The Oral Report

Standing up in front of the class was never so much fun!

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Location: River City, United States

The rantings and ravings of a mom of three wonderful girls as she finds new love while working like a dog and shaking her fist at the system. You know. Pretty much like everybody else.

Friday, June 16, 2006

Flashback Friday!

Happy Friday, y'all! Anyone up for a little flashback? I hope so. This week's selection was a collaborative effort, and I had a lot of fun working on it with my writing partner.

The entry, which is about [Kid 2], is one I've been mulling over in my head for some time. She's asked me, for the last couple weeks in fact, if I were going to do my Flashback Friday! about her. I told her I was planning to do it this week.

Though she (I'm pretty sure) meant no insult to my story-telling abilities, advised me that there were parts of the Flashback that I wouldn't know. (I didn't get into the whole thing about how it would be impossible for me not to know parts of my own Flashback...another discussion for another day...I was having fun with her.) She, further, felt that she should write them. I was in no position to argue. Mostly, because I wasn't sure I even understood the situation fully myself.

Consequently, there are sections of this week's Flashback Friday! that happened completely outside of my realm of knowledge. Truly a feat amongst men. Without further ado, here we are, Supergirlfriend and [Kid 2] with this week's Flashback Friday!

[Kid 2] says...

I guess it started out with a regular fun-filled day of the second grade. Nothing special. I was bored and it was almost time for me to go home (Mom interjects with a note - my two oldest kids attended the "before and after school" program which allowed them to have child care, on the school grounds, each day.), so what else should I do to pass the time but something I wasn't supposed to do (okay, Mom wants to interject here, but thinks better of it...use your imaginations). Like playing 'hair salon'. Keep in mind I was eight at the time ( says "like THAT makes a difference...sorry...keep reading).

Then it hit me (sorta literally...sorry Mom again), I was specifically told several times that past week "not to get my hair wet". (Mom note - a few of the girls had been wetting their hair in the bathroom sink or water fountain, mine included...apparently, this day was one of those.) So I panicked!

I asked my friend for some help. Her idea was to fling my head back and forth (presumably to help dry the hair, not to restart the brain). I tried it and I brought my head down, full force, on the edge of a metal table.


It hurt for like five minutes. I remember the teachers thinking I had gotten a nose bleed...which made no sense because blood was flowing over my eyes. Teachers are retards sometimes. (Mom hopes she won't be chastised for expressing a potentially unqualified assessment of the teaching profession.) I remember looking into the bathroom mirror at school and seeing all of the blood. It scared me badly!

The next thing I knew, I was laying on a hospital bed with blue paper over my face, being sewn back together.

***Okay, that's [Kid 2]'s recollection of the events. Here's how it was for me.

SuperGirlfriend says...

I was heading to my kids' school to pick them up after I got off from work on what had been a pretty uneventful day. Ha. Was that about to change! It was about 5:40 when I got there, and as I pulled into the parking lot, I saw an ambulance at the front door of the school. Like most mothers, I'd assume, I felt a knot start forming in my stomach.

Parking the car as quickly as I could, I was fast-walking to the front of the school, mumbling as I walked "Please don't let it be one of mine. Please don't let it be one of mine." over and over again. But the whole time, my brain kept reminding me that I had two in there and so the odds against me were doubled to start.

Approximately 10 feet from the front door, I saw two men helping walk a child out to the ambulance. I could only see their backs, but I recognized the clothes on the child. A wave of nausea hit me fast and hard. This was going to be a bad one.

I called out to her and the men stopped as she turned around. I couldn't have recognized her from the front. I couldn't have known it was my own child. There was a sheet of blood covering the entire front of her body. From the top of her head to the bottom of her shoes. Soaked through in blood.

If I could have run away, I might have. I was frozen there. Not knowing what to do, but knowing that this was more than I could handle.

As a mini "flashback within a flashback", this same child fell a week before her first birthday and caught the corner of an end table in the center of her forehead. I was holding a damp cloth on it and applying pressure, and still the blood was spurting a stream through the cloth AND my fingers. I was terrified and she ended that day by getting her first stitches. Well, one stitch anyway.

Now fast-forward back up to 7 1/2 years later. This was worse than that.

She looked at me and said "I'm okay, Mom." My kids (especially this one)...always trying to help me.

