Thursday, August 29, 2013

Top Ten Injuries in My Life: The Weird, Wacky, and Serious

Top 10 Injures of Emma Tank

Here's the post I know you've all be waiting for.  In my life I've never had a broken a bone or, until recently, stitches, but I have been injured in some very unusual ways.  We're going to count from a more mediocre type of injury to the strangest injury of all.  Remember these aren't listed by severeness of injury, but how unusual they are. See if you can top my list!

#10 -Run and Fall

It's seventh grade.  We're playing tag at recess when the bell rings.  Excitement is high in the air as someone yells, "Race you inside!"  Swarms of children run for the door, and I'm in the middle of it all.  Suddenly, my foot catches on a rise in the sidewalk and I trip!  It wasn't really a big deal.  I got back up and brushed off my pants.  However, my friend points to my head and yelps.  I put my hand up, brought it down, looked at it, and said, "I think I may be bleeding," in a completely calm voice.  My friend says, "We've got to get you to the nurse's office!"

Quickly she led me down the hall, but I wasn't really in a hurry.  It didn't hurt and I wasn't too worried about it.  However, when the nurse saw it, she called my Mom and sent me home from school.  It turned out I'd split my eyebrow open.  Mom thought about taking me in for stitches, but when she put a butterfly bandage on it, it looked fine.  I still have a scar, but to this day I love my reaction.  Not a very severe injury, but I still find it humorous how everyone else was so much more freaked out about it than I was.  

#9 - Backstage of Robin Hood

High School Junior Year.  I'm in the summer musical Robin Hood.  How many of you even knew that was a musical?  I was playing the role of the Sheriff's wife.  One day, during our dress rehearsal, I was walking backstage and I walked past a metal bed frame that was sitting on its side with its legs sticking out in my path.  It was dark, so I didn't see it until I hit it. I scraped my hand on the edge of one of the legs and the next thing I know, blood is running down my hand.  I came out and 'my husband', the Sheriff, freaked out.  He ran quickly to find some bandages.  The bed had torn a one and a half inch chunk out of my hand.  We bandaged it up, and eventually I stopped bleeding.  We decided stitches wouldn't do any good, because it wasn't a chunk.  It was a hole.  For the next couple of days, I had a bandaid on the back of my hand under the sleeve of the dress I was wearing.  Luckily, it was a long-sleeved dress and it covered it.  

To this day, I have the neatest scar on my hand that looks just like the Nike symbol.  

Just do it.

#8 - Truck Jumping

College.  I'm working two jobs and going to school full time.  One of the jobs is working at the zoo, which I loved!  One day, I was helping load branches into a truck so it could be hauled to the dump.  As we finished, I jumped off the truck and landed wrong on a branch.  I heard a loud pop as my ankle went sideways.

Now understand, when I get hurt, I usually don't make noise, so the other employee didn't realize anything had happened.  I kind of stood there for a moment, and then leaned on the truck and we got the last little bit finished.  Finally, he said, "Okay, I'll be back!" hopped in the truck and took off.  I didn't think my ankle was broken, and I had other things to do, so I limped away.  I mowed lawns for the next four hours.  Then, when I finished working at the zoo, I had an appointment with this lady that I was going to pet-sit for, so I got in my car, drove fifteen minutes and arrived at her house.  Then, as she showed me around her house I limped up and down stairs.  I don't think she noticed I was injured, but by this point I was in a lot of pain.

The car ride had allowed my ankle enough time to stiffen up, and now it was throbbing.  We walked up and down some more stairs, and then I bid her farewell.  I then drove another fifteen minutes home, and when I got there, I plopped down on the couch and tried to pull off my steel-toed shoes.  As they say in the Grinch, "The Emma's small ankle grew three sizes that day!"

My grandparents, who I was living with for a little while, told me I was crazy and quickly got some ice for my ankle.  It was just sprained, so I limped around for about a week and then it was all better.

I did get chewed out (mildly, he's was very nice) by my boss for not reporting the injury.  But really, I didn't want to bother anyone.

#7 - Staple Job

My grandparents own apartments in a college town, so I grew up learning to work hard.  Every summer since I was 11, I would go to with my dad to work on apartments.  I'm sure I was really helpful at that age (sarcasm), but I am very grateful for the opportunities I had to do so.  It taught me how to work and it helped me earn money during the summer.  However, I was a bit clumsy (if you couldn't tell from the entries so far).  I think that some summers they spent as much as I was worth fixing things that I broke.  

