Tuesday, June 8, 2010


Most kids have a few bumps and bruises on the way from baby to toddler to teen. A sprained ankle here, a bug bite or two there.

Andy is not like most kids.

Ever since he was born, nearly 21 years ago, Andy has had a devil-may-care attitude about safety. When he was little, if we went somewhere near a pond, pool or body of water, he'd try and jump in it ... never mind he couldn't swim at the time. If there was a play structure to be climbed or a fence to be scaled, Andy was right there. And also unlike most kids, he had a tolerance for pain that's really remarkable. 

Like the time in grade school when he was at the park with friends. Gone just a few minutes, they all came running back to the house, with one little girl telling us "Andy fell off the bars and his arm doesn't look right." When Andy came into view, he was white as a ghost, but not making a peep. Diagnosis: Broken elbow. Six weeks in a cast and sling was to follow.

Then there was the time he was at junior high bike camp with our church group. This particular year was Eastern Oregon year. At the end of the camp, a friend brought him to the beach, where we were already at with Kate for a swim meet. Poor kid was red from head to toe, with nasty blotches all over his body. Diagnosis: Poison oak. He had told his teenage counselor, who told him to go ask an adult. That must have seemed like too much drama, so Andy went back to bed and started scratching. Got so bad he had to be on antibiotics.

Also in middle school, there was the time he was visiting the Oregon coast with Lisa and her extended family. Lisa's brother let Andy climb up on some barnacle-covered rocks in the waves. Sure enough, whoosh came a big wave and down fell Andy — peeling off a dinner-plate sized piece of skin from his leg and thigh. Diagnosis: Enough degloved skin to require stitches, antibiotics and very nearly a skin graft. No tears, though, even though it hurt like hell — especially the cleaning. 

With a nurse in the family, our kids have lived by the adage that if there are tears and fussing, there had darn well better be blood. As with all things, Andy likes to take that mantra to the extreme.

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