Growing Pains

Shannon’s ten-year-old daughter, Zoe, fell off her bike the other day and got a bad graze under her right arm.  The pain kept her awake the first two nights, but the wound healed well enough for us to go swimming yesterday.  However, the scab wore away in the water and she was in agony after her bedtime bath.

“I’ve got a magic plaster that will help,” I volunteered.  Zoe looked at me, puzzled.

“He means a Band Aid, sweetie,” said Shannon.

I drew out an oval Compeed plaster from its green plastic box.  Zoe eyed it warily.  “They’re like a second skin,” I explain.  “You keep them on for three days.  It’s space-age technology.”

I placed it over the wound to see if it would fit.  She winced.  It was an awkward moment: Shannon had seen me use these plasters and Zoe likes me a lot.  But this was new territory — only parents and medics are allowed the intimacy of pain in the cause of healing.  I had no stomach for the challenge at this stage of my relationship with Zoe and handed the plaster to Shannon.  Under my close instruction she applied the adhesive side to the wound as Zoe gasped and chattered her teeth.  “Now you have to take the cover off the top,” I said.  Zoe winced as I directed her mother in the removal of the two halves of the upper layer.

Shannon came back downstairs after putting Zoe to bed.  “Boy, you’re popular.  She’s convinced she’s the only person in the country with your special plaster.”

The next morning I had to lift Zoe out from behind a bike in the back of the SUV.  I realised I was lifting her right on her wound.  She saw the sudden fear in my face.  “It’s okay — it doesn’t hurt at all now with that plaster,” she said, smiling.  Then she looked at me seriously.  “Can you bring some of those plasters for my Mommy next time you come to visit?  She’s a little clumsy.”


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