One summer in particular, I was learning how to put down carpet.  We'd already ripped up the old stuff, and we were putting down padding.  My aunt gave me a staple gun and told me to staple down the padding.  She showed me how far apart to put the staples and left me to my own devices.  

I looked at the stapler.  My mind worked furiously, wanting to do this right.  It was a 'gun' right?  So, you must pull it like a trigger!  I put an end down on the floor, and the handle was facing the ground.  I put the other end against the palm of my hand, pushed really hard and pulled up on the handle.  Anyone who has ever worked a staple gun could probably tell you what happened next.  The staple gun worked fine.  The problem was, I had it upside down.  A 1/2 inch staple became deeply embedded in my palm.  With a staple gun, you put the opening to the ground, and push (not pull) down on the handle.  

I lifted my hand and gazed in consternation at my palm.  The staple so so deep that the crossbeam of the staple was even making an indent on my palm.  "Dad?" I said.

He quickly came over.  "Let me see," he commanded.  Then, without further thought, he reached over and pulled the staple out.  

"Ow," was my response.  

"Go rinse it in water until it stops bleeding," he told me, and I obeyed.  I went over to the sink and as I stood there, the edge of my vision began to change.  

"I think I'm blacking out," I told him.  So, he told me to sit down.  I did, and in a few minutes I went back to stapling...the right way.  Though I was always a little cautious about staple guns after that.   

On the plus side, the girls whose apartment we were fixing were so impressed that I only said 'Ow', that they baked me cookies the next day.  I always thought it was funny that they were impressed by that, but didn't think I was an idiot for stapling myself in the first place.

#6 - The Dog Who Loved Too Much

My first dog was nuts.  Certifiably.  I loved her, and I tried to take good care of her, but she was nicknamed Houdini for a reason.  She was a lab mix, and when she had been growing up, she had been a free-ranging farm dog.  Her owners moved into town and could no longer keep her, so my dreams came true!  I received a dog.  The problem was, she was so used to roaming that she wanted to continue to do it.  Maybe I'll do a blog on her another time, because that's not the point of this story.  

She was a great kid dog.  She was very gentle and sweet to them, and she loved me.  One day, I came out to play with her.  She was excited and jumped up to greet me as she often did.  Instead of a lick, however, her teeth accidentally snipped shut on the end of my nose.  Startled, I raised my hand to my face to find it covered in blood.  I quickly ran inside.  I was crying, but not because I was in pain.  I thought we were going to have to put my dog down, even though it had been an accident.

My parents reassured me that wouldn't happen and took me to the hospital.  I bled the whole way.   When we got there, we waited for a while, and then they looked at my nose.  It was cut open on the end of one of the nostrils, and they told us that we couldn't sew it because it was too close.  Instead, they gave me a tetanus shot.  Just before they inserted it, my dad said, "Don't worry.  It hurts only a little less than a chainsaw."  For some strange reason, I jerked when they stabbed me.  I think that made it hurt worse.  

Thanks, Dad.

#5 - In a Hole in the Ground....

This story only happened about three years ago.  I was in college, walking with a group of friends after a nice day.  It was dark, and we were heading to some guys' apartments to hang out and we were talking and having a good conversation.  I was talking and laughing too, when suddenly my foot shot through the ground and I found myself lying on my face in the grass.  When I disappeared, the group turned around to find me.  

It turned out that a manhole cover in the middle of the grass had been loose.  It was dark, so I hadn't seen it, and I just happened to step on the edge of the cover, which made it tip and allow my foot to fall in the hole.  My leg was a little scraped up, but how weird!  I feel like things like that only happen to me.  We laughed a lot, and then we kept going after making sure the cover was on securely.  

Wouldn't want some one else to fall down a manhole. 

#4 - Birth is Fun

For those of you who have not had children yet, you may not want to read this one.  Kids are wonderful.  Birth is not.  However, most birth is not as bad as my experience was.  Keep that in mind. 
This probably won't happen to you.

