Heading into 2012 Literally Speaking

previously published on January 7, 2012 in The Kansas City Star

The final weeks of 2011 were to be calm, pleasant and focused on family, all the while devoid of stress.
The presents were all nestled under the tree and holiday cards were dashed away by government employees muttering prayers of keeping their underappreciated jobs. Hopes of relaxing among kinfolk and roasting marshmallows by the hearth were next on my to-do list. But as all holidays and dreams go, it didn’t quite go as planned.
Instead 2011 closed with a bang forever engraved in this mother’s memory. Not by grandiose fireworks or with the eternally anticlimactic “Christmas crackers” — those blasted end-of-dinner-foil-wrapped-pull-toys opened by great-grandmas. (And after consuming one too many glasses of Riesling, then donning the paper hat from her cracker, she replaces her dentures with orange rinds and sings Auld Lang Syne. Is that just my family?)
Oh no, if my relations are to ring out the old year, we’re going to ring that bell! Therefore, in honor of decked halls, my youngest decided to clang the back of her cranium with such force on a franchise restaurant’s steel bench that I, a pediatric nurse, will never be the same. She’s fine now. Me…not so much.
If you have ever experienced a cut to the head — minuscule or large — you are well aware it can gross out well-seasoned medical staff and create superb plots for Hollywood thrillers, South Park episodes and video games (rated “M” for mature audiences).
Thankfully, my daughter did not lose consciousness, orientation or innards, so I was able to jerry-rig a contraption that got her noggin to temporarily cease bleeding and avoid more screaming by calling an ambulance. Boys may think ambulances are cool. Girls, not really.
So with a little scotch tape, a fry chef hat and a bean bag toy, (not really, but that would have been a cool fix), my youngest was stable and we headed to the ER. Then I attempted the most difficult task of all: contacting my husband.
Apparently when I’m in an emergency situation, I can only effectively handle the role of nurse. Not mom, wife, or transportation gal. Example: I speed-dialed my neighbor three times trying to reach my husband. She finally said she would take over and call my husband since I was incapacitated. Thank you, neighbor No. 1.
My next problem was getting my oldest picked up from school in 30 minutes, but alas, I wasn’t capable of doing that, either, or even figuring out how to get someone to pick her up. So I called responsible neighbor No. 2. She was going to pick up my child, so I needed to call the school to arrange it stat. Love her! For this lack of parenting 101 skills, I’m sure to get Mom of the Year.
Three staples in my precious cherub’s head later, a hug that lasted until she said, “Mom, are you done yet?” and ice cream and toys a-plenty, we all managed to survive my child’s first concussion.
I say “first” because if you notice the size of her mother’s head this is to not be the last of her head bonks. With our genetically enlarged craniums (due to the extra brain portion which is explicitly used for sarcasm), gravity will surely play another nasty role in the ringing of her bells.
Until our next adventure, I hope you and yours have a safe and conscious 2012!
Stacey Hatton is a pediatric registered nurse, writer and public speaker. Her humor blog can be found at http://nursemommylaughs.com.

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