The paramedics told me that they were taking her to the closest hospital open to trauma, which was WAY on the other side of town and not a particularly good hospital. I told them I didn't want her to go there. They advised me that they couldn't 'legally' take her anywhere else, but that if I, her legal guardian, took her to any emergency room, she would not be refused entry. (Think "ER" and the phrase "closed to trauma".)

Consequently, I loaded her into my car with the intention of going to the closest hospital to get her treated. The school principal asked me where I was going to take her and if there was anything he could do. I asked him to contact my husband and tell him he needed to come to school and pick up my oldest daughter. I talked to my oldest daughter briefly and told her that her dad was on the way to get her and that I'd see her at the hospital. And then, I left.

It was difficult for me to look at the huge gash in my daughter's head. I kept feeling faint and I didn't want to pass out.

The ER nurse took us to a suture room and cleaned up her face so that I could see my pretty girl again. But, I could also, more clearly see the damage she'd done. There was a three inch long horizontal tear at her hairline...and it was all the way to her skull.

When she'd been at that same hospital as a (nearly) one year old, I'd had to wait in the waiting area, as they strapped her down and stitched her little head. She was screaming and I couldn't go in there. I just couldn't.

I assured her, this time, that I wouldn't leave the room. I wouldn't abandon her. She wasn't crying. In fact, she hadn't at all that I knew of. Of all my children, she is the bravest and the most pain-tolerant. Not that I'd want something like this to have happened to any of them, but if it had to, this was the one who would handle it best.

She asked me what would happen. I explained that she'd need a shot to numb it. I remember her saying, "Okay. It couldn't hurt more than the cut." To which I replied, "The shot will be IN the cut." Her face took on a "you have GOT to be kidding" look and I hated to have to try to explain how they needed to numb the area to be stitched.

I wanted to talk to her and help her feel safe, but I was having an increasingly difficult time looking at her to talk to her. I sat by her bed and held her hand and when the nurse came in, I told her about my daughter's anxiety at getting a shot in the wound. The nurse explained that they had a 'numbing gel' that may work, but that it was a pretty big wound and that there might not be any way around getting the shot.

[Kid 2] implored me with her eyes to at least try the gel option first. And so they did. And we waited. And we waited. But it wasn't doing the job to sufficiently numb the area. So, with some regret, we finally had to go for the shot. I couldn't watch. Not at all. In fact, thinking about it as I write this makes me want to be sick.

Some point very shortly after the shot, a nurse advised me that my (now ex) husband was in the waiting room. I told [Kid 2] that I'd be right back and I went to tell him what was going on.

"It's bad.", I whispered to him, "It's a big cut and there's alot of blood." He asked what he should do and I told him to call my parents (who lived nearby) and ask them to come stay in the waiting room with [Kid 1], so that he could come back in the room with me and [Kid 2]. And so, he did.

Once he was finally back there with us, I asked him take my place sitting by her bed and holding her hand. I went to the foot of the bed and, in some bizarre Twister-sounding scenario (that I knew she'd be unable to see), I sat on the floor and put my right hand on her right leg and my head between my knees. It helped, but not as much as I'd have liked.

The thing that amazed me most about the entire situation was how calm she was. How incredibly brave. How much she was concerned about MY well-being while she was sitting there with her damned head cracked open!

And so, they stitched her up, and told us to make an appointment with her pediatrician in ten days to have the stitches removed (which we later found out was entirely too long) and we collected up our other youngun' and headed home.

For those in the know (or if you don't, here's a laundry tip), it took me about six large bottles of hydrogen peroxide to get all of the blood out of her shirt, jeans, socks and shoes. But it all came out. The smell was sickening as it did, but the shirt had only been worn twice at that point, and I had to make the effort.

We're lucky that her scar (and it's a doozie) is at her hairline. With [Kid 2]'s permission, I've included a photo of it here.

When she was younger, I always kept her in styles with bangs. As she's gotten older she's abandoned that wisdom. Teenagers...what can you do? Currently, she's wearing a side part that sweeps across her forehead, but even if she parts it in the middle, it's not as obvious to strangers as it is to us.