When, I was pregnant, my water broke around 9:45 on a Tuesday night, and my husband and I rushed to the hospital.  Grig was running around panicking, but eight hours later, we didn't know why we'd hurried in the first place.  At 7:30 a.m. the nurse informed me that I was dilated to a 9, and the baby would be arriving soon.  My mom texted me, and I told her the news.  However, at 8:30 a.m., the baby hadn’t moved down any more and so the nurse told me that we should start pushing.  I pushed for two hours.  The nurse told me at the beginning that most births for first-time mothers take 1-2 hours and so I shouldn’t expect him to come quickly.  However, after two hours there hadn’t been any progress.  At first the pushing wasn’t so bad, though at one point I did throw-up.  The nurse gave me some mouth wash, and strangely my throat stopped hurting.  However, around 10:30-11:00 a.m. the nurse decided to send for the doctor because the baby wasn’t really moving down.  Another hour passed and the nurse told me that there were two options.  One: the doctor would try to suction him out if he wouldn’t come on his own.  Or two: we would probably have to have a c-section.  Immediately, I said “No, let’s not have a c-sections.”  I wanted to have lots of babies, and I so I wanted to be able to naturally deliver my babies.  

That’s when the epidural began to wear off.  I don’t know why, but I think it was because I needed to have a c-section , and the only way it was going to happen was if I really wanted the baby out.  The pain was extraordinary, though Kevin kept going strong through the whole thing.  He was never in any distress, which is probably why the doctor took another hour to come.  Finally, about 12:30, he showed up.  After reaching inside to check the baby, he tried to manually turn him, and I ended up ripping.  As I was gushing blood and feeling every second of it, he quickly grabbed a needle and began sewing me up.  Meanwhile, very strong contractions were continuing, and I desperately wanted all the pain to stop.  I had hit my limit.  He asked me at one point if I wanted him to numb the area, and I told him to just get it over with.  I said something funny around that point, and the nurse commented that at least I hadn’t lost my sense of humor.  

He sewed me up and told me that the baby was facing up, which was part of the problem.  However, I also had a ridge of bone on my pelvis that was preventing the baby from coming out.  He recommended that we do a c-section.  At that point, I just wanted the baby out safely, so I said, “Okay.  Let’s just do it.”  He also informed me that this would probably mean all of our children would have to be delivered via c-section. 

Soon, the anesthesiologist came up and increased the drugs on my epidural, and I finally went peacefully numb.  They then wheeled me into surgery and placed me on a table.  They put up a sheet so I couldn’t see (to my great disappointment.  I kept asking Grig how thick my fat layer was because when I had worked at the vet’s I had often seen cat’s fat when we spayed them, so I was wondering how thick my fat layer was.  Grig just thought I was high from the anesthesia).  They worked quickly, and though I felt a great deal of pressure, there was little pain.  

Soon, however, I heard a very different sound.  At 1:21 p.m. on Wednesday November 28th,  Kevin began to cry.  Grig said he was green and all sorts of other colors, but though I wanted to see my baby, they told me I had to go to the recovery room first.  They sewed me back up, and Grig went with Kevin (at the Doctor’s insistence). 

And that's the story of how I got my first stitches.

#3 - My Friend, the Boa

When I worked at the zoo, there was a really nice boa constrictor (large snake) there.  She was extremely calm, and I loved taking her from her indoor inclosure to the outdoor one.  

One day, I had just finished feeding the birds, and I washed my hands and went to take her out of her cage.  For a moment, I forgot she wasn't a dog.  When you approach a dog, you are supposed to hold your hand out palm down so they can sniff you.  When you approach a snake, you are supposed to start from the tail and then move up.  I approached the boa toward her head through some of her fake plants.  She was hungry, and all she knew was something warm was approaching her quickly.  She lunged, clamping her jaws on my left pointer finger and thumb.  

Startled, I jerked back and she let go, surprised.  I don't remember closing the cage or crossing the room to the sink, but I did.  Next thing I remember is running water over my hand.  My finger began to swell abominably.  Now before I go on:  Boa Constrictors are not poisonous.  My finger was swelling because the entry holes were tiny, and so the blood had nowhere to go.  My finger was simply bleeding under the skin.

I continued to wash both my finger and thumb until the bleeding stopped.  Then, I put on antiseptic and bandaged myself back up.  Then, I went back to the very surprised and confused snake, took her out of her cage and carried her outside.  I think that she was just as startled as I'd been.  I was confused at the pattern on my hand, and I looked up boa constrictors on the internet when I got home.  Turns out that they have two rows of teeth on the top, and one row on the bottom.  The teeth are very tiny and needle sharp. 

