Well, it’s Day Two of my huge eye. Just to catch you up: I worked until 2 a.m. on Thursday night. Walked out of my office into the hall. Kept the lights off so I wouldn’t wake anyone. Remembered that I left my new magazines by the top of the stairs. Bent over to pick them up. Wham! My eye met the round ball at the top of the banister. Now — an ER visit and 36 hours later — my eye isn’t just cut and bruised, it’s starting to swell up, too. Lovely. Got me thinking, though. As I look back over my 30-something years on earth I realize I had a lot of these stupid injuries. Thankfully, few were — to quote Raymond of Rain Man — Serious Injuries. Most were painful and annoying. Oh, and most were embarrassing. I figured I’d do public service by listing them, along with the lessons I learned, so all the parents out there can warn their kids not to be as clueless as I was.
- Seven stitches in chin. I was in sixth grade — in Little League. I had sold all my raffle tickets, and I was running home along Bunker Avenue. I couldn’t wait to tell my mom. Unfortunately, I was running with my head down. Wham! My body and a parked car made contact. Hard. Aside from the bruised knee (I actually dented the side of the car), I had a nice gash under my chin, too. The lesson: Head up, eyes ahead.
- Broken wrist. A few years later I was working in the Bellmore Townhouse diner. I was near the kitchen doors. I dropped my pen. Bending to pick it up, I put my hand on the Out door. Wham! Someone kicked open the door. It could have been a lot worse. It could have hit me in the head. The lesson: Watch your surroundings. The door that says out is probably going to open in your direction. (You’d think I would have learned this lesson when I was five after getting stitches in my lip because I ran in front of the big metal horse swings at Wantagh Park.)
- Huge goose-egg on head. This one is probably the stupidest one ever. I was dating A-hole. (Sorry, I know this is a family blog, but that’s what he was.) He got mad at me and, like he had before, he put his hands on me. This time, he was strangling me. My cousin and her boyfriend rushed out to stop him, and he let go. What’s that law of physics that says an object in motion? My head kept traveling and hit my cousin’s hip bone. The result was a baseball-size lump on my head. Blue and nasty. It went away eventually, but I still have a small calcification above my right eyebrow from it. This story could have started with a broken nose, too. He slammed the door on my face once. Lesson learned: The first time someone puts his or her hands on you, they are OUT of there. A hitter is probably ALWAYS going to hit you. No excuses, no amount of talking is ever going to stop them. Hear that, @Rihanna?
- Ten stitches in foot. I was in the shower shaving my legs. (Sorry, TMI.) I was in a hurry, so I perched my toes on the first thing I saw: The little washcloth bar on the outside of the built-in soap dish. Crack! The porcelain broke off, nicking the bottom of my second toe. The lesson: Always leave yourself enough time to do what you need to do without rushing around.
- A gazillion stitches to the nether regions. I wanted to give birth sitting up. I knew that. But for my first daughter I let the nurses and midwife tell me what to do. They wanted me lying down. Even though I knew supine position is NOT the way to get a baby out, (“Infants born to mothers in nonsupine positions were delivered with significantly less tearing of the perineum and less vulvar edema”), I listened to them. I pushed for two-plus hours. All eight pounds, five ounce giant head Big Girl came whooshing out at 2:37 p.m. that day. By then, I was very swollen and just ready to tear, according to my then-midwife. (Again, TMI, I know, and I am sorry.) The lesson: Don’t let anyone push you around, and understand that you need to be your own advocate — or find someone who will act as one for you. With Little Girl, I had a new midwife and more confidence. I wanted to give birth in a birthing room sitting up. I was very vocal about this. In fact, I wasn’t going to have it any other way. My amazing midwife Diane Lucks wasn’t going to have it any other way, either. Little Girl slipped out after only three pushes, and did minimal damage on her way out.
What’s the stupidest injury you’ve ever had? What was the lesson you took away from it? Would love to hear about it. (Misery loves company and all…)