When I was about five or six, my family moved into a two-story house heated by steam radiation. I used to try spinning on the twist knobs at the bottom of the cast iron radiators, and managed a three-quarter turn. I stopped my efforts at a full turn when I fell and got a black eye after hitting the knob.
My older sisters and brothers used to scare me and my little brother around Hallowe’en by taunting us before bedtime with a ghostly sounding chant of: “There’s a bad guy in the window!”, starting low and soft and reaching a high crescendo after the third or fourth refrain, and we’d run screaming up to our rooms. A night or so before Hallowe’en that year, my brothers got the bright idea of cutting out a cardboard silhouette of a man, placing it in the upstairs window near my bedroom, and illuminating it with a flashlight behind the curtain.
I got so scared when I saw it, especially because one of my sisters was chanting the ‘bad guy’ theme just before my brothers moved to reveal the cut-out, or somehow made sure I saw it. I ran screaming with my hands over my eyes and my head down, directly into one of the cast iron radiators. I cut the top of my head open so deep that my mother had to bring me to the hospital to get stitches.
I remember that when we got to the hospital and they were cleaning the wound, the nurse told me that the doctor was going to sew me up, but if I needed him to stop, just tell her it hurt, and they’d stop. I was lying face down in a pillow, and yelled as loud as I could for them to stop because it hurt so much, but they didn’t listen. My only consolation was that it took three nurses to hold me still enough for the doctor to finish sewing up the wound. I was so mad at that nurse for tricking me.
Being lied to about pain when I was a child led me to always tell my son that shots, or stitches, etc., would indeed hurt, but that I believed he could handle it, and it would be over as quickly as possible. Thankfully, there weren’t many times I needed to prepare him for pain.
© seekingsearchingmeaning (aka Hermionejh) and Life On Earth’s Blog, 2010 – infinity.