A couple of days later, my finger was hurting when I put pressure on it.  As I examined it, I found a very small clear object about the size of a sliver embedded in my finger.  Turned out that when I had jerked my hand back, I had pulled out some of the snake's teeth.  I had several teeth in my finger and I worked on pulling them out for the next two weeks.  My finger healed fine, but now I have a cool scar.

Do I still like snakes?  Well, we have one as a pet now, so what do you think?

#2 - Sea Turtle are Sweet

How can it get any weirder you ask?  Just wait.

During our honeymoon, we went on a cruise to the Caribbean.  We went to several islands, but one of my favorite was the Grand Caiman Islands.  While there, we decided to visit a Sea Turtle Farm.  If you've never seen a baby sea turtle, those things are adorable.  When you hold them away from you, they try to swim, but since they're out of water, it looks like they're flying.  To calm them, you stroke them gently under their chins, and they relax.  It is adorable.  They get this little blissful look in their eyes like a contented puppy.  We went to progressively older turtles.  

In the 18-month pen, we were allowed still allowed to catch them and pick them up.  I did so, but the turtle I caught was really pretty big.  He was at least 35-40 pounds.  I had him on his side and was stroking his throat trying to calm him down.  He was really strong and heavy.  It was awkward trying to hold him and stroke his throat at the same time, but I was waiting for Grig to take a picture.  It seemed to be working.  The turtle calmed down and stopped struggling.  I remember looking at his face and watching as he kind of eyed me for a moment.  Then suddenly, he struck.  With a slapping sound, his front fin hit me square in the left eye.  I was blinded for a moment.  He hit me really hard.  I petted him for a few more seconds, and then I let him loose.  My eye hurt for the rest of the day.  It turned out that he had cracked my contact lens all the way through.  When we got back to the boat, I wore my glasses for nearly the remainder of the trip.  However, while we were still there, I put on the sunglasses because my eye was a big photo sensitive.  After the trip, we went to an eye doctor, and they said that they'd never heard of anyone coming to see them because of that.
As a side note, later we had turtle soup.  It was quite good. 

(In this picture, you can see how red my eye was.  This was taken after I was whacked.  This turtle is also half as large as the one that whacked me.)

#1 - How Did I Manage That?

And finally, the injury you've all been waiting for!

When I was four, we were going to visit my grandparents.  While we waited for my parents to finish packing up, I was playing with the front window in the car.  Suddenly my parents heard me screaming, and i came in with blood running down my chin and my lip was beginning to swell up.  They put a cold washrag on my face to stop the bleeding and rushed me to the hospital.  I didn't need stitches, but my lip was so swollen that for one or two weeks I could only drink soup out of a straw, and I couldn't eat anything else.  What happened?

I had rolled up my lip in the car window.  Stick out your lower lip.  See how far out you can get it.  Now try to stick it in a window.  Hard right?  The worst part of this story was a manual roll up window.  It wasn't even automatic.  I rolled up the window on my own lip manually.

As far as I can figure, this is what happened.  We were playing a game, and I rolled up the window until only a little gap remained.  Then, I pushed my lip through the gap.  Then, without taking my lip out, I went to roll down the window.

I rotated the handle the wrong way.  Instead of freeing my lip, my lip was crushed by the glass.  Painful?  Yes.  However, as I became older, I thought it was something I had dreamed or made up.  I checked with my mother, and yes, it really happened.

Now doesn't that beat all?


  1. It was fun reliving most of those stories again! I don't think I can beat that list.

    1. Though you do have your good ones...Like the time you jumped on the tramp and hurt your face.

  2. No worse injuries, but I did embarrass myself a lot during high school. ONe time I was waxing skiis on the railing of a stairway by a hill covered with foliage. I had a sudden urge to hange from the rail by my knees, like I used to do on playground equipment in elementary school. At the egging of my friends, I did so. The lower bar surprised me by hitting me in the lower back as I swung down by my knees, and i rolled off of the railing, and down the hill about fifteen feet... right as the cute cross country running boys went by. I had a lot of leaves in my hair. it was great.

    .... I could never manage a pain threshold for that long (ankle). I'm kind of a wimp, maybe, when it comes to pain...

    1. Nah, you're way tough! That's a great story though. It made me giggle.

    2. I wondered what your number one injury would be. You have a lot of crazy, funny accidents. And the scars to make you laugh when you see them.