Ouch!

Today’s post comes to us from Steve.

Accidents are part of life, and kids are especially likely to take risks or do dumb things that result in injuries. One of my sister’s sons was a wild child who lit fires, jumped off garages, climbed trees, explored dangerous caves, ascended water towers and did other unsafe things. As an experiment, he once bit a wire attached to a lamp, a lamp that was plugged in. Electricity burned a hole in his tongue, sending him to a doctor’s office.

Apart from my one wild nephew, kids in my family have been remarkably prudent and accident-free. My daughter had only two accidents of note. Well, she had three if you count the time a dog bit her, but I blame the dog for that one. That accident had an unanticipated benefit. My daughter had struggled to remember which was her right and which was her left hand. After the bite she knew that her right was her “dog-bite hand,” and never again was confused about left and right.

My grandson is a good example of a kid who is naturally cautious. One afternoon he was walking with scissors in my apartment. My daughter reflexively said, “Be careful Liam!” He wasn’t running, and didn’t appreciate being cautioned. In a quiet voice, Liam responded, “When have you ever seen me not being careful?” I thought that was a nice sentence from someone who was six.

I must have had that same natural caution, for I had very few accidents in spite of living what would now be regarded a risky childhood filled with BB guns, bicycles, bows and arrows, hunting knives and many firearms. While swinging on a very tall swing set at school I used to pump for speed and then “bail out” to sail through the air. In fact, all of the play equipment I used so recklessly as a child would be banned as too dangerous by today’s child safety experts. But I never broke a bone, suffered a concussion or had a cut serious enough to require stitches.

The one exception was when my buddy Mike shot an arrow into me. When I was fourteen I discovered a dump that was heavily infested with rats. The dump, as was true of all such places at that time, was just an open hillside where garbage was strewn willy nilly on the surface. Of course, the place stank from rotting garbage. Plumes of rancid smoke wafted over the dump, making our clothing fragrant.

For reasons that escape me now, my friends and I spent many hours hunting the dump rats with bows and arrows. Although it was a pointless activity, it was challenging. The rats were smart and quick, and they rarely ventured anywhere in sight because they had a fantastic system of tunnels in the rubbish that let them travel unseen.

One day a young rat made the mistake of leaving the security of the tunnels, and it ended up running in little circles around my feet because it apparently didn’t remember where there was an opening to the tunnel complex. I always wore four-buckle black rubber boots for trips to the dump. With the rat running right around my feet I was hopping about in panic. My panic deepened when Mike came up with his bow at full draw—a bow powerful enough to hunt deer—and let loose an arrow. Mike was a superb athlete but somewhat excitable.

I’ll never forget the astonishment of looking at my foot. Mike’s arrow had gone through the boot, through the leather street shoe underneath and was now sticking up proudly like a little flag pole. I limped out of the dump and pulled off my footwear. The arrow had hit my big toe, but apart from that had done little damage.

Back home, I handled the wound the way any teenage boy would have: I kept quiet about the accident because I didn’t want my mother to explode with anxiety. But when I left for school the next day, my mother couldn’t fail to see I was limping, so she forced the story out of me. She was not mollified by my insistence that I was okay because “it was a new, clean arrow that had only been through one rat.”

Did you have childhood accidents? Have you had some close calls? Did you ever do things as a kid that you now know were stupidly risky? Do you remember any painful or unpleasant remedies for childhood mishaps?

51 thoughts on “Ouch!”

  1. My mother was an advocate of metcurochrome. If you didn’t have this experience as a child, it was a stinging antiseptic and bright orange. It really stunk and I always hated it. But you know when you’d scraped your knee or your elbow you didn’t get your choice of topicals, at least not in my house as a kid! Mercurochrome is no longer sold in the United States due to its mercury content.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. The surface medication of my childhood was iodine. You can be thankful for mercurochrome, vs, because iodine stung FAR harder. That’s one of the reasons kids of my generation were locked in a conspiracy to prevent our moms from knowing we’d suffered a cut or abrasion.

      Liked by 3 people

    2. We had Bactine. That stung pretty badly too. Theoretically it was supposed to numb the abrasion while also acting as an antiseptic. But it started to sting right away, and any numbing effect seemed to be slow and negligible.

