I chatted with Master last night. He wished me a happy birthday. I told him I missed Korea. He laughed and said, “한국에 있을 때는 생일이 되면 미국보고싶다고 했었어요.” When you lived in Korea, you always missed America on your birthday.
Let’s go back, shall we, to 1986.
One night in September, my brother threw a tantrum about my kindergarten back to school night. He wanted to come; Mom wanted him to stay home. He tossed his head back against the couch, which had wooden arms, and split his head open.
Neither of us went to back to school night. Instead I got to see doctors stitch his head closed. (And it took four men to hold him down while they did it. They thought one would be enough. Mom shook her head. And she continued to shake her head while they brought in the second guy, and the third. Finally, four of them were able to hold him down.)
I remember peeking at the other people in the emergency room. I saw one guy with a toe split wide open.
I remember walking behind Johnny, angry that he’d ruined my back to school night, looking at his bald spot thinking, “That looks ugly.”
Less than a month later—the day of his fourth birthday actually, which was also his “golden birthday,” as we call them in Minnesota—he climbed up a pine tree. He fell, got caught on a branch, and ripped his armpit open.
Back to the emergency room for stitches. This time they started with the right number of burly men to hold him down.
Last time I checked his armpit (years ago), it was still scarred. Nice fourth birthday party, huh?
Today is my 28th birthday. And it could be better. Yes, it could be.
So after doing R, I, and E (rest, ice, elevation) last night, I woke up to a black and blue foot. I thought I’d be fine at school, but I got there and started crying because it hurt so much. I couldn’t walk, I could barely stand, even sitting and lifting the foot hurt.
My principal started by scolding me for coming in and then told me to go home. Tomorrow I have a sub because of some training elsewhere. So I had to write up sub plans for tomorrow and today. Luckily, I work with great people and the other teacher on my grade is taking my whole class for social studies and my nine students for math (the math class will work on their own packet). Another woman is taking over English, so the day is pretty much set for the assistant in the room.
I got home, thinking I’d rest before going to the doctor’s office (I found an office that opened at 8:00 and was able to get me in at 10:45).
Instead I found a message from my grandfather telling me that my father was in a car accident and he’s in the hospital. My brother told me that he’d talked to him, and Dad was completely out of it, and talking about Jesus and The Man and he’d been reading some Vonnegut and was talking about “hiccups in time and other Dad Stuff.”
Other Dad Stuff. When Dad talks about it, he’s put under psychiatric watch. When men with degrees talk about it, it’s called quantum physics.
(Hell, when men with degrees talk about it, they can decide to build a giant machine that is searching for “God particles” and may create a black hole—but they’re not crazy! Someone explain that to me, please.)
I started bawling, but calmed down before going to the doctor.
Doctor Dude looked at my foot and said I probably fractured or broke it, though it might be something else. He then sent me to another office, 5 miles away, to get an X-ray done.
So I went down there (driving a stick, by the way) and got the X-ray done, only to discover that Doctor Dude wrote that it was my right third toe that needed the X-ray. It’s my left big toe. How you go from the left big toe to the right third toe is beyond me.
After the X-ray was done, I was sent home because Doctor Dude was out to lunch. I called the office at 1:00 (when lunch was supposed to be over according to their message) only to hear the message again. And again at 1:30 and again at 2:00, when I finally decided that Doctor Dude was not going to be Helpful Dude because apparently he was still out to lunch. I left a message.
Doctor Dude’s Office called and said that Doctor Dude had left for the day and couldn’t look at the X-rays, other Other Doctor did, and it was fractured. But since Other Doctor hadn’t actually met me, she had no advice on how to take care of it. Sub plans, doctors, learn to write them!
All I wanted to do today was go to work, come home, bake a carrot cake, pick Good Man up from school, order Chinese food, and watch a movie. That’s all. Is that really too much to ask for?
I want to start this birthday over again.