I'm old enough to not have any training wheels on my sweet bike. I remember streamers. I remember riding by our mailbox and laughing. I remember looking down approaching a large rock. I don't remember flying over the handlebars or hitting anything. My next memory is one of mom's flour sack towels folded around ice and holding it to my top lip. I remember the smell of the ER, the rough gauze soaked in iodine. The smell overwhelming and the puffiness of my top lip sickening. I remember the prickly stitches on my tongue. It took 3-5 to reconnect the split running down the center. Lucky #1.
Fast forward a year-ish
I remember running around playing flower girl and tag with Kyle in the basement of the Silo's Restaurant the night before his mother's wedding. I remember the smell of my mother's cooking upstairs. French fries and Au Jus. I remember a grown-up shouting out and Kyle and I screeching to a halt while they give some directions to decorators and to us to stop running around. I'm focused on getting away from tagged Kyle and all with a grin. I remember spinning around with force. I remember that dull thwack above my left eye and instant warm and tingly on the contact spot. I remember screaming and looking up at the uncovered metal light switch. I remember my mother instantly being there grabbing me in her arms and running up the stairs. The smell of the kitchen on mom comforting. I remember laying on top of the kitchen table with mom placing band-aids around the slice and on the phone with dad. Panic in her voice. I'm in the ER with that smell again. That brown iodine. That smell. Those bright lights. That bright white. I remember looking up and seeing nothing but the blue of the paper cloth they use to isolate the wound. I remember the fuzzy blue bear and suckers. I named him Boo Bear. Lucky #2.
Fast forward another year-ish.
I'm at Gramma Ruby's in Motley, MN. I remember the unique damp woodsy smell of my grandparent's house. I remember walking their little dog Schmitty. I remember the damp grass. I remember slipping and falling. I remember the feeling of Schmitty's jaw on the left side of my face. A sickening sink of teeth in cheek and slight rubbery thunk on my throat. I remember swelling and worrying about what Gramma would think. Worried they'd be mad at Schmitty. I remember the smell of A&D ointment for some reason. I don't remember an ER but I remember that sickening brown iodine smell. Again. I remember the dull pull of the stitches through my cheek and punctured throat. I remember Gramma crying. I remember the pull on the stitches in my cheek when I tried a reassuring smile. Lucky #3.
Fast forward another year-ish.
I remember riding my bike around the swimming pool park. The bike has grown, turned purple, and is without streamers. I remember giggling at boys. I remember stealing Derrick's swim bag. I remember resting the straps on my right handle. I remember Derrick running alongside me while I peddle faster and grabbing his bag. I remember the handlebar twisting to the right. I remember falling forward landing on my hip and the bike. I remember looking down at my right thigh and seeing a bloody slash of meat and the yellow of the fat layer. I remember screaming. I remember Dad speeding up in the sparkling silver Chevy to rescue me. I remember the scratchy blanket seats. I remember blaming Derrick. I remember the ER and Mom meeting us there. That brown iodine smell again. That sickening bright white. I remember stitches about 6 or 8 of them and that dull pull again. An all too familiar pull at this point. Please let this be the last time. I remember the clip clip of those mini scissors and the doctor pulling them out. Rotten and blood caked. Lucky #4.
I'm 26 now. In the last 4 years I've: 1. had to be fireman carried out of the woods with a torn miniscus. I remember a pop and instant extreme pain in my knee. I remember screaming. I remember paint cans falling out of my cruiser vest and my guts slamming into Brian's shoulder. I remember ice, swelling, and whiskey. Fast forward a year. 2. I'm in a big group touring a logging sale in western Montana. I'm petting and playing with the logging company's Weimaraner Casey. I remember approaching Casey inside his pickup. I remember his yellow brown eyes. I remember a lunge and his open jaws. I remember the all too familiar sink of teeth; this time around the right side of my nose and left jaw. I remember pulling away and the warm sliding blood. I remember leaning forward to stop the blood from dripping into my mouth. Spitting it out to the ground blending into the red in the rocks below. I remember speeding down the mountain holding that scratchy gauze to the side of nose. I remember the Urgent Care waiting room talking to my mom. Tearing up wishing she was there wishing for that familiar kitchen smell. I remember bright lights and that brown iodine smell. More scratchy gauze. A punctured sinus and lack of facial movement later. It's happening again. Fast forward another year-ish. 3. I'm hiking up to a prescribed fire during fire rookie school. My hamstrings are screaming with every step. What the hell? The pain gets worse. The fire starts...digging line starts. The pain isn't going away and now my lower back is screaming with every step and my toes begin to tingle. I can't bend over to dig anymore. I sit down trying to lessen the sharp squeezing in my back and hamstrings. I start to panic. I can't move my legs without crying out. Matt gets me to the truck and down the hill. The ambulance arrives. We get to the hospital. There's that smell. The bright lights. I wish for that awful brown iodine smell and scratchy gauze. A painful but easily identified problem. This pain was unbearable and hidden inside joints and nerves. A new pain. An IV starts. A lecture about a small part of the pain is about to begin. Extreme dehydration. The other pain? Lies in the sacroiliac joint. Strained muscles, pinched nerves, oh my. Fast forward one month. In the last two weeks I've tried to zest off my thumb knuckle (to the bone) and slice off the tip of my pointer finger. At least Matt's getting plenty of EMT practice.
I think someone's trying to tell me something.