Monday, January 13, 2014

Our School Nurse is Wonder Woman

In my thirteen years of public school education, I never once visited the school nurse. To my knowledge, it just wasn't done. If you were sick, you went home. If you were not sick, you stayed in class.

During my sophomore year, I once spent several hours after minor oral surgery bleeding profusely and excusing myself to the restroom for clean gauze. This didn't faze anyone. No one suggested I see the nurse. When I'd bled through my entire gauze supply, I went to the office and called home. I'm not sure we even had a nurse.

My kids are different. I'm on a first-name basis with the nurse at their private school. My pulse no longer races when I see the school name on caller ID. I know I likely will hear, "Hi. It's Sandy. Everything's fine."

At first, I feared my son was a hypochondriac. Then I wondered whether he had an unnatural attachment to the nurse. I finally assumed he went to the nurse only to skip class.

There's probably a kernel of truth in each, but I finally figured out the real reason kids are sent to see the school nurse so often. She's a problem solver. She might actually be Wonder Woman.

My kids have visited the nurse for bleeding, a blow to the head, and severe stomach pains. But they've also visited her for a band-aid, an ice cube, calamine lotion, cough drops, Chapstick, help pulling a loose tooth, stress, and hunger. The woman can solve anything that shows up at her door. She dispenses both Tylenol and cheese sticks--whatever gets the job done.

Today, she gave my son 120 stitches. In the seat of his pants. His actual pants. A medical professional hand-sewed my child's pants in the middle of her work day.

During PE, my son split a gaping hole in the seat of his pants. Until now, I would have asked why a teacher would send a child to the nurse because of torn pants. Now I know--she solves problems. She took his torn pants, gave him some lost and found loaner pants, and sent him back to class. Then she hand-stitched the twelve-inch tear and reunited my son with his pants before the day was over.

What private school tuition buys you, apparently, are superheroes. Our school nurse can handle a medical emergency, comfort an upset child, and sew. I (obviously) haven't seen any invisible jet, but she sounds like Wonder Woman to me. I wonder if she cooks and crafts too....

When my son told me this story, I planned to toss the pants in the trash. Then I saw the workmanship. As soon as I wash them, he's wearing these pants to school. They are a monument to superhero abilities in seemingly average humans. (Thanks, Sandy.)

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