Monday, February 23, 2009

all I really want to do

When I was very young-- two years and ten months, to be exact-- I made my first and only emergency room visit.  We were having a party for Kelsey's first birthday, and my best friend and his family were coming over.  I was naturally excited.  While we were waiting for them to come (I think Mom was either napping or just doing some things upstairs), I was playing in the living room.  I picked up an empty Easter candy tin (one that I had received at Grandma Rice's) and held it in my hands and spun around and around and around.  I was dizzy and giddy and all I could see was the tin in my hands.

The next thing I remember, I was in the kitchen, staring at the ceiling, with Daddy standing over me pressing a bunch of paper towels against my cheekbone.  The next scene I remember is the bright light they shone on my face, the feeling of being bound like a mummy (so I wouldn't fight or get my hands in the way), the doctors and nurses staring down at me, the hand descending toward my face.

The hand must have had a needle.  But I don't remember it.

It's funny how trauma and drama obliterate themselves like that.  I remember perfectly what happened before I fell; I remember perfectly what happened directly after I fell.

I don't remember the fall.
I don't remember the pain or the blood.
I don't remember the car trip or the ER waiting room.

It's like the scariest parts of the story are gone, and I'm left with a vivid mini-film I can replay whenever I want, review from the safety eighteen years provides, and file away whenever it gets too intense or uncomfortable.

I wonder if that phenomena-- of pain and fright blotting themselves out-- continues past the age of three.  I hope so.

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