12 June 2009

Family Fears

My aunt Ellen is a nurse in the ER. Once a toddler came in. He had choked on a grape, and died. My aunt cuts her kids' food into bites no larger than pencil erasers. She tells us the story every time the kids have grapes.

When they were two and four, my brother Daniel and my cousin Elijah were playing at the top of my aunt Rebecca's stairs. Elijah fell to the bottom. My aunt carried him over to our house limp and broken-looking. He was unconscious, we thought he was dead. He is fine, but my aunt gets nervous when little kids are on the stairs.

When I was five, I stepped on a bee. My foot got infected, and there was a red streak going up the inside of my leg, over my ankle. My mom took me to the doctor. I remember he called it blood poisoning. He said if that red streak came up to my heart, I would die. I watch bites and scrapes very carefully.

When my sister was nine, our kitten scratched her. She got Cat Scratch Fever. She ended up missing almost six weeks of fourth grade. We always wash animal scratches with soap and water.

When my dad was a little kid, he liked to spin around in circles until he got so dizzy he fell down. Until he spun himself into a doorway and sliced open his head. He doesn't like it when he sees little kids spinning around.

When I was 7 1/2, my siblings and some other kids that were over tried to lock me out of the house. They slammed my finger in the front door. From the outside, I pulled out my hand and stuck in my mouth. From the inside, my sister saw my finger tip. She opened the door, and it fell on the floor. She looked at me, and I had blood pouring out of my mouth, all over my shirt, the porch, my toes. Two reconstructive surgeries later, I have a functional (albeit ugly) hand and finger tip. We don't ever slam doors.

When my dad was in elementary school, one of his friends fell and got a particularly bad bruise. But it was just a bruise, and no one really thought anything of it. However when he still had the bruise a month later, his parents took him to the doctor. He had cancer. He died. My dad is very watchful of bruises.

What do you worry about?


  1. Well frick...it's Friday and this post just gave me the heebie jeebies.

    Ugh. Finger...falling...UGH.

  2. I worry about everything... and now I will worry even more, thanks :P

  3. I have done *SO* many things as a child that I don't let my children do it's not even funny...

    I guess the most notable is that I keep my son's bicycle maintained religiously...Given the number of times I came home drenched in blood after parts fell off causing accidents, etc...

    We live and learn or we don't live long. If we can try to keep our kids from making the same mistakes we made we're in good shape.

    They should make all new ones...

  4. I get weak in the knees when I see a small child by a slightly opened bi-fold door. I'm so afraid the door will close on their tiny fingers and smoosh them.

    My cousin's son got Cat Scratch Fever a few years back. Who knew it wasn't just a song by Ted Nugent?

  5. When I was a teenager I heard a father tell the story of his pre-teen daughter blowing up a balloon for her younger sibling. She accidentally unpinched the balloon to blow more air into it while she was still taking a breath. She inhaled the balloon, choked on it, and died.

    My family is ultra careful with balloons.

    When I was 3 I woke up from a nap and went outside looking for my mom, who was just finishing mowing the yard. She was making her final turn and the mower kicked up a rock and hit me in the jaw, requiring 7 stitches. I won't mow my yard if my son is present unless he is sitting on my lap on the mower.

  6. We are extra special careful around fireworks cause my god sister was holding a roman candle and it misfired back at her stomach. She had really nasty burns and I am still afraid of them.

  7. All of the above! Add to that, riding bikes without shoes on, since my brother literally tore off the sole of his foot in the spokes.

    Add to that, sparklers. Yeah, the ones everybody lights and hands out to little kids, the ones that burn huge holes in said little kids' bodies.

    Girl, I could go on all day!

  8. I didn't worry about anything until I read this post.

  9. My husband is an EMT. We worry about helmets, elbow pads, knee pads, candles, lighters, stairs, water, roofs, ladders, couches, fireworks, peanuts, fevers that turn to seizures, childbirth outside of hospitals, cars, car seats...and any other calls he has ever been on that involve children.
    And now, slaming doors, and bruises.

  10. OMG Jen! I am always so worried about Gordon choking and smashing his fingers and your stories have given me the complete willies! That being said, I alway actively try not to be completely paranoid parent. I try to be cautious but not create an environment of complete fear. I didn't know about your finger, that is brutal.

  11. I believe I may have mentioned my insane fear of burning down my house. Except it's not insane because my cousin DID burn down her house.

  12. I worry I'll turn into my mother. But, you know, I think that's common.

  13. I worry about the phone ringing at 2am. I have to answer it if it rings late at night...I worry that my friends and family be happy and healthy...Other than that, we just worry about my brother when he's overseas.

    We're pretty laid back. Nothing physical...

  14. My youngest generally wakes up around 6:30 and they're both in bed by 8pm. I worry about everything in between.

  15. I'm afraid of the stairs. It's my phobia. And the food choking thing. Yeah. My mom had a friend who's grandson died because he choked on a bologna sandwich. I have never bought bologna in 15 years. And I still get upset if my daughter tries to eat when she's alone. Weird, I know.

  16. Good God.

    I would have admitted to worrying about none of this shit prior to reading the post. Now I'll add that to my daily 'worries'.

    I'm going to be a single mom of 2.
    I have no job.
    I probably can't afford to stay in the house but can't afford to move either...I'll play this one by ear.
    I'll just quit there - I'm going to have a heart attack if I keep thinking about what to worry over.

  17. Ugh. Soooo many things. Cancer. Mosquitoes, since my girl is disgustingly allergic. Anger. Silence.

  18. When I was younger I choked on a gobstopper. Those,and their ilk, are not allowed in my home.

    My brother smashed his hand when he was four by reaching for a toy at the top of a display at the store. He almost died. My kids are not allowed to touch the shelves in stores.

    We've had many experiences in our lives with ticks. When the kids are outside in the summer, they are checked, thoroughly, at all diaper changes and bathtimes. I will not let them die because I missed one.

  19. Oh jebus. So much scary stuff!!!
    My mom choked on one of those See's Candies xmas time peppermints a few years ago -- the striped ones that are a little larger than a grape.
    Those haven't been bought since!

    I fell in the kitchen sink at age 3 & had to get stitches in my tongue! ;p