It’s long been a joke in my family that if I am in an area where objects are airborne, I am going to get hit in the face. I’ve been hit with basketballs, volleyballs, Frisbees… you name it.

Most people get injured at least a few times on this rocky road of life. And nobody makes it out alive. But when you’re born with pre-existing “injuries,” it can seem even more offensive to hurt yourself in some additional way. I’ve had a couple of doozies over the years. Luckily none of them have been life-threatening, but just kind of stupid, and at the end of the day I’d ask myself, “Why me?”

The first time was when I was about 5 years old. It was a sunny summer morning and Kris and I were running around the house. We lived in a contemporary split-level house with an open floor plan that allowed us to run wild from the front door through the foyer and into the living room without obstacle. That day we were running back and forth, leaping onto the couch at one end and then back to the front door. Since it was a warm day, the wooden door was open, leaving only the plate glass storm door between us and the great outdoors. After hurtling off the couch, I ran full-tilt towards the storm door, hands outstretched and ready to bounce off the door.

Except I didn’t bounce. As my hands made contact with the glass, it shattered, and my little body shot through head first. It happened so suddenly that I didn’t even comprehend what was happening, just that one moment I was running and the next I was lying on the slate patio out front, looking up at the eaves of the house. Mom was soon by my side in a panic, lifting up my shirt to check for cuts.

Somehow, the only part of me that had major cuts was my cheek and my lower lip. My arms were scratched but not enough to require stitches. We went to the emergency room and they stitched up the cuts on my face. The doctor said I was lucky I hadn’t severed my head.

The next insult to my face happened at school, when I was in 7th grade. I was one of the herd trampling through the hall on the way to my next class, which was Chemistry, where I was looking forward to doodling in my notebook and gazing out the window for 45 minutes. Just as I strode into the stairwell, a boy ran in front of me, his long legs flying. Somehow my own legs got caught up in his and I fell forward. My arms were full of my books, so I could hardly catch myself as I fell. My forehead hit the first step. A concrete step with a metal edge.

I was so embarrassed to have fallen in front of everyone, so I quickly pushed myself into a sitting position and tried to gather my books. When I reached up to adjust my glasses, I realized that my forehead was burning. I was bleeding. Someone ran to get the nurse and moments later I was being whisked away in a wheelchair, holding a wad of gauze to my head.

Once again, I was lucky. If I had fallen a few inches further forward, it’s likely I would have broken my nose, or worse yet, fractured bones in my face. Instead, I obtained a lovely inch-long scar on my upper forehead.

In the years since then I have also hosted countless poison ivy rashes on my face, two separate incidences of scratched cornea requiring the use of an eye bandage, a weird phase in my teen years where I kept getting sores in my nostrils (which I lovingly called nostrilitis whenever it showed up) and of course the jaw surgery which was probably the worst planned assault on my face ever, but the results were totally worth it.

In conclusion… be careful with your face, as it’s the only one you’ve got. I’ve certainly learned to be careful with mine, after those tumultuous early years. If you’re ever around me and you see me wince and duck in the presence of flying objects, or wonder why I refuse to try certain risky activities involving speed and/or force, perhaps you’ll remember my tales of blood and stitches and you’ll understand.

What about you? Is there a particular body part you’ve repeatedly injured?

Edit: here’s a pic of the above mentioned scars, plus sun damage from my years of lounging in the pool all summer. 

 
Purple= born this way (well, ok, there was some surgery involved.) Dark blue= plate glass window. Green= school steps incident. Yellow= cornea scratches, and the last one, which I forgot to mention in the blog post: Light blue= sun damage. Luckily this pic is not detailed enough that you can see all my wrinkles too. 😅

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