When I was about 9, I was running through the hall in our house in Mobile, and I stepped on a toothpick that lay hidden in the carpet. I remember feeling/hearing the “pop!” sound it made as it punctured the soft archy part of my foot and I remember the pain I felt as I hit the floor screaming. My brother, in one of only 2.5 random acts of kindness he ever made towards me–God Bless Him–tried to pull the toothpick out of my foot. Which would have worked had the thing not bent upon entry, resulting in him only breaking off the toothpick and leaving about a 1/2 an inch of it in my foot.
My screaming brought my parents running and for the next eternity (or maybe it was 15 minutes), I lay face down on the kitchen table with the lights on bright, while my mom applied Orajel to my foot in an attempt at numbing it while my dad tried to dig out the toothpick.
Freeform memories from that night:
- bright, bright lights
- the pattern on the kitchen floor
- pain, so much pain
- trying to kick and buck, but being held down quite firmly
- thinking, “Why the hell am I NOT at the friggin’ hospital?”
Finally, my dad gave up and took me to the hospital. I can only imagine that we didn’t have insurance at the time and my parents were trying to save themselves the ER fee, but good Lord, I had suffered enough. I remember my dad’s shirt being soaking wet and although I didn’t realize it at the time, but I know now that it was from both the effort of concentrating on cutting into my foot while holding me down, and from the pain that it caused him to be doing this to me.
I know that because last night, just as CareerMom’s family came over for a nice dinner on the back porch in the cool evening air, while running across the deck, MLE shoved a splinter into his foot that was about 3/8 of an inch long. There was crying; there was screaming; there was blood. Being Sunday night, I did what I could to remove the splinter, succeeding in removing about 2/3 of it, but leaving a substantial portion waaay down in his foot where I couldn’t retrieve it without significant digging. After about five minutes of trying to remove the remaining portion, I called it quits and decided we’d take him to the doctor in the morning before it had a chance to get sore on him. In the few minutes that I spent inflicting further pain on my child, I must have sweated out a pint of fluids. All the while, the toothpick episode from my own youth looped through my head until finally, knowing how much this would hurt MLE if I continued, I called it quits.
When my folks finally took me to the ER, I remember the nurse sticking me with a small needle to numb my foot and while my mom talked to me at the head of the table, unbeknownst to me, the doctor cut the toothpick out. I didn’t feel a thing. Seriously, the drugs were THAT good.
I’m hoping my kids’ pediatrician is that good. Meanwhile, I have a date with a belt sander and a hammer sometime in the coming weeks. Yaaah me!