Luckily, I have never suffered major injuries, like a broken bone or a fracture in my skull. I can’t imagine what the recovery period for those kinds of injuries is like, but for those who lived through it, it is amazing how people’s bodies can bounce back from such things.
I would say what I put my body through were not that uncommon. I have maybe two incidents where what happened was a bit unusual.
A typical one I think most people have experienced is the customary knee or elbow scrap in their childhoods. In my case, I scrapped both of my knees. I’ve always felt the way it happened was ridiculous. I wasn’t even doing anything that warranted it, like bicycling too fast or falling from a scooter after taking a wrong turn. No, instead I went out to the backyard as I habitually did often as a kid and somehow tripped and fell onto the concrete floor. The pain was instant. Tears blurred my vision right away even though I didn’t have time to process the fact I really did just fall down moments earlier. The sob that should have come out was stuck in my throat. My brother and his friend who I had a crush on (lol, completely irrelevant to the story but it’s a detail I still remember) were nearby and saw the tumble I took. They asked if I was okay. I said yes. I don’t know if I lied because I didn’t want to cry in front of them or because I was desperate to truly be okay. Anyway, I got up and planted myself on one of the backyard swings. Whether I disassociated myself from my emotions or not, I remember it didn’t occur to me to check my knees. They were throbbing by then but I just focused on acting normal. Still, I felt out of it enough to go back into the house and went upstairs. I don’t recall at what point during this that I realized the skin on both of my kneecaps were bruised and had bright red blood oozing out from the torn skin. My next memory is of sitting on my parents’ bed crying my eyes out because the sight of my own blood terrified me. My mom patched me up but for days afterward as the slow healing process began, the bandages were changed frequently.
Going up or down any set of stairs was pain-inducing. I felt a sharp stinging sensation every time my knees bent to move my legs up or down a step or two. As a result, sometimes the strain of switching legs per step became too painful so I would use the same leg to move up or down two steps at a time. My teacher noticed my peculiar way of walking and once made a show of copying me. I have no idea if she was mocking me or what.
I scrapped one of my knees again in middle school after some kid during lunch recess ran into me and knocked me to the ground. I can never remember anymore which knee it was. My time spent getting bandaged at the nurse’s office led me to be late for my next class. The journey up the stairs was an arduous one. It had been years since my backyard fall and the pain from it had faded into the recesses of my mind as nothing more than a long past memory. But then I got to relive the shooting pain again. At least it was only one battered knee instead of both like last time. I made it about two or three steps up the stairs when someone from the nurse’s office called out to me. I had forgotten to take my looseleaf binder. Each step down was horrific. I’m only glad that after this, I never got another bruise on either knee.
Keeping in line with the topic of physical pain, the second worst pain I have ever experienced after the knee injuries were the times I fell on my back. During summers in my girlhood, I was sometimes present to watch my dad release water from the backyard swimming pool and fill it up again with clean water from the hose. One of these times, I slipped and crashed onto my back. The feeling was hard to describe. I registered that I was suddenly down and my clothes were half-soaked from the position I was in. But my voice disappeared. This was the closest I will ever know what it felt like to actually physically lose my ability to speak because of some bodily malfunction. This is not to be confused with losing the ability to speak because of psychological reasons, which is not what happened here. I do not know much about neurological things in the body, but it seemed in this case, falling on my back temporarily caused a paralysis of my vocal capacities. I wasn’t choosing to not speak. In fact, when my dad pulled me up and asked if I was all right, I tried to answer him. I found my tongue worked fine and I could formulate in my mind that I wanted to say yes, but for whatever reason, the ability to enunciate the word would not come out. For several beats all I managed to get out was grunts and groans; both because I was struggling to talk and because each time I tried to force out a word, all I got was the pain in my back as if my speaking function was disabled. When I could finally choke out a phrase, it came out in a very labored way as if I was relearning to use my vocal cords to make the sounds of the words again for the first time. My dad carried me into the house and up to my room where he helped me change out of my wet clothes. He asked me which shirt I wanted and while I can’t recall my exact words, I said something along the lines of, “I…want…that…one.” Eventually the pain stopped and I regained normal speaking capabilities.
You would think I learned from such an experience but at another time, I wasn’t careful and slipped on my back in the swimming pool. Again. And just like the first time, I temporarily lost my ability to speak and recovered it a short time later. In the years afterward, I’ve wondered how a doctor might have explained this phenomenon to me.
The next is not a real injury I had but more like my parents thought I did. I have several birthmarks on my body, including one teeny dot on my left hand’s middle finger. It looks as if someone took an inked paintbrush with a very thin tip and dipped it to create a little circle on my skin. I always knew it was a birthmark but never felt the need to talk about it. For what was probably the first time, my dad was alarmed to see the mark on my finger. He actually pinched hard on that part of my skin. It hurt so badly I hissed. He pinched again and started murmuring about it being an abnormal growth of some sort. I insisted it wasn’t but he got my mom to use a hot needle to poke around under my skin to see if anything was stuck inside. There was nothing there. I have no memory of what the needle felt like or if I felt anything at all.
Twice, I had situations where weird stuff happened to my ear. My mom let me wear this clip-on earring when I was perhaps 7 or 8 years old. However, my earlobe became red from the repeated pressure of the earring on my skin. The worst part is I realized something was wrong early on after having the earring on for a few hours but I felt scared to bring it up to my mom. I thought she would be mad at me. When she finally noticed, she took it off right away.
The second earring incident dealt with earrings that had a front piece and back piece. They were the kind where the front piece goes through the pierced ear hole and the back piece is used to secure it in place. Well, at the age I was, my mom still helped me put on earrings since I didn’t know how to do it on my own. I was pretty self-conscious about the back pieces of the earrings falling off somehow. As a result, I spent the whole day touching the back pieces every now and then by pushing them inward. Who knew that this would cause the back pieces to actually become lodged inside my ear holes! It was shocking that a seemingly impossible thing happened but the back pieces were so tiny and all the fiddling I did with them only made things worse. Once again, my mom came to my rescue. I was sweating profusely out of fear while she attempted to figure out a way to loosen the back pieces enough to get them out without hurting me. She smeared some type of ointment on my ears and after some tugging, the pieces popped out. Thank goodness. Nowadays when I try on earrings, I can’t help but think about the mishaps I had with them. This makes me more cautious and I always check that the back pieces are not super small so there is no chance of the past situation repeating itself.
During my teen years, I had braces. I didn’t mind the pain of my teeth being forced to align into straightness, but I hated the wiring that went around all of the individual braces. My orthodontist told me not to brush my teeth back and forth as I would usually do if I didn’t have braces, and also advised me not to eat apples by biting into them whole. Doing either would potentially mess up the wiring of my braces. I made this mistake twice and each time, the wiring got loose from its designated alignment and ended up pushing into the very back fleshy wall of the inside of my mouth. This was both uncomfortable and painful and not fun to take my walk of shame to the orthodontist again and again to get it fixed.
The last “weird” injury was quite a random one. I honestly still have no idea how or why this occurred. I woke up one day to see my upper eyelids got strangely swollen to the point that the creases I had in my epicanthic folds were gone. It gave me the appearance of having no epicanthic folds at all. The affected skin had a slight reddish tinge and was kinda itchy. I suspected an allergic reaction, but it also didn’t make sense as the most I used on my skin was a facial cleanser wash and lotion which never gave me a bad reaction before. Odd and odder! To my relief, the swollenness cleared up by itself in a couple hours and my eyelids looked normal again.
I hope this wasn’t too boring of a read about my experiences. Did you ever have an injury that might be considered peculiar?