Three Brief Encounters with Embarrassed Boys

High school boys seldom frequented the health office. When they did come in it was usually with an immediate need and some embarrassment.

The school day was over and the hallway outside the health office quieted. As I finished up paper work, a high school freshman, with tousled hair and desperate expression came through the door. He held out his left arm over which he had draped his jacket. With a grimace verging on tears he said, “Nurse, look under there. Do you think I hurt my arm?” Since he was beginning to look pale, I had him sit down, lifted his jacket and found an oddly bent lower arm.  “I can’t believe this! We were just playing tag football—but I tripped!” he lamented, as I splinted his arm and called his father. 

It was that same time of day when another young man ran through the door, headed into the rest room, leaned over the sink, and vigorously washed out his mouth.  When he finally raised his head, I handed him a towel and he cried, “ I was just siphoning gas out of a friend’s car and got some in my mouth. Am I going to die, nurse? I asked him if he had swallowed any gas and he assured me he had not. He sat by my desk as I made a quick check with the poison control center, and then we chatted a bit about the dangers of siphoning gas.

Dragged into the health office by his coach, a young man needed a nursing assessment and then a trip to the hospital for stitches on a part of the body that involved removal of his underwear.  His concerned coach reassured him, “Nurse Flemr has raised two sons!  Don’t be so embarrassed.” However, he was definitely embarrassed!  After immediate first aid and his parent’s arrival to take him to the hospital, I asked that he let me know how his treatment went.  

The next day in the hallway I saw him approach with a group of his friends. I knew that was not the time to ask him about his hospital visit. He saw me coming, looked worried that I would approach him, and when I didn’t, he leaned sideways toward me as he quickly passed and whispered, “20 stitches.”

  I was grateful for the report!

Published by Susan Flemr

Retired former nurse and former Lutheran pastor. Happily living with her husband of 53 years in Des Moines Iowa. Two married sons and their beautiful families in Nichols, IA and Colorado Springs, CO.

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