While hiking this past Friday with my family there were a few lovely bushes near the trail that sported some VERY LARGE and very SCARY LOOKING thorns... knowing my phobia Q wisely warned me of said thorns and I steered as far as possible to the other side of the trail while still following the "stay on designated trails" signs. My youngest kids have not had to witness me around thorns (except when I refuse to touch the roses they get at their dance concerts) and thus thought this was HILARIOUS. (note, there is nothing funny about this... really... so stop laughing at my wussy behavior!)
I did eventually (an hour later on the return to the car) get up my nerve and get close enough to take a picture of the thorny bush (though not close enough to get a GOOD picture - thus the google images provided one).
You see (finally she gets to the story) when I was a mere 8 years old I was playing at my Grandmother's house in Loveland CO. My siblings and I were all out in the yard playing with the Willy Waterbug (a glorified sprinkler) running around barefoot on the grass in the shade provided by many large Russian Olive Trees. I'm pretty sure it was June - maybe it was my sister's birthday? My memory has some holes... kinda like my foot was about to have. (there I go telling the story all out of order) Well, now that I've spilled the beans - I'll jump ahead to the point where there is a large and scary looking thorn sticking out of my foot - which of course means that a part of this thing is also sticking IN my foot! Then came the freaking out... which I don't specifically remember, but I'm sure it happened... what I do remember is my Uncle D (just 5 years older than me) coming and trying to calm me down and reaching to pull out the offending thorn. I remember THIS part of the freaking out... I did not want him to touch it and insisted he instead carry me inside to where my Grandmother was. Thinking of course that she would have a better option than pulling it out... nope, she just yanked it out. No blood no harm right? Nope... but we'll get to that later - just remember that you actually WANT a puncture wound to bleed - at least a little bit!)
Then, my grandmother being a grandmother, my foot was subjected to a hot tub of water infused with Epsom Salts. Apparently it's a Panacea - draws out the nasties or something... I just remember it was REALLY HOT and my foot still hurt like @#^&! (though at 8 I'm sure I didn't use such language!)
Gap in Memory... maybe I passed out... maybe my grandma put some medicine in a spoonful of Applesauce to get me to chill... anyway - my mom eventually came back and since it was some important event like my sister's maybe birthday we were dragged off to the shoe store. I remember hopping through the aisles of Sears while my mom rolled her eyes (because of course Grandma had told her it didn't even bleed... and besides, she'd used EPSOM SALT!). I sat down and the shoe salesman brought a cute pair of blue suede shoes (yeah, I'm actually not kidding) that had Pooh Bear on one sole and Tigger on the other. (this I remember? the brain is truly strange isn't it?) My left foot was pretty swollen by now and my mom instructed the shoe salesman to just make sure it fit my right foot - I'd wear both of them later. (oooh, this might count as foreshadowing...)
The huge swelling and the fact that my foot was HOT made my mom realize that this was more than a scratch. Shoot - maybe if I hadn't been such a hypochondriac between the ages of 0-7? At this point we made our first hospital visit... what do I remember about this? I remember being separated from my mom briefly... of course at the time I didn't know the WHY of the separation... the staff was busy accusing my mother of child abuse in another room... apparently the foot was that ugly. I think I'm glad that my mom was not the camera bug that I am!!
Loooong Story - Reeeallly Condensed at this point... surgery, surgery, new doctor, surgery, lots of infection and being isolated in a "clean" room in the hospital while one incision was allowed to heal without the benefit of stitches, surgery, surgery, new doctor, surgery... all in all they removed bits of bone, muscles, tendons - probably some other gory stuff too... at one point I remember being able to push on one side of my foot and the other side of my foot would bulge out because of some weird abscess. I remember during one surgery they removed my birthmark from my toe because it might cause complications... (that really ticked me off because my brother and I had matching birthmarks).
In fifth grade (having never worn that stupid Pooh Bear shoe even though Tigger had long since been worn down past recognition) I remember my bus driver promising me a party when I finally got off of crutches - but just like the shoes that I never wore that didn't happen, because by the time I was off crutches I was in seventh grade!
Luckily I had cheated often enough along the way (and gotten a few breaks here and there from the crutches) that I did remember how to walk...
Finally - age 13, the gawkiest age of all and I get to lose the crutches... oh happy day Calooh Callay... I was ecstatic!!! and then "honey, I think we need to get your eyes checked..." (nope, no great story behind the glasses... I was just nearsighted)
Oh - wait! You have to know the coolest part... the "new doctors" that came into the picture... My sainted mother didn't tell me that part until later (thanks again mom) but the reason we switched doctors wasn't insurance or anything so mundane. We switched every time the doctor gave up and told my parents that it was time to amputate. Again, thanks Mom!!!!
The moral of the story? Wear shoes, doesn't matter who pulls out the thorn, blood isn't always a bad thing, if the shoe fits, never cry wolf, and trust your mom!!! (and never, never, never plant a Russian Olive tree... really, don't - I found out yesterday they're considered noxious weeds in many of the Northern counties of my state)