Every time I see it, without exception, I'm taken back to the raw panic I felt as I was heading to the front door of that school, pleading for it not to be my kid and the dread and fear growing inside of me. It's a feeling I will never be able to forget. Just as I'll never be able to forget the feeling when she turned around and I saw how bad it was for the first time.

Ironically, I've seen her showing off the scar to kids in the neighborhood, and because she's far more the tomboy kid, the accompanying "AWEsome" that comes from the boys as she racks up more 'cool points'.

That's my girl!



Blogger MJ Norton said...

A fine collaboration! Apologies for not getting by here earlier to at least leave that much of a comment.

I've had stitches on my forehead and somewhere on the back of my head, along with some long, deep and nasty ones just below my right knee and above the right ankle (broken bottle hiding in the mud and a jagged chunk of slate thrown like a batarang, respectively) -- believe me, I know the feeling about the thought of someone coming at a gaping wound on one's body with a syringe.

I put my poor mother through some desperate shocks, but I always, stupidly, did it during summer vacations! Even when I broke my arm it was summer vacation time I burnt up. Feh!

6/17/2006 8:51 PM  
Blogger Opus P. Penguin said...

Try a syringe in the eyelid! Ew, ew, ew!! (lonnggg story)

My brother used to get into all kinds of emergency-room scrapes, which in retrospect he thinks are cool but my mother still has nightmares about. Guess it's all in the perspective.

6/18/2006 10:49 AM  
Blogger SuperFiancee said...

Mike -

Thanks for the note! I've forwarded your praises to my co-author and she asked me to pass along a note to you. Due to the nature, I'll send it along via email. Thanks, too, for your note this morning.

As to cranial stitches, this same kid went for round three about 6 years ago. A classic story. My youngest was in having her 6 month check up. My older two girls were in the waiting room. As they were alone, they felt completely comfortable to start brawling and, though I was at the end of the hall in an examination room (with [Kid 3] and her pediatrician), I knew, when I heard that loud thump, that it was my kids. I asked the doctor to watch the baby, walked out to the waiting room, where I saw two perfect angels sitting completely still in their chairs. Uh huh. Okay, everything's fine, huh? So, I went back to the examination room and [Kid 1] comes in about 5 minutes later to tell me that [Kid 2]'s head is bleeding. We ended up getting her 3 stitches in the back of her head at the doctor's office. Geez!! I'm just lucky that this one LOVES milk. Head is as hard as a boulder!!

I hope that I am done with stitches and broken bones [Kid 2 broke her collar bone last year), though. And the one kid has really filled everyone's quota!

Opus -

Tempting as your offer is, I find I just can't accept. I don't WANNA try a syringe in the eyelid (which reminds me of a recurring nightmare I used to have about razorblades in my eyes...ewwwww!). That sounds extraordinarily painful.

6/19/2006 3:57 PM  
Blogger AaA said...

Now me, I'm what you called poised. Or maybe just lucky that way.

While I've had numerous accidents (Extremely Clumsy), I generally avoid any serious injuries that another person might expect to receive during them by simply reacting the right way (Extremely Deft, Very Lucky at Fumble Save rolls).

Case in point:
I'm walking out to my car through a poorly graded section of the parking lot. Stepping down into a pothole, my ankle turns as I step on a rock (didn't see it, probably because of the cigar in my mouth, smoking kills, people, in so many ways!), and I fall forward, right toward the opposite rim of the crater-like pothole (a good 6 feet across). Anyone else would have slammed face-first into that ragged asphalt pothole perimeter and likely shattered their jaw, lost most if not all of their teeth, and possibly even died from skull fracture or driving their nose cartilage into their brain.

Me? I just spat out the cigar, slapped my left hand onto the ground in front of me (driving a piece of gravel into my palm that apparently nicked a nerve, as ever since my left pinky and half of the ring finger are slightly numb) and rolled on my right shoulder. My leather jacket got quite badly scuffed, and my hand stung like the very devil. But I still had my face. I call it a fair trade.

6/19/2006 4:54 PM  
Blogger SuperFiancee said...

Ouch, Ouch, Ouch, Nate!! Poor leather jacket! I'm just kidding. You know I am!

I've had more than my share of graceful ::cough:: moments. Ginger Rogers, I'm not.

Keep on rolling with the punches...literally, I guess.

6/24/2006 6:50 PM  

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