      Liked by 2 people

  2. The oral medicine equivalent of iodine was cod liver oil. Moms used to see that as a universal cure for childhood ailments. I’ve never tasted it, but kids of my generation hated the taste of cod liver oil. What I had to consume every morning was mineral oil, which was repulsive but not as gross as cod liver oil.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I HATED cod liver oil. At the boarding school we’d each get a tablespoon full with our morning oat meal during the winter months. Some mornings I could handle it, other mornings I just couldn’t. On those mornings, I’d drink my cup of milk, pour my spoonful of cod liver oil into the empty cup, and eat my oatmeal. The nun’s wouldn’t discover my sin until my cup hit the dishwater. They knew instantly what and who the culprit was. Other mornings I’d just sit there with my spoonful of cod liver oil and refuse to ingest it. Everyone else would leave for class after breakfast, and I’d still be sitting there stubbornly refusing to put it in my mouth. God how I hated cod liver oil; the taste stayed with you for hours.

      Is that you to the left in the header photo, Steve?

      Liked by 3 people

        1. It probably looks like Jim is carrying a firearm, but that’s just a BB gun. They lacked the power to injure anyone (in spite of all the talk in “A Christmas Story” about how a BB gun will “shoot your eye out.”)

          Liked by 3 people

      1. There are a handful of things that I was able to escape in my childhood because my mother was reacting so violently to her childhood. Mineral oil and cod liver oil two things that she was dosed with regularly and she always vowed she would never do that to her own children..

        Liked by 2 people

  3. RIse and Shine, Baboons,

    Life was a daily accident for me as a child—I was always into something. And I learned to ride a bicycle fairly early. My first bike was a rusty old boys’ bike. That supplied an ever present scrape on the knee complete with a scab, or even more painful a bruise on the crotch when I would land on the bar. That hurt. When I was 6 or 7 yo, I was at my grandparents’ farm where we were playing kickball at dusk. I needed the outhouse so started the trip off the field to the loo, when I ran into a wire on a device of which I do not know the name. I could not see it on the ground at dusk. The wire stabbed my leg and stopped at the bone. That was the most serious accident until age 19 when I broke my wrist ice skating. The broken wrist produced arthritis which speaks to me daily.

    My mother used both iodine and mercurochrome on injuries that required disinfectant. When I became a bit older I heard about the painless hydrogen peroxide. I purchased the family’s first bottle of that at Rexall’s Pharmacy with my allowance money just for the painless application. It fuzzed in interesting patterns on the injuries which made it even more fascinating.

    Liked by 6 people

    1. Hydrogen peroxide- I could not come up with that name! That’s what I was threatened with as a kid. Must have been some wound first that stung and I never wanted it again.

      Like

  4. i started at age 3 opening the dresser drawers to climb to the top of the tall dresser and as it came down on top of me the statue of the virgin mary broke on may face and gave me my first stitches and a precursor of things to come
    lots of stitches over the years
    sled runner in 2nd grade with 60 stitches on left cheek was traumatic
    no broken bones for years
    made up for it later with lots of broken stuff
    i practice falling with the tuck and roll now because i still go fast and take chances

    Liked by 3 people

    1. That’s a fascinating image, tim, getting stitches because a statue of Virgin Mary broke on your face.

      I didn’t suffer stitches until I was in my late 40s. I played racquetball with an older guy who was extremely aggressive about dominating the center of the court. When I tried to play there he clobbered my head and sent m to the clinic for stitches.

      Liked by 3 people

      1. I feel like we should all be knocking on wood today as we talk about these kinds of things. Particularly me because in my entire life I have never had stitches.

        Liked by 3 people

        1. They make the area numb before stitching, but it still is a scary thing. My daughter once fell in a window well, gashing her knee badly enough she needed stitches. We sat in a little clinic waiting room for a long time before the doctor came around to sew her up. In the room right beside ours, a kid–a very histrionic kid–was getting stitches. I was trying to keep my daughter calm, but this kid hollered like an air raid siren. “Stitches? Oh, god, not stitches! That HURTS! Oh, god that hurts! I thought doctors were supposed to be nice to kids, but YOU’RE KILLING ME!!!”

          Liked by 1 person

  5. Where to start? Between accidents and illnesses (one that nearly did me in), it’s probably a miracle that I survived childhood. As kids, my friends and I did all kinds of stupid stuff – climbing to the top of the swingset, climbing trees not meant to be climbed, playing at new house construction sites, riding bikes in ways not intended, and so on.There were numerous abrasions, cuts, sprains, stitches, etc. Good thing that Mom was a nurse and we had a well stocked medicine cabinet (she got samples from the clinic where she worked). I don’t specifically remember mercurochrome but vividly remember Bactine for scrapes. I’ve also had several broken bones throughout my life: left ring finger (fall off a swing), right tibia (downhill skiing), left wrist (tripped and fell at work), and left femur/hip (tripped and fell playing pickleball – was diagnosed with osteoporosis while being treated). This sounds like I am a klutz but I really am not – at least not compared to my sisters.

