The Call from the School Nurse
The nurse calls at least once a week. Sometimes, it’s way more than once a week. I’ve joked with friends that Nurse Alicia calls me more than any of my friends.
The phone calls vary:
“Hi, I have _____ in the office, and she has an ant bite that really is hurting her.”
“Sorry to bother you, _____ says he has a headache.”
“Hey Mrs. Jaime, I have _____ with me, and he said his left elbow is really hurting.”
I have a few standard responses that I have perfected when the nurse calls.
“Well, it’s almost the end of the school day. He/she will simply have to ride it out.” (That response is given if we are anywhere less than two hours away from the end of the school day.)
If the child is given the phone, I have a few lines that I use time after time.
“Hey honey. I’m so sorry that_____. I’m sure you’re going to feel better in just a little bit. Maybe try using the restroom and get a sip of water out of the water fountain.” (Because the water fountain and bathroom are a proven cure-all for any and all school related illnesses.)
There’s a very special place in heaven for school nurses. Ours never acts at all irritated at the fabricated illness of the day. She’s even been known to give a child a Band-Aid or two if it looks like they’re having a really rough day. Because we all know Band-Aids are the gold star achievement of a visit to the nurse’s office in elementary and middle school.
With five kids in the same school, they have learned how to work the system, learned how to get a nurse referral and learned what might get mom to actually leave work and come get them from school.
There was the time the school nurse called with one of the boys. She started with “Hey Mrs. Dishman…” and I knew it was serious. Her second sentence included the phrase “he told me how you gave him a concussion this morning.”
She didn’t have to say any thing else. I stopped her mid sentence and let her know I would be on my way in just a few minutes. I knew he left my vehicle with his head hurt that morning, but I had no idea it could be called a concussion.
So what happened was: Five kids unload five school bags, various band instruments, and five lunch boxes out of the back of my Suburban. On this particular day, one of my boys was still digging deep in the back of the vehicle to pull his trombone out and be on his way.
The problem was this: I had NO IDEA he was still in the back of my Suburban. So I pressed the button to close the back of the vehicle at the same time as he decided to bring his head up. Door comes down. Head goes up. Collision is unavoidable. He cried a little, I gave him a quick kiss, and he’s on his way.
Until the nurse calls, letting me know my son is telling the school his mom gave him a concussion earlier that morning!
I flew to school in the same Suburban that inflicted the damage, worried about my poor precious boy. That suffering child slowly meandered out of the nurse’s office, convincing the both of us of the severity of his head trauma. We drove to my work, where I tell him he will have to lay on the couch for just a few minutes while I finish up paperwork, and then he can rest at home. But during those “few minutes” of paperwork, the miraculous happens.
Head trauma is completely healed. He eats some candy. He drinks a Sprite (also a known cure-all), and it’s as though “the concussion his mom gave him” never happened at all. In fact, at his dad’s suggestion that they go get some spicy wings for lunch, his bouncing around my workplace convinced me of what I knew all along: the concussion was the most effective made up story and got me to school to pick him up quicker than any fever or stomach virus ever could.
I might have laughed a little. But not without the warning: If you ever tell the school nurse your mom gave you a concussion to get me to come get you out of school, there will be no Sprite, candy, or restaurants for you. Once is funny. Twice is trouble.