Painful Awkward Teenage Years. Seriously Painful

January 7, 2009
The school nurse came over to me and asked me what was wrong. I held up and my left hand and showed her my finger.

“I’m pretty sure it’s broken. This isn’t the first time this has happened to me,” I said to the nurse.

“What did you do to yourself, Amanda?”

“I was playing volleyball in gym, and I guess I might have just hit the ball the wrong way because it hit my finger and then it started to swell and hurt. I am just figuring that it’s broken.”

“Just wait here for a little and we’ll call your mother to come and get you.”

The half melted ice bag numbed my now purple finger. I elevated my hand so the swelling could go down. This was my sophomore year in high school and by then I thought I was over the whole clumsy and making-a-fool-out-of-myself thing. I thought maybe that would be the year I did not need to be in a cast, but I had just ruined that plan. My finger started to throb and the pain was becoming unbearable. I just couldn’t believe that I broke another finger. I wondered how long the doctors were going to stick me in a cast this time. I felt my finger to find the break. All my past bone-crushing and skin-tearing incidents rushed into my mind. I remembered all the hours I spent icing swollen limbs and covering bloody cuts in emergency rooms. I suffered so many injures in my life that sometimes I forget they even happened. It’s not the fact that I get hurt, but how I seem to hurt myself that is just so unlikely and most of the time painfully hilarious.

Since the day I learned to walk, I had trouble moving gracefully. When I was only four years old, I was rushed to the hospital for head injuries. I was at the mall with my mom in a hands-on toy store. All the children were allowed to play with the merchandise and I saw this as a chance to get my hands on everything in sight. I spotted the bright yellow bouncy ball from across the store and dashed to claim it before the other kids. I climbed onto it and started jumping up and down repeatedly. I bounced all around the store until I lost control. My last hop catapulted me into the air sending me head first into a shelf corner. The shelf split my head open between my eyebrows. Blood was everywhere. The next thing I remember is being in the hospital and the doctors hovered over me poking the wound. I ended up with stitches and a scar. Most kids would be traumatized for life and be afraid of getting hurt again. I was not one of them.
This was only the beginning of my black and blue teenage awkward stage.

I have broken almost all ten fingers, along with my left ankle and right wrist. But by far, my best broken-bone story is when I fractured and dislocated my left thumb. It was the night before my family vacation to Long Beach Island. My whole family was in the kitchen ready to eat. I sat in an armchair and the TV sat diagonally behind me. Someone asked me to turn on the TV and, too lazy to get up, I thought I could reach the remote from my chair. I bent my left arm backwards ands twisted my body to reach it. Suddenly the chair along with my body came crashing to the ground. The arm of the chair and all my body weight fell on top of my poor little thumb. My thumb pushed into the middle of my hand so I had fist like squirrel. When I looked, my heart stopped. I screamed from the pains and cried all the way to the hospital as my hand blew up to double its size and turned black and blue. As I waited in the emergency room a nurse came up to me put pressure on my thumb. Then with a painful “pop” she took my thumb and just rammed it back to its normal spot. I almost passed out from the pain. We left for vacation the next day and I wore a vibrant non-waterproof cast to go with my bathing suit and sandals. I completely ruined not only my beach vacation, but also my whole summer. I had to spend eight weeks in the cast. Instead of sun block, my beach essential was a black plastic bag. I was not going to let that cast stop me from swimming, so I held it up above the water. I looked like a hot pink buoy from far away. By the end of the summer the cast reeked of smelly feet, dead seaweed, and mildew. Thankfully, it came off one week before school started so I did not have to bring that funky scent into sixth grade.

From painful to painfully embarrassing; that same year I sat at my kitchen table with my mom and a family friend. I finished drinking my soda and I got bored, so I started playing with a red plastic cup. I put the cup up to my mouth and started sucking all the air out of it. The cup suctioned onto my mouth and chin. After a couple seconds, the cup dropped from my face and my mom turned to me and asked what happened to my face.
I started panicking: “What is wrong with my face?” I started touching my face all over to feel if anything was wrong. I ran to the bathroom to look in the mirror. I had reddish- purple botches all around my chin and upper lip. The botches formed a ring around my chin like a goatee. I flipped out as my mom’s nurse friend came to the house. She laughed when she saw me. I did not find this funny. Through her chuckles she said that I must have popped all the blood vessels in my chin and upper lip. She said that in a couple of days they would dissolve back into my skin.
A couple of days! I had school the whole next week.
When I arrived at school, everyone first gasped and asked what happened and then started laughing. I knew it was bad when the teachers laughed at me. In a few days, I was back to normal, but I will never be able to live that down.

The next year, I took a little fall in my backyard while I was playing soccer with my dog, Pebbles. I do not usually wear shoes around my house or backyard so I was playing soccer bare foot on my concrete patio. Pebbles and I were playing a game of keep away and I tripped over the ball. The way I tripped I ended with my legs in a split and my left foot in the back. As I tumbled forward my left foot scrapped the concrete and gashed open the top of my foot and my knee. I dropped to the ground and screamed for help. My mom hurried outside and just started laughing. I wobbled inside my house and sat down at a kitchen chair. As I lifted my pant leg up the skin of my knee ripped off. It stuck to the inside of my pants and I was bleeding all over. After a little while I covered the horror movie wound with gauze and taped it up until I could go to the doctor the next day. The gash went inches across my foot so I had to wear flip-flops to school. I went to Catholic grammar school and we had to wear uniform knee socks. I thought the teachers would let me just wear both flip-flops but they didn’t. I wore one flip flop on the injured foot and a shoe and a knee sock on the other leg. I sported this look for almost a whole month until it finally healed.

I do not know why I always get hurt in the dumbest ways or walk into glass doors or fall backwards on chairs. My poise and grace level is in the negatives. I could not even walk down the aisle at my Confirmation mass without tripping and falling on the girl in front of me.
My black finger hung lifeless as I walked down the stairs to the front office to meet my mom.

“Amanda, what I am going to do with you?” joked my mom.

“Just call Dr. Sadik and get a referral to the orthopedist,” I moaned.

My mom drove to the orthopedist and I plopped down in the waiting room chair. One by one, other kids walked out of the examining rooms. There were broken arms, broken legs, and one girl with a neck brace. At least I was not alone. It seems lots of kids have an extremely awkward teenage period.

“Amanda, you can go on back now,” said the nurse at the front desk.

I walked into the examining room and waited for the doctor to come in.
“Amanda, you’re back so soon,” laughed my doctor. “I thought this was going to be the year I didn’t see you.”

“Yeah, so did I,” I answered.

“So tell me what happened this time.”

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