My Mr Tickle arm


It all started with me running up the hill, as you do (when you’re eight) and me tripping over my own foot, as you shouldn’t.

Mid-fall I attempted to do a judo landing. My black-belted aunt had been teaching me judo for some months at that point.

What I should have remembered was that I was crap at judo.

Meaning the fall, of course, went badly wrong.

So badly wrong in fact, that I dislocated my left arm.

For those of you who need a more graphical description, that means I separated the bones from the elbow.

I had my very own Mr Tickle arm.

Though it didn’t work.

It was just all wobbly.

And therefore no good for tickling anybody.

I proved that my lungs worked really well though, screaming so loudly that neighbours from near and far ran out of their houses to see the spectacle.

My mother had me on her lap on the passenger seat of our mini. I was screaming. She was trying to ‘hold me together’.

We drove to the local hospital and they said, “Sorry but you’re too late. We close at 5pm. You’ll have to go to the hospital in the next town.”

So my parents poured me back into the car and drove on for a few miles.

“It would be better if you took her to another, major hospital, here she’d have to wait some time.” Yes, it just so happened I’d rammed some sweets in my gob right before my accident.

My parents poured me back into the car and drove on for quite a few miles.

I was still screaming.

At the major hospital, we were informed we had to wait anyway because of the sweets and the anaesthetic.

I lay on the bed with my extra long arm positioned on two pillows.

Nurses travelled over from various wards to see the exhibit.

Some oohed and aahed. Others covered their hands over their mouths and looked to me like they were about to vomit.

Luckily, in its pillowed position I could not see my arm properly.

Which can only be described as a good thing.

They did not need me vomiting in my bed. I’d already managed to miss the bed pan.

A suspicious doctor looked at my injuries and repeatedly questioned my parents about them. He found my story of tripping over my own foot and attempting to do a judo fall somewhat difficult to believe.

He obviously hadn’t seen me doing judo.

Finally, the evil sweets were wearing off and my time had come to have my arm fixed.

Then another child was rushed in, needing a life-saving operation. So me and my Mr Tickle arm were united for a while longer.

Hopefully he had been a good boy and hadn’t been filling his face with sweets.

Eventually, they took me to the operating room. I saw bright lights and people with masks and heard muffled voices.

I offered to keep my Mr Tickle arm. We’d been together this long…

Then a man approached me with the largest needle in the world. He sprayed it upwards like one of those evil doctors in a film and I found myself wriggling and shouting, “You’re not sticking that in me!!”

Pinned to the table and with my Mr Tickle arm being of absolutely no use in an escape situation, he jabbed me.

I yelled some more, being a particularly vocal child. “I will not sleep! I will not…”

Luckily I did sleep, as apparently they set it wrong and had to re-dislocate it and reset it again.

And fortunately, I did not develop a phobia of needles, as people have been sticking them in me ever since.

20 thoughts on “My Mr Tickle arm”

  1. I have just returned from the judo run with Scout! Luckily no breaks or dislocations today, though I was there when a teenage put out his shoulder – very painful, a while back. I guess it was yesterdays oop that took you back to this?

    1. It was yesterdays op that reminded me – yes.

      Happily the needles are very small nowadays!!

      My mother let me stop judo after that. I was so glad. Does Scout enjoy it?

  2. That was a nasty experience Sarah! And you were very right to scream, very frightening. How is your arm now, no lingering tickling effects dear? Can you still tickle your kids? 😉
    Have a lovely weekend.

    1. I can still tickle my kids, Mar!! Thank goodness ;-).
      I don’t think, even on the second attempt that they set it right. It sits out at a funny angle. 😉

      1. It does work and so far no pain. People warned me when I was younger that I would have pain there.

        Haven’t tried karate – the kids did ninjitsu for a while!!

  3. What an awful and funny experience, thanks for sharing!

    I was one of those kids that needed a life saving operation. Well, originally it was supposed to be an appedectomy but once they opened me up they realized it was something else and I was septic… I was only 7 years old and I do remember the giant needle you talk about. I’m so very glad they don’t ever show those to the kids here (in the US) and just put a cherry flavored mask on their faces first.

    1. All the needles I have had in recent years have been tiny in comparison.

      They have a much better way of dealing with kids (and adults ;-)) now, don’t they?

      Sorry to hear about your op – glad it turned out OK.

  4. I believe every word of your story as I use to constantly look down as I walked in case there was any money someone just happened to leave for me. In doing so I did trip and fall once but fortunately I only skinned my knees. All my mother would say was to watch where I was going. But how can you find money that way! I love this but feel badly for your folks and you that you had to be ‘poured’ into the car and transported again and again. Sometimes you just have to wonder about the whole emergency thing. LOL

    1. 😀

      My sister was worse!! She used to crawl along the floor looking for money that had rolled under gondolas in every shop. Her clothes were always filthy but she was quite successful!

      I think my mum was really shocked that the hospital shut. But I think in those days it was a very small hospital. It turns out, if I’d stayed at the second hospital, I would probably have been treated quicker than if I’d gone to the third!

      I love your story, thanks for making me laugh.

  5. Ooof – I can’t believe the first hospital closed at 5 p.m.! What kind of hospital closes?! And who knew sweets made it difficult to anesthetize children? The more you know… 🙂

  6. Oh, one of my worst fears has been to break/dislocate a bone. I had my first broken bone this year, when I crushed the tip of my finger. Nothing compared to dislocated an entire arm, but still.

    I hate sudden, surprising pain.

    You did a great job of making us feel your pain while reading this. I felt like I was there with Mr. Tickle Arm.

    1. I know what you mean about the sudden surprising pain. The worse one I’ve gone through is falling down the stairs while I was pregnant with my fourth child and breaking my tail-bone. The shock was terrible.

      I think the older you are the more breakable you become, at least that seems to be the case in my life!!

      I hope that your finger is all healed now. I broke mine last year and it still hurts if I catch it. I told you that I’m accident prone, right?

    1. It did hurt, a lot!! Perhaps the screaming helped me a little psychologically.

      Yours could have been caused by the anaesthetic. When I had my op last week, several people woke up screaming. Another had to be restrained because she kept trying to leave her bed (and was too wobbly). Normally I blabber on and completely embarrass myself. I don’t think I said anything this time, though I did discover I pinched the empty sugar packet from my tea. It was in the form of a smiley. I guess I wanted to show the kids. 🙂

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