    Liked by 5 people

  6. I’ve already told you about my femur fractured in two places in a sledding accident when I was three and one-half years old. That landed me in the hospital for several months. I did nothing to cause or deserve that. I’ve also told you about my spectacular bicycle accident when I was six or seven. That resulted in lots of iodine and band aids, and scars on my thighs that lasted years. That was entirely my own doing.

    A downhill skiing accident when I was thirteen resulted in a couple of compound fractures in my lower spine. There was at least one quasi serious ice skating mishap; a crash that involved several kids and a skate embedded in my shin. When I was eighteen I cracked my skull open on a diving springboard. It was a small wound, but the amount of blood was impressive. A few stitches were required to fix it. There was the broken nose when I fell off a teeter-totter when I was in college.

    I had my share of cuts, crapes and bruises, and as Jacque mentioned, some of those old injuries come back to haunt you in the form of arthritis. My upper and lower spine is a mess. Some of it due to injuries I inflicted upon myself, some of it due to brutal beatings. All in all, I’m probably lucky to still be alive. Had several close calls.

    Liked by 4 people

  7. I must be a cautious child, all I remember is a broken arm at age four! I am told that experience started my desire to become a nurse. A career I pursued for over 30 years!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I can usually tell who Anonymous is, but in this case I’m confused. To the best of my knowledge, Clyde didn’t pursue nursing as a career. Is it K-Two who for some reason is suddenly Anonymous?

      Liked by 1 person

  8. When I was 5, I had pretty severe astigmatism. Before I got glasses, I was at my Dad’s Gas station/coffee shop, and I didn’t see a large, jagged remnant of a glass window that had been removed and was leaning against the wall. I walked right into the edge of it, sustaining a large gash on my shin requiring ten stitches. About the same time, I also remember running at full speed into what I thought was the open door of the local bank, only to smash into a glass door and fall backwards onto the sidewalk. I am thankful that glass didn’t break. The world sure looked different once I got glasses.

    Liked by 4 people

  9. No broken bones. Minor cuts. As part of flood control in Fargo Moorhead, a dam was built near downtown. The Island Park swimming pool was on the Fargo side of the Red River. The short cut was to walk across the low-head dam. My one sister would never do it while the other went with me. The water wasn’t all that high but a fall into it meant drowning. Before it was removed in 1998, 19 people had died there. I eventually stopped walking the dam when greenish, slippery stuff started growing on the concrete surface.

    Liked by 5 people

  10. (Previous anonymous is not me. I am anonymous when on iPad and iPhone. Only WP knows why.)
    Considering I grew up farming and logging and considering I am not well coordinated and considering how we used sleds and did a few dangerous things, I got few injuries. Three times got bad rope burns on hands haying. My father dropped a tree on me, but no injury happened. Lots of cuts. Never had to get stitches. Broke collarbone at age 18 months thanks to brats of English cousins. Spent so much time alone on the rock cliffs and woods from early age. Remember no injuries. A bull crushed my hand at the U dairy barn but I was 22. Over the years some black nails, a few broken ribs (one right now), many broken toes. I walk into things. A fibromyalgia think.

    Liked by 6 people

    1. Had pretty much ruled you out, Clyde. Sorry about your broken rib. Hope you don’t have a cough at the moment. That hurts when you have a broken rib.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. breaking ribs 3 or 4 times in. year caused me to go get treatment to harden up my bones. they all broke in the back
        front breaks hurt when you cough
        back breaks hurt when you stand or turn

        Like

  11. Hey you bunch of troublemakers.

    I fell some some steps in 7th grade and cracked a bone in my wrist. At the ER they slipped my fingers into one of those Chinese Finger trap things and hung a weight off my upper arm to pull the bone straight. That. Hurt.

    Then before 9th grade was sticking my leg in the auger. Lots of stitches there. Three weeks in the hospital, the first two of which I don’t remember because I was in the OR every other day for debreeding and cleaning. Imagine a fist sized hole in your leg, then stuff it full of feed. Silage, probably some dirt, the pants, ect.
    Guess I’m lucky they found an antibiotic to stop the infection. Mom says it was a last resort and something they hadn’t used much before but they were out of options.

    I saw a picture recently of the cow yard as it was in 1977. Now, it was a lot of years ago and the details have gotten fuzzy. I remember Dad saying he doesn’t know how I reached the switches to turn off the auger as he couldn’t reach it. In this picture, the bunk and the switches are a good 20′ away from each other. It sure seems like that’s how it was when I hurt myself; leg in the bunk, switches over there. But if that’s true… well then… certain miracles will have to be accounted for.
    It’s possible things changed before the picture was taken…and yet that still doesn’t explain everything except a faulty memory, which isn’t out of the realm of possibilities. But.
    I think some Divine Intervention was needed and I’m happy to go with that.

    These days I’ve always got a scab from something. A nail sticking out, scraped on a bolt, cut my finger on something else…. there’s always something. I keep up on my tetnus shots.
    Its the hurrying that will get you into trouble. It’s why I move so slow. 🙂 And try to listen to my inner little man.

    Liked by 5 people

      1. Yep, and I keep thinking, all the wriggling around I was doing, how come it was still just a round hole in my leg? (I know it was, I looked at it while sitting on the edge of the water tank waiting for dad to come back and mom with the car.

        Mom was making fried potatoes for supper. She says dad ran into the kitchen, told her to grab her purse to take me to the hospital, then he spun around 3 times trying to decide what to grab; finally grabbed a dishtowel and ran back to the barn. 🙂
        Funny the memories that stick with you.
        My boots were covered in manure and pants were dirty; they cut everything off, put it in a plastic bag, and you can imagine how they handed that back to mom… she threw it all away.

        Liked by 5 people

  12. Jumping out of a neighbor’s tree on a rope spring, scraped my knew really bad, lots of blood and a scab for a long time. Broken arm in 5th grade when a kid playing ball ran into me.

    I’ve slipped on pavement a number of times, once in San Francisco that gave me a scab on my knee (when we wore mini-skirts) for my first day of teaching kindergarten. And one time hustling along on a sidewalk in Uptown Mpls, I skidded, then somehow had the presence to do a drop and roll (I’d watch my boy Joel do this so many times…) Got back up and walked past a woman who said “Nice roll!”

    Liked by 6 people

  13. OT – Stopped at Aldi this afternoon. As I was exiting the store, an older man was getting out of his parked car. He had parked in a spot right in front of the store, and as he exited the car he dropped his car keys right down through a grate in the pavement. He could see his keys, but could not get his hand through the grid of the grate to retrieve them. A woman who had pulled up near him saw his predicament, and came to his rescue. She happened to have a fishing rod in the trunk of the car, and with that they were able to fish his keys back out. What are the chances you are going to run into someone with a fishing rod in the trunk of their car in a situation like that?

    Liked by 6 people

    1. I always have a deep conviction when I walk over a grate like that, that I will lose something in it. I try to walk around, and if I have to go directly over, I hang onto everything I’m carrying very tightly.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. Me too. In this case, he had parked his car in a place where he stepped out of his car and right on to the grate. I’m betting he’ll avoid that parking spot in the future. I know I will.

        Like

  14. OT: one of my niece’s daughters had an unusual encounter. She was a passenger in a car driving over 494. A woman was leaning over the side of the bridge. My relative asked to be taken back in case the woman was in trouble. When she got there, the woman had jumped but then grabbed the bridge. She was hysterical. My relative could get close enough to wrap her arms around the jumper, although she didn’t have enough strength to lift her to safety. Someone called 911. Three burly guys lifted the woman to safety Through her tears, she explained that two friends had recently died jumping from that spot. She herself was suffering from post partum depression. My relative quietly disappeared into the car and left without identifying herself.

    Liked by 5 people

  15. I had a sprained wrist, and a torn-up knee, but mostly stayed in one piece. I remember my sister falling on a piece of splintered wood and puncturing her knee, at my grandparents’ place in South Dakota one summer. I don’t think it required stitches, but I’m pretty sure it involved a trip to a doctor. Then there was a time when my cousin grabbed a piece of wood that had a nail in it, and managed to impale his hand on the nail. When the nurse checked him in to see the doctor, she thought he had just brought the piece of wood along to show them what had caused the injury, and she quickly ripped it out of his hand. There was a lot of blood with that one. The nail was pretty rusty. I think the visit involved a tetanus booster too.

    Liked by 3 people

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