Sunday, January 27, 2013

Life Story: The Scar on My Knee

 One day, at the end of a hot hot summer, I decided to go play across the street at my friend’s house. I was five, nearly six years old, and only a couple weeks away from starting Kindergarten. We went down into her cool dark basement to watch Sesame Street. My friend was sitting on the floor, and I was sitting on the couch, and we were both totally enjoying ourselves. All was well.

Then, for some unremembered reason, I got off the couch to go over to my friend to tell her something. I slipped down onto my knees and  proceeded to walk across the long shag carpet, still on my knees, across the room.

Suddenly, massive sharp pain! In my right knee! I stopped. I gasped. I cried. I moaned.

“What’s wrong?” my friend asked?

“I don’t know! My knee! It hurts!” I had no idea what was happening. But I did know that I couldn’t move or bend my knee.

We looked at it and saw one teeny drop of blood.

I tried to stand up, balancing on my left leg and then trying to put pressure on my right leg to walk. Intense pain. I couldn’t walk. My knee was frozen in a bent shape anyway. There was no way.

By that time, the mom of the house had been called to the rescue. She had no idea what to do either, but she did manage to pick me up and carry me across the street, back to my house, where she deposited me on my front porch and told my mom that something happened, but we don't know what!

My mom, perplexed and worried, asked me what happened and I told her that I “walked across the carpet on my knees, then something hurt!” A few minutes later, the neighbors came back over and said they had looked all through the carpet to see if there was anything to give a clue, and they found a half of a wooden toothpick.

So that’s what we figured had happened, that maybe I kneeled on a toothpick and it had broken off in my knee. But still, we couldn't see a thing... only a little drop of blood.

My mom did the only thing she could think of, and called the doctor. It was just about time to close, but when he heard the story, he told her to go ahead and bring me in and he would stay after and wait for us. He was a young doctor, just new in his practice, and willing to help out however he could.

The ride was a short one, but I’m sure a painful one. Much of this part I’ve blocked from my memory! When we arrived, we discovered that the air conditioning had gone out in the office building and it was, as mentioned above, a stifling hot August evening. The building was even more stifling.

My mom explained the situation, what we knew of it, and told about the toothpick. The doctor really had no idea what to do, but he decided to go ahead and deaden my knee with a shot, which I was hysterical about, but once that was over, things didn’t hurt so bad.

And then it got graphic. All he could do was to start digging around in my knee. I was crying, my mom was crying, he was nearly crying and we were ALL sweating to death. My mom remembers this poor young doctor, with sweat streaming down his face, trying so hard to figure out what was in there!

Finally, and I have no idea how long it took, it felt like forever to us all, but was probably about an hour, he struck gold. Or steel I should say. He pulled out the tweezers and held it up for us to see. A needle! “I think this may be the problem!” he said.

Yes, there was no toothpick. But, there was a needle. Embedded all the way into my knee.

The doctor said, “If we’d only known it was a needle! We could have x rayed and it would show up and I could have gone right to it!”

He sewed me up with five little stitches and we were on our way! Thank you Doctor Thomas!

Back at home, I remember my mom propping me up on the couch in the living room, with pillows under my knee, and bringing me dinner to eat. She served it in a muffin tin, with all the little parts of dinner in each little compartment of the tin. It was a hint from somewhere that she had recently read, (the day’s version of Pinterest... maybe a magazine?) about serving food to someone “in bed.”

All I know, it made me feel special to be eating in the living room and I was so glad to have that knee fixed.

I also remember that for those last couple of weeks of summer, I couldn’t get my stitches wet and that was quite the trial to not be able to play in the sprinkles or the kiddie pool.

And that’s the story of how I kneeled on a needle and ended up with a scar on my right kneecap!
Two weeks after the knee incident
on my first day of Kindergarten
August 1971


  1. My knee now hurts in sympathy. :)

    1. Jessica: My five year old self thanks you!

  2. Yikes, I know that was painful. Me? I'd probably have played doctor and removed it myself. lol

    1. Jeremy: Your five year old self would have? Even if you couldn't see that was even anything there? That would have been a REAL story!!

  3. Holy crap! My knee just hurts thinking about it! I'm glad he found what was wrong, though. But, that's just amazing that an whole needle went into your kneed!

  4. That sounds painful. I wondered why he didn't do an xray first? But I am glad you came out of it ok.

    1. Hillary: Yeah, we thought it was wood and I guess that wouldn't have shown up.

  5. Ow! Ow, ow, ow! But you got a great story out of the whole affair, there's the silver lining ;) And look at how adorable you were! Awww :D

    1. Jennifer: These old pictures are fading though! Makes me sad.

  6. Ooooouch! Oh, it makes me shudder just thinking about it. Glad you survived!

    1. Jenny: It's quite hard to think about, huh. It was very weird to live through.

  7. Great story!!!! That had to have been so horrible for you, both the injury and the torture of no water play afterwards. But, I gotta say ... love this idea of using a muffin tin!! :)



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