Tuesday, October 19, 2010

You'll Shoot Your Eye Out!

If anyone knows me and Justin, they'll know that our annual Christmas Eve tradition is to watch the movie A Christmas Story on the day that we decorate our tree with the kids.  We've been doing it for 22 years and it's a very beloved tradition in a family that doesn't do a whole lot together.

In the story, if you haven't seen it, Ralphie wants nothing more for Christmas in the whole world than a Red Rider Carbine Action Two Hundred Shot Range Model Air Rifle with a Compass in the Stock and this thing which tells time.  His entire world tells him (Santa included), "Kid, you'll shoot your eye out."

Of course, when I poked my eye out last Saturday while Justin was away, Ralphie and his trusted Range Model air rifle were the first things that came to my mind.

Everyone knows I'm clumsy.  It's kind of like the sun coming up in the morning.  If I'm moving, I'm going to hurt myself.  It's just the way it is.  I think every time Justin goes anywhere, he wonders if he's going to come home to me lying on the floor whining "I've fallen and I can't get up!"  I actually broke two ribs falling off the couch.  I can't walk down our stairs...I slide down them.  Usually giving myself enough bumps, bruises, and sore muscles for several days worth of lying on the couch and complaining.  If it's in the room, I'll run into it, trip over it, or bruise myself looking at it.

Justin went to visit a close friend in New York this past weekend and was gone for nine (okay, really three, but it felt like at least nine) days.  He knows me well enough by now not to say, "Please be careful, sweetie.  I know you're going to hurt yourself while I'm gone."  Because if he were to say that, I would ply him with a look of innocence belying a cherub and pretend not to know what he's talking about.  So he hugged me and left me to my fate.  He hadn't even gotten to his destination before I actually managed to scratch the cornea on my eye by, get this, rubbing it.  I actually poked my eye out trying to scratch an itch.

I was cussing and plying it with cold wash rags, when Jamie said, "Why don't you go to Web MD, Mom?"  Of course, the computer!  We live in the information age!  Now why didn't I think of that?  So I ran (carefully) to my computer and typed in "corneal abrasion," desperately looking for a remedy that didn't involve the emergency room at the hospital, or at least the local urgent care.  Here is what it said (and I'm paraphrasing):

You should see your opthamologist if you experience any of the following:  You have the feeling there is something in your eye and you cannot get it out.


Shit.

I was NOT going to the emergency room.  I didn't even tell Justin about it on Saturday.  He learned about it on Facebook, the way everyone else did and, with much concern, asked me if I shouldn't, maybe, um, go to the eye doctor?  NO, I had NOT scratched my cornea.  I was fine.  I was NOT going to the eye doctor.  Did my eye hurt?  Well, yeah.  But not as much as yesterday.  Honestly.

Why do I tell you this story?  Because I think the unfortunate ability to hurt yourself by walking into a room may be genetic.  I think I passed the gene on to my fourteen year old son.

Poor Jamie.  Of my three kids, he's the only one who has broken a bone - a wrist fracture he got while playing football.  He fell on his arm.  (Sound familiar?)  When he was two, he bit through his tongue.  Literally.  He's now fourteen and still has that scar.  He once fell at the bus stop during a scuffle and knocked one of his teeth out.  His little brother hit him in the head with a golf club.  Yes, really.  Whenever he comes into the house, I look for blood, brush him off, and tell him to suck it up, he's fine.

Which would be okay, except that the wrist actually was broken.  I thought he was trying to get out of gym class.  Being the fantastic mother that I am, I grabbed it on several occasions and told him, "If you can bend it this way (OUCH!!!!  MOM!!!!), then it's not broken."  Um....give me the bad mother of the year award.  When Justin finally took him to the urgent care center, at the insistence of the gym teacher who would not excuse him another day without a doctor's note, they told him that Jamie had a "green stem" fracture.  Meaning, your kid broke his wrist and you waited ten days to bring him in.  Oh.  My.  God. 

Okay, well, having three boys, you tend not to worry over every little bump and bruise because, come on, they're boys and boys get hurt, right?  So Jamie went on his way, with the instructions to wear a brace for three weeks and just be careful.  And a note excusing him from gym.  Not that I thought he wanted that...or anything.

I think they should fund a study of clumsy parents and their offspring.  I don't know who would fund it, but I have to believe there is a connection there somewhere.  Why are two of my kids relatively graceful and one seems to be constantly hurting himself?  It's got to be genetic, right?  I don't know where I got it.  My parents don't seem unduly clumsy.  Well, except for the time Mom dropped a sewing machine on her foot while my dad was out of town and didn't call me.  I think she was actually in shock.  An ambulance might have been a good idea, but if you've ever met my mother, you'll know that she simply does not get sick.  Or hurt herself.  Ever.  My mother used to go to work with the flu and say, "Well, you're not going to feel 100% every day."  After the sewing machine incident, she had a bruise on her foot for a month.  It was probably broken.  Maybe the gene is on the mother's chromosome after all?

My eye hurts...

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