The problem with Claire
Learning along the way

The terrible thing that happened to me

My mother, for all her many charms, has one small failing. She’s a nurse, see, and she’s been elbow-deep in…uh…the human condition more times than I like to imagine. As a result of her experiences in the trenches, she has a decidedly calloused attitude about the human body and its frailties. You should HEAR the sort of dinnertime conversation I was subject to as a child. Good heavens. I should put up a Pay Pal button for my therapy fund.

Anyhow, today Mom came home as I was unloading groceries. She joined me in the kitchen and started telling me companionably about her day. It seems she’d been at work, and went to go on a coke run (uh…cola, not ‘caine…but you knew that, right?). On her way back to her office, she tripped on the cement stairs. She narrowly missed putting her head through a wall and bashed her toe on the stair, but she didn’t spill the coke. That, by the way, was the point of the story. The fact that she didn’t spill the coke. This was a FINE point, and enough for me. But she didn’t leave it there.

“Now my toe really hurts.” She peered down at it. “Hey, look at that.” She swung her foot up onto the counter next to me, so I could see her toe.

It was PURPLE, with a button of swelling on the tip, a perfectly round nubbin of deformity right there on the end of her discolored toe.

I, being the tender hearted nurturing type, reacted immediately.

“GOOD LORD, PUT THAT THING AWAY!” She gave me a puzzled look while I turned away and leaned hard against the counter. See, I can handle injury when I have to. If my kids are hurt, I step right up to the plate and wield ice and bandages with the best of them. But I don’t LIKE it. I’m not GOOD at it.


She wiggled the offending digit at me.

“Look at it – do you think it’s broken?”

I was on the other side of the kitchen by now, trying to put canned goods away, and I crouched down and rested my head on my knees.

“I don’t know,” I muttered. “Do you want some ice or something?”

But the last thing Mom wants is to be babied, so she lost interest in torturing me with her toe, and wandered away.

My life is JUST. SO. HARD.



You poor thing. Just lie down on the couch for a while.


ICK! Isn't it funny how as parents we see the way our parents handled illness and injury differently? I could complain of a headache or a severed limb and my father would always say "How are your bowels?" and my mom would ask "What have you taken for it?"

Heather McCutcheon

Is your mother my BOSS in disguise? Because my BOSS does that to me!!


LOL, I have to restrain myself from doing the sort of thing your mother did. I just like to share too much, I guess! My own mother was a very pragmatic and unsympathetic mom (she'd had a smidge of medical training) who wouldn't give us tylenol until our fevers had topped 102 degrees. She had much faith in the human body's ability to handle things!


How odd is it that I am extremely impressed that she didn't spill the Coke...? :)


LOL!! I am a nurse too and my children have exactly the same reactions as one in my household going into the medical field I guess!

Amma D

Poor baby. Can I get you some coke?

Denise, RN

You should have added a comment about how long she can go without a bathroom break, even when drinking coke-another skill nurses take pride in!
My kids love medical chat at the table , my parents are another story.

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