Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Scars: Life's Memories Markers

Recently, I was at a new doctor's office and he touched my left hand and questioned me about a rather large scar that I have worn for almost all of my life. When I explained how I got that scar and what it represented to me, I gained more appreciation for the love and care I have received all of my life. My hand's scar wasn't the first one I received and it sure wouldn't be the last in my long active life. Funny thing is that each scar helps me remember my adventures and keeps those memories fresh for me.

I will start with the first scar that I was born with and before it healed, it caused many people immense amount of pain. My stomach was covered with an angry, blistered, birth mark that required radiation treatment and boric acid poured on for the first three weeks of my life. Even though I was a newborn, it took my mom and my Godmother to hold me down for those excruciating treatments. Being a mom now, I can only imagine the heartbreak that those two women endured for my benefit.

My left hand scar occurred when I was a toddler. Back in the days there were only glass milk jugs and during the confusion of unloading the car of the bottles, I got hold of one. The burden proved to be more than I could carry and I hit the bottom of the bottle on the outside step. I actually remember watching the blood spurt up onto the pink siding of the house. I don't remember the pain, just a lot of people