Friday, May 11, 2012

Refusing to be Upstaged

Elise must have been feeling a little put out because her twin received an entire blog post to herself, so I'm pretty sure that she lost a fingertip in a door-slamming incident at school just for spite.

Fun times.

I was in the school office trying to buy some pants at the time of the incident. (I know, I know. Reading one of these things is like falling into the rabbit hole, isn't it, Folks?) I sent E-1 up to fetch E-2 from the classroom so that they could try on said pants when It happened.  Elise was standing in the doorway to the classroom when a student (in a bizarre attempt at humor), slammed the door to keep Elise out of the room.

Well, he kept all of her out except for the top joint of her right-hand ring finger. That part sort of flopped through the crack in the door while the rest of her body stood in the hallway, so the joke needs a little work on the execution.

She heard the popping sound of bone breaking and then ran to her teacher's desk for assistance. Elise, being Elise, simply announced that she was bleeding and got a tissue. Mrs. Jennifer held it together like a pro, especially after realizing that Elise's finger was actually lifting off in the tissue. They hustled down the hall and to the office where I was casually perusing through an amazing selection of Shortie-sized used jeans. When they rounded the corner, it was completely obvious that something was bad wrong by E's face.

She sees my face responding to her face and says, "Don't cry, Mommy, don't cry, but I think my finger fell off."

Huh. That's a new one.

Now, I'm really fantastic at multiple things. I can put an entire meal on the table for twelve people in 40 minutes flat. I can organize 63 high school kids and various adults and put on Macbeth in ten days. I can pack seven people into one vehicle for a two-week-long journey. I can make money magically stretch from have-to's into want-to's. I have degrees in Psychology and English. I'm really quite prolific.

But you present me with a severed finger, and it's Chicken With Head Cut Off Impression Hour at Casa Johnson. I turned into Prissy from Gone With the Wind.  I certainly don't know nothing 'bout reattaching no fingah.

So, I did the completely natural thing under the circumstances; I freaked out.

Thank God that He saw fit in His infinite wisdom to have three nurses standing in the office with me at that exact second. 1) The school secretary, 2) some random woman paying her school tuition, and 3) the woman I was buying the jeans from. They took one look at the hand and one look (listen) at me and sent me running for ice. No joke. Get the nutcake out of here so that we can accurately assess the situation. I know when I'm being dismissed, so I ran for it. I'm that chick who should be sent for towels and hot water, not standing at the birthing chute. I came back with a baggie of ice, the nurses shoved the finger/hand into the bag, and Part II of this nightmare began.

See, my other Achilles Heel is this...directions. I'm not just directionally challenged, I'm almost like a special needs person when it comes to finding my way. I'm not making light or joking either. I really can't find my way out of a paper sack with a flashlight and a GPS. Everyone who lives here will get this; the rest of you will just have to imagine, but the directions I was given to get to the local hospital (that is in the opposite direction from my house and the hospital I would be most likely to attend), involved the words, "turn left at the old Jack's". Now, where in the crap is that? I am not sure that I can find the new Jack's much less some old one that I've never eaten at.  It's just happenstance that I knew where they told me to go. I mean like a miracle.

Elise didn't shed a single tear in the school office, didn't freak, didn't scream, nothing. (In fact, I was the only person of like ten people who was actually screaming.) And this was a BAD cut. Her finger was severed straight through the center of the nail bed, like it had been hacked off with a butcher knife. (I will spare you the gory, disgusting photos.) It was only  hanging on by the pad of the fingerprint. But once we got in the car and away from that initial panic, she began to cry mostly out of fear more than pain.

Fortunately, once we got rolling, I was in the zone again. In charge. Focused. So, I began to do the natural Johnson thing--Distraction Through Laughter. It's our favorite Coping Technique.

Shall I demonstrate?

"Now, Elise, you  have to stop crying and calm down this instant, because if you puke everywhere that is going to add time to our little trip here. There is NO WAY you are going to be able to find your fingertip in that baggie of ice water if you drop it while you are heaving, and I'm certainly not digging it out of there for you. I have to draw the line somewhere."


"And furthermore, Young Lady, this really isn't altogether that big of a whoop. Seriously, it's your right hand, and you are left handed. And it's your ring finger--like the weakest finger on your hand--and you even kept the knuckle, so you can totally still wear a ring. So, worst case scenario you've made the entire High Five experience awkward for people, but you can always shift to a High Four like nothing ever happened. See? give me high four." At which point I literally held up my hand with the ring finger tucked into my palm and she actually high-four'd me with her left hand.

The Zone, I tell you.
By the time we hit the door to the emergency room (which I had to drive around the hospital twice to find in spite of the enormous red EMERGENCY ENTRANCE signs that were everywhere--I told you--I give new meaning to Directionally Challenged), we were giggling and laughing, no tears in sight.

Sitting there on the gurney, having viewed the absolutely grodie missing finger, waiting on the doctor to come in and stitch her up, still no pain medication having been delivered, Elise began a little Johnson Coping herself.

She said, "Man, I'm totally like the Soul Surfer girl."

Pause for effect.

I deadpanned, "Well, except there was a shark, and it was her whole arm."

She nodded, solemnly, "Yeah, but mine was the class clown and my finger is part of my arm, so, totally Soul Surfer. I mean, some people are even more scared of clowns than they are of sharks."

I nod, simmering in the joke.

"So, should we get you like a little tiny prosthetic fingertip?"

She cocked her head in thought for a second. "Nah, her dog chewed up her arm,  but like Mellie would totally eat my fingertip and then you'd make me dig through the dog poop to get it and I'm NOT wearing a dog poop finger."

"Well, you could always just go with your naturally deformed paint your nails all jacked and stuff. Paint a jagged edge like torn paper."

"Cool! or maybe an arrow with 'this way up'."

"Or 'oh no!'"


Now you're talking, Sister. We had the doctor looking at us like we were crazy. Well, if the prosthetic fingertip fits....

Because We Are Johnsons.

1 comment:

Michelle said...

It's not scriptural, but I am firmly convinced that laughter/humor at odd or awkward times is truly one of furits of the spirit. It makes room for the rest of them when things are tense. Glad that Elise is ok.