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Wednesday, August 08, 2007

Ah poor little chap! The sympathy vote

From our visit to England

Little chap attempts to compose himself in the car. The wailing has waned as we make ready for our public appearance. We are in a holding pattern until we can return to civilization. [translation = the holiday flat] Fortunately I had a towel handy, as you do when you go for a beach holiday in the rain. I’m not certain what size of towel it really is? Too big for a hand towel, too small for a bath towel. Whatever size it really is, is unimportant, as it only serves the purpose of covering him from waist to mid calf.

One corner of the towel is very soggy. It is soggy because he has been chewing and biting it for the last twenty minutes. I am uncertain why it should be, that people in great pain should find relief from their pain by biting? I do know that before the days of anesthesia, victims were encouraged to down a pint or two of ale or something stronger, and would have a cloth inserted into their jaws to bite upon when the pain became too much to bare. Was this to protect their teeth? Is there an instinct to clench one’s teeth in times of great pain? I can think of childbirth where women were also given similar relief; bear down and bite down. There must be something in it.

I also know that for one of my sons, when he experiences pain, he is apt to bite anything within biting distance. The thing that is usually within biting distance is me, as I rush to assist him with whatever injury he has currently inflicted upon himself. Broadly speaking, stuffing the end of a towel in a six year old’s mouth, is an act, likely to be misinterpreted. If the stuffing is accompanied by screaming, indicative of someone being impaled by a 6 foot stake through the heart, a parent’s actions fall into an entirely different category altogether.

Having overcome the latest dose of public humiliation and risked the summoning of the Child Protection League, we are now recovering our equilibrium in the car.
The rest of our party are already ensconced in the pub, where luncheon has been ordered. They await our presence. Junior assures me that his wounds are such that even the thought of food is enough to move him into a state of stomach churning vomiting. But I also know that he is hungry. If we can just reach a state of relative calm, I am confident that consumption can be achieved and malnutrition warded off for another 24 hours.

The wet corner of the towel is a source of distress but the rest of his bodily condition is of greater distress. We practice our breathing and gird our loins as we step out of the car. I hold the towel around his personage at the back. [translation = the lady in waiting holding the train] He hobbles towards the door, a cross between John Wayne, Long John Silver and a ballerina on tippy toes.

We are observed by a mother putting her baby into the car and assisting her elderly parents to do likewise. She smiles at me, a warm smile, “oh dear, little bit of an accident? Never mind, you’ll be right as rain soon.” She shuts her car door and gives us a little wave. My son mutters disconsolately, “not little accident, BIG accident.” I mutter soothing words as we slowly make progress towards the door. He is a little large at six and a half to be having that kind of an accident, but on this occasion, it is not that kind of an accident. It is an entirely different kind of accident, the kind of accident that few people on the planet appreciate.

The bar staff watch our slow progress towards the table, but say nothing, the height of discretion. Everyone is very conciliatory towards a young gentleman's delicate sensibilities. I do not address the situation directly, as this is a perfectly satisfactory state of affairs for all concerned. This mis-understanding elicits the appropriate behaviour from strangers. He sits on his bench and sighs, exhausted. He glances down towards his knee and winces as he bends his leg to seat himself. His eyes widen as he peers beneath the table and the towel. “I can see it! I gonna die! No hospital!” he squalks. [translation = at 50 decibels] I tease the corner of the soggy towel towards the corner of his mouth. He seizes it in his front teeth, worries it like a dog with his eyes tight shut and then chews contentedly.

It would never do for his eyes to have to see the graze on his knee, the pinpricks of blood down his shin that no-one can touch or clean. [translation = and the rapidly forming scab, I hope].

Moral - do not use your imaginary snow board, at high speed in a park that inhabited by foreign birds.

Little known fact - English Pigeons are twice the size of their American cousins.

Even lesser known fact - Superpigeon and snowboards don't mix.

Addendum - the child and the towel were surgically separated some thirty six hours later, with no long term ill effects for either party.

Patience.......the "answer."


Jeni said...

Poor kid! He was right in muttering his response of not a "little" accident but rather a big one. It's all relative, isn't it?
Chewing, biting down on something - probably goes right along with the "bite your tongue" to prevent saying the words you WANT to say but at the wrong time too. And usually, when I'm involved in a choice like that, why is it when I really probably should open my mouth and speak, I nearly bite a hole through my tongue or lip but when I should stay quiet, I manage to blurt out the wrong darned things? Ah, I know -Murphy and his damned law rule my life - and my tongue - or so it seems.

Anonymous said...

Sympathy vote from me! Not nice for anyone to have an accident, let alone a young child who finds it difficult to cope with such. All hell breaks loose in this house if Amy sees blood or even just has a small incident. She's such a drama-queen. But who cares. Dealing with it their way makes them so much more independent. A little help from us when required..!

Crystal xx

Linda said...

When you were writing about people biting on things during times of pain, I remembered the phrase "bite the bullet" which has always been used as sort of a prelude to "suck it up". This, of course, got me curious as to the origin of the phrase and so I found this:

"Even after the advent of anesthetics such emergency surgery has had to be performed at times. Particularly in times of war when anesthetics may be in limited supply or unavailable.

To ease the pain the patient was given a couple of stiff belts of whiskey to numb the senses, then given a stick or lead bullet to bite down on as the surgeon went to work with knife and saw.

The bullet or stick was given to let the patient focus their energy and attention on the biting instead of the cutting and pain. It may also have helped to reduce the screaming, which probably benefited the surgeon and attendants.

Why bite on a bullet? Made of lead, bullets are malleable. Although quite strong they will actually deform somewhat when bitten hard. Hence teeth would not break as would likely happen from biting a stone for example. Bullets are also readily available in times of war, when this type of surgery is frequently called for. "Bite the bullet" may have originated in the civil war."

I guess it makes sense in that it is deflecting the pain, or attempting to at least, so for your son to bite on a towel was a way for him to deflect not just the pain from his knee but also his thoughts.

I think he's quite brilliant!

Jade said...

Aww poor little guy. Hope he got tons of positive reenforcement for handling it so well.

Anonymous said...

Not sure how they are about sprays, but we found WONDERFUL success with Dermoplast. Aerosol, so I'm sure we are burning a huge hole in the ozone layer, but it makes me feel like I'm at least disinfecting it even when I'm not allowed to touch it to clean, and has the added benefit of numbing the site of the "accident."

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