worse than a regular owie) on her hand. Her sad little digit requires several trips back and forth to the doctors. She sends a thank you note to Dr. Lintecum and includes lots of artwork for his medical staff. It’s all on display and everyone is happy to see Britney when she promenades this day through the now familiar halls of OrthoKansas. She is something of a returning celebrity, it seems, greeting fans left and right.
Britney and her pointer are back for a re-check.  It seems even to me, her appointed escort, that all the office is smiling, happy to see Britney and interested in seeing the progress made in the healing of her finger.
I never had a smashed finger as cool as Britney’s, but once when I was 12 years old I fainted. It had something to do with Texas heat and a stomach with nothing in it but Carnation’s Instant Breakfast sloshing around. I was out for a good 15 seconds, enough to draw a crowd in south Fort Worth. I remember being somehow proud and completely fascinated by that event. I fainted, did you hear?
Isn’t it a rite of childhood and the role of a loving community to notice, tongue cluck and marvel at such occurrences? What?  You lost a tooth? What?  You skinned your knee? What? You fell on your vacation? (I include that last one remembering a little girl I knew who spent a whole summer with mixed up nouns. People kept saying she’d fallen on her vacation. Ha! She knew the truth. She’d really fallen on her elbow!)
This past week, when I pulled into the parking lot at the Day House and smiled to see sparkledy Britney on her bike, triumphantly holding her mostly healed finger aloft for my inspection, I was grateful that our guests get the great normalcy of the adventure of stitches and healing and a community that cares.
“Ah, “ I say, approvingly. “It’s looking very good.” I know that Britney still has the clipped stitching from the original sutures carefully tucked away in a zip lock bag, just in case some one wants to see.