(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?”
“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.