For some of us who get a bit teary-eyed this time of year...

(And as I continue to think of my departed loved ones on this holiday, I know that a smile and a chuckle is what they would expect from me.  And what I, in turn, would love to provide for them....) 

When I was teaching fifth grade I had a boy in my class named Brad. He was a very athletic kid who loved any game that involved running all out.  It was early September that particular day and the kids had organized a game of kickball.  The next thing I knew, Brad was running toward me with a look of shock on his face, screaming my name.  As he got closer I looked at his leg and could see a deep, deep gash on his shin. (When he slid into third base the base flipped and the NAIL holding it down ripped his leg wide open.)    I immediately tried to hold his leg together as we ran into our classroom.  Still holding his leg, I sat him down and called down to the nurse from the classroom phone.  

“This is Mrs. Smythe, Brad cut his leg open and I think we need to call 911. No, we can’t come down the hall, please come up.” Then, after my first ride in an ambulance, I decided there was one job that I could never, never do.  Yeah, you guessed it - the school nurse.

A couple of months ago while doing a read aloud in the classroom, Rachel stood up and came up to the rocking chair.

“Mrs. Smythe, can I go to the nurse?
“Rachel, I am in the middle of a story right now.  Can it wait?”
“I don’t think so.”
“Do you feel like you are going to throw up?”
“No. But I’m sick.”
“Do you have a fever?”
“What’s that?”
“Let me feel your head.  Nope.  No fever.  Does your throat hurt?”
“Will the nurse send me home for that?”
“Rachel, are you really sick?”
“Well, not really.  I would just rather be home playing right now.”

Every year I am always amazed at how brilliant kindergarten children are.  It doesn’t take them long to figure out their ticket home.   After the first child of the year goes to the nurse and gets sent home, it’s like a duck to water. Yesterday was no exception.  My little Bruce wanted to go to the nurse, and when I told him that he really didn’t LOOK sick, he was adamant.  So, against my better judgment, I took him. 

Nurse:  “So Bruce, what hurts?”
“Every time I blow my nose my ear hurts.”
“Well, how long has this been going on?” the nurse asked.
“Um, let’s see, about 52 weeks.  Since 2007 at least.”  
And with that, I gently took his hand, smiled at the nurse and marched him back to class.

I laughed so hard that I decided this column HAD to be dedicated to the school nurse.  So, without further ado and with a shout-out to those incredible nurses in the trenches, here are their tales… and their quotes from the little ones:

“My ear hurts when I burp.”
“My lips are tired.”
“I’m leaking plasma.”
“I have a hernia in my knee.”
“I think my sister has the weasels.”
“My right eye is blinking.”
“Somebody Fwode up and it made me sick.”
“I had a crustacean on my eye.”
“I had to see the eye optimist.”
“My sister has mice in her hair.”

John had gone to the nurse complaining of being "gassy"
The nurse asked him when his last bowel movement was. He said "Umm, when I was about 3.”

Sure, there are many important things kids learn in kindergarten; letters, letter sounds, how to be a good friend, how to write words and how to read.  However, there are other lessons that are learned quite by accident, and how to get the “go home for free” card is one of them.  Now if you’ll all excuse me, I’m gonna take a trip to the nurse.  I feel like I have to Fwoe up.


Kate Coveny Hood said...

Oliver was really sick for a week in the Fall and discovered that staging home sick is totally rad (play, watch TV, do as little as possible...lather, rinse, repeat...)

The next week, I got a call from the clinic telli g me Other was brought in and that he wasn't feeling well. BUT he didn't have a fever. Since he was fine when I put him on the bus that morning AND he didn't have a temperature, I suggested that they give his teacher this info - and then call me if they still felt like he needed to go home. Funny - I never did hear back from them...

Loved your article. The quotes are priceless!

ChiTown Girl said...

That was freakin' awesome! Thank you SO much for sharing these! It's exactly what I needed at 1:50 am, after a LONG day of shopping, wrapping and loading the car with gifts.

So. Cal. Gal said...

I hate fwoeing up too!

In high school, I found a way to get sent home. For some reason, the school nurse never thought to ask how I could get a stomach ache, exactly every other Thursday. I still graduated in the top 1/3 of my class. lol!

ShanaM said...

Brilliant !!

Happy Christmas to you and your family!!!

Gigi said...

My right eye is blinking - that is classic! I wonder if my boss will buy it?

Brian Miller said...

haha these are awesome and iwill have to use a few...hmm....hey merry christmas VM!

JoAnna said...

It makes me wonder what all of those home schooled kids do when they want a ticket out? Hmmm.

jessica said...

My daughter went to the nurse because she missed our puppy!!!!
the nurse actually called me!!
The regular nurse (I had her on speed dial by first name) had retired and the new nurse hadn't been warned about my daughter. She learned pretty quickly to stop calling me!

Mellodee said...

I never really thought about it, but you are right....I'd never want to be a school nurse! Not only because of all the kids who try to manipulate the system (every other Thursday and she didn't figure it out???) but more because of the times when the need is real! Kids who are truly sick or injured are heartwrenching!!

Still the opportunities for a chuckle must offset some of the downside! I mean how often do you get to meet someone who hasn't had a BM since 2007??

Ahhhh, kids! What joy they bring us!

Notes From ABroad said...

I hate it when people fwoe up .. I would make a bad nurse unless it is the end part where they are just bored and need me to read to them/tell them jokes. I am good at that.
So are you. Happiest of Holiday wishes to you.
besitos, C

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