According to the Detroit Free Press, rubbing dirt on wounds was first found in literature dating back…wait for it…to 3,000 BC! The article points out that according to the Biodesign Institute, that’s (3,000 BC) when “clay was listed in the ancient tablets of Nippur as a wound-healing medicament.” The institute also said that around 1600 B.C., Egypt’s Ebers Papyrus — the world’s oldest medical text — recommended clay for healing diarrhea, dysentery, tapeworm, hookworm, wounds and abscesses. “Aw, rub some dirt on it! It will be fine!”-indeed. This is likely terrible advice that we know now because of generations having lived after the discovery and application of germ theory.
One of the many things I am grateful to mom for is acting as my unpaid and underappreciated nurse for the first 18 years of my life. This fact, after some quick math (carry the 1, add a column or two, flip the page, add these to the previous page…) mom saved our insurance company approximately, but confidently, $750,000,000 (give or take) in my childhood for only taking care of my injuries. Tack on my brother’s similar number and my wiser sister’s few and the sum surely hit well north of a billion dollars. You’re welcome, United Healthcare.
A quick summary of my accidents:
- Dozens of baseball sliding wounds. (Not that I hit well enough to slide much, it was more a reflection of injuries in practice trying to learn how to slide should I get a hit… or from falling as I ran to my inevitable out.
- Sunburns. Yes, in the 1980s we used suntan oil (SPF -100…could have called it SEF…sun enhancement factor) to enhance the amount of cancer-causing UV that soaked into our flesh. I inevitably fell asleep and got torched. Mom would break off some aloe and rub it on as I whined, reminding me that too much sun may be a bad thing.
- Foot hygiene and bloody toe stumpin’- As a toddler and hyperactive grade school kid biter (as mentioned in the piece called “The Help is No Joke”), I was also barefoot all of the time. I used to love mushing my toes in the hot tar bubbles in the road in front of my house. My poor parents (often mom) would have to attempt to scrub off said baked-on tar with gasoline and love. In the same vein, I would also run around everywhere with tarred-up bare feet and clumsily trip on things and stump the bejesus out of typically my big toe. (Note: bejesus=A fancy medical term that means “really bad”.) It got so bad that I had to wear plastic big toe guards to let them have a slight chance to heal.
- Various things fished out of feet and other extremities. Glass, splinters, etc: sure. Bee stings: absolutely! One day I was walking around on the shag carpet when I heard a metallic snap sound, followed by excruciating pain in my foot. Mom!!! Help!!!! She came, heated up a needle with a lighter and went a fishin’. The prized pedi-perch this time? I had broken a sewing needle off in my foot arch.
- Running around like an annoying early teen, I tripped (notice a trend here?) over a tent stake at the local fair, ripping a quarter-sized chunk from my shin flesh. Dr. Mom tried to doctor that one up, but then ER had to finish it.
- When I was a wee lad my sister accidentally hit me in the forehead with a swung 9-iron from my dad’s bag. The eruption of blood would make Mt. Vesuvius blush. Mom direct-pressured me all the way to the ER again. Fore!!!! I still hold this over my sister’s head when I need to borrow money.
- In an in-house chase attempting to get outside, while my dad was trying to sleep off his third-shift job and with mom trying to quiet us down, I blasted my arm through the surprisingly locked glass storm front door. Another trip to the ER with mom comforting me.
- Barefooted me, riding my bike to a girl’s house in my early high school years, had my foot slip off of the serrated bicycle petal and hit the ground. Once my heel locked in the ground, a millisecond later the serrated Achilles tendon slasher did its ugly thing and dug into my tendon (1/2 way through it). I knew it was really bad and could tell it was bleeding badly, but I rode one-legged home to mom. She nonchalantly pulled up my pant leg and saw my sock lodged up in my leg and proceeded to dry heave. That is when you know it is bad, when you make my country-girl mom nearly yak. Off to the ER again…
- Back a week later from the Achilles slaughter, I was riding my same bike with the same lack of shoes, and the same result happened. I hit my stitches and obliterated them and nearly the rest of the tendon. Mom drove me to the doctor again and the indignant doctor refused to sew it back up, instead butterfly bandaging it pointed straight down to keep it from being used on a bike again until it healed. I have Frankenstein’s heel now due to the double beating it took.
- I broke my ring finger playing basketball. Mom checked it over and tried icing it to avoid yet another ER visit…but it proved to be unavoidable.
- I have so many tick stories that I would break the internet if I listed them all. Mom was the tick-master.
- Earaches…as previously mentioned, mom addressed by blowing cigarette smoke in my ear. It either helped or it took my mind off of the earache in favor of the resulting lung-barfing.
- One day in grade school my brother and I were bored. He told me “Hey, put on this blindfold and I will direct you around the property to see if you can do it.” (I must have been a good candidate to have had “The Force” given the time frame this story happened.) He went on to bark commands like “Turn left. Now walk ten steps. Now step up carefully?!?! (That should have been a red flag!)” Why I thought this was a good choice, I am not sure. He then said “Jump high and out to the right!!”. I jumped, but the log below me slipped at the sudden force I exerted and I was only able to provide about half the needed thrust. I flew through the air and hit the chain link fence chest high and hooked my man-boob on the barb…and hung there screaming. My brother picked me up and off of the barb’s sub-nipple piercing trap and we limped into the house. Mom didn’t tell dad, a very helpful covering for me.
- Oh, never mind… you get the point. I will spare you the dozen or more stories that I could include of other injuries like gashes and broken teeth. Suffice it to say that angels that were given charge over my protection were probably pretty annoyed by the time I was out of high school.
Why do I go see mom as often as possible while she struggles with Alzheimer’s when it is a crappy, hard thing every single time and when she doesn’t know my name anymore? For these 13 reasons plus many, many more. She took care of me in the easy and in the hard days and even when I did something stupid, extending/teaching me grace at the same time. She hurt when I hurt more than when she hurt when she hurt. And today she is the same person who did all of those things and many more. She didn’t do a thing to cause her condition, so how on Earth could I just turn my gaze away now and just tell her to “rub some dirt on it”?
I include this video because the fence that impaled me is in the background…and because me and my dad were cute. 🙂