Thursday, December 21, 2006

Please Get Your Finger out of My Forehead                                                            

It was summertime.  I was 11 or so.  I was
sent to a day camp for disabled children.  I
wasn't happy about going and would have
rather done just about anything.  But after 
the car accident, I no longer had the luxury
of making decisions for myself.  A lot of
adults made my decisions for me because
now that my legs didn't work, my brain
didn't either.  They didn't listen to what I
wanted and didn't want, and they thought
they knew what was best for the poor little
handicapped girl.  This was quite a change
for the shy little mousey girl who easily, and
gladly, blended into the wall throughout her
first 8 years of life. 

Oh gee, do I sound bitter?  

So anyway, the counselors were a small group
of teenage kids.  There were probably about 8
"campers" and I think most of us were in wheel-
chairs.   One day one of the teenage counselors
thought it would be fun to have a wheelchair race.
I said, "No thanks", but apparently even teenagers
knew what was best for me.

Camp took place in a park in a small Wisconsin
town.  I think all the counselors came from area
farms.  Or at least they smelled like they did.  I'm
not dissing farmers here. If a person wants to
trod through cow crap everyday, that's okay with
me.  I'm just saying that they probably should
have stuck with milking the cows instead of
attempting to interact and entertain a small
group of alien crippled kids.  

Their idea of racing wheelchairs meant
that the wheelchair user sat in their wheelchair
while one of the counselors pushed them as fast
as they could.  Quite a brilliant idea if you think
about it because what could be more fun for a
wheelchair user than to get pushed on an uneven 
surface by someone who is running?  (Is my
sarcasm obvious here?)

Again, I protested, but of course since my legs
didn't work, I didn't know right from wrong, so
just ignore me.  The race started.  I was pushed
up a slight incline, made a turn and started going
down a hill.  Suddenly my front wheels got caught
in a crack in the sidewalk.  My wheelchair tipped
over forward, I landed on my face and my chair
landed on top of me.  The landing knocked
me out, resulted in two cracked front teeth, a fat
and bloody lip, and broken eye glasses which
sliced open my forehead.  I was rushed to the
ER and before the doctor stitched me up, he
wanted to make sure there weren't any small
rocks or dirt in my forehead.  He shoved his finger
into my open wound and felt around.  I was conscious 
at this point, and because that memory still lingers
to this day, and it still gives me the heebe gebees,
I wish I hadn't been aware of what was happening.  

Now I'm no doctor, but it seems to me that if I
wanted to clean out a wound, I would flush it with
some sort of sterile solution.  I guess sticking a
finger in there and feeling around between my skin
and my skull seemed like a better idea to him.
Satisfied that all the gravel was out of my head,
he stitched me up.  I went home with the good news
that I wouldn't be returning to camp.

About 15 years later, the area around my scar on
my forehead started to irritate me.  I finally went
to the doctor and she told me she didn't know what
was going on, but she gave me some sort of cream
to rub on it to stop the itch.  I felt a small bump under
the skin where it was itchy and I asked her if it was
possible that I had a little rock in there from all those
years ago.  She thought it was unlikely, but that it was
possible.   

And then one day I was rubbing my forehead
and out fell a tiny rock.   

2 comments:

Ron said...

Wait for it... here it comes...

I always knew you had rocks in your head!

Ba dum-bum.

Wheelchair Revolution! said...

Yes, it explains a lot, doesn't it?