Friday, November 28, 2008

First Hurts

One of the great side benefits of going to PT is the discussions we have. An adorable little girl, who belonged to the patient on the next table, sparked our memories of first hurts.

Her mother was obviously in for a shoulder injury. I was being treated for my ongoing leg and hip condition. I remarked that the 5-year-old had never experienced the pains we brought to the PT table. The PT guy reminded us that instead she got to experience hitting her thumb for the first time with a hammer and other similar first pains. Here’s my recollection of those firsts in my life:

– When I was about 4 years old, I was applying an iron to my doll clothes for the first time with the ironing board quite low. I happened to run into my arm with the hot surface long enough to form two humongous blisters. I can smell the “Foil” my mother slathered on my burned arm.

– A few years later as I was looking forward to my first swimming party in a public pool I sliced into my finger with a very sharp knife. That’s one of those times when you are sure you will bleed to death. Layers of gauze and a Bandaid swathed that finger, which I must have held up out of the water. The huge pool was lovely at night as the chlorine filled the air.

– I learned to saw, hammer, and put in screws when a friend and I built a doll house that filled half my bedroom. We made couches, bunk beds, drop-leaf tables, and even a car for our doll family. He knew how to do the basics and I’m sure my father consulted when we had questions. We both pounded our thumbs multiple times as the doll house took shape.

– I was jumping rope at a neighbor’s house, looking forward to my first crab feast at another neighbor’s house that night. As my big toe bent under my right foot, I came to understand the crabs would have to wait for a few years. Instead I spent the next several hours in the ER getting X-rayed. I was mortified to find out I would have to wear tennis shoes to Sunday school.

These were the simple first pains that most children learn in their first decade. Pains of the heart would wait for a few years and not be so easily fixed with a Bandaid.

The discussion moved from childhood injury to book suggestions, with everyone in the therapy room adding their recommendations. I was happy to be distracted by book talk as my hamstrings screamed out in agony. Sometimes even 10 seconds seems like an eternity.

My PT guy, who is a master of multi-tasking, had sent me an e-mail message with the book list by the time I got home. Have you read any of these?

When Nietsche Wept
The Madonnas of Leningrad
The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society
Weight, by Jeanette Witherspoon (or something else from the Canongate myth series)
The Art of Possibility
Sitting Still
Those Who Save Us
Breakfast at the Victory


Anonymous Anonymous said...

When Nietsche Wept
The Art of Possibility
Madonnas of Leningrad

For what reason was the list given to you?


12:24 AM  
Blogger lettuce said...

happy thanksgiving barbara - have a good weekend

6:20 AM  
Blogger Gary said...

I do not know any of these titles.

My first hurts and the only ones that I really remember both involved getting stitches in my head. One was when I was covered with a sheet playing a ghost and my older brother pushed me. I fell back and hit the corner of the wall. The second was when I swam under the ladder in our pool and scratched my head on a screw. Blood, screaming, stitches, drama ensued. Total of 7 stitches altogether (3 the first time, 4 the next). But luckily no broken bones ever. Whew!

10:27 AM  
Blogger Kristin said...

I bought "The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society" just last week as a Christmas gift...

I remember stubbing my toe on the uneven sidewalk between my house and the corner as I ran around barefoot. My first ankle sprain. The multitude of stings from bees nesting in the pole for the clothes line. My arm through a door but more than the pain, I remember freezing in the emergency room in my damp swimsuit.

I don't really remember the pain at all. It's been replaced by fresher hurts.

11:53 AM  
Blogger Barbara said...

Kate -- Why are you Anon again? The list was in response to my question about what I might recommend for our book club when my turn rolls around in a couple of months. We have a rule that we must first read the book we recommend, so I thought I should get started!

Lettuce -- I'm so excited to be seeing one of our very favorite friends from NYC tonight!

Gary -- Blood and stitches are things you never forget. It's a good thing we heal, right?

Kristin -- It's funny how none of us remembers the pain, just the incident. I hadn't thought about that until you mentioned it.

2:04 PM  
Anonymous Doll Clothes Gal said...

What a great blog post - thanks for sharing.

4:10 PM  
Blogger Ulysses said...

Thanks for bringing up first hurts -- it reminds me of an incident that fits perfectly in my next piece.
That's a lot of heavy lifting in that list. Doesn't your PT guy read any comedy? Must be one of those "No Pain, No Gain" ones. How about some Mark Twain? Innocents Abroad, or Roughing It?
Or (I'm partial to travelogues), how about The Art of Travel by Alain De Botton?

6:39 PM  
Blogger Barbara said...

Doll Clothes -- If I was in the market for doll clothes, I would make my own!

Ulysses -- My PT guy takes his work seriously! Thanks for the other suggestions. I need to go to the library SOON! Unless you have a book to loan me...

10:51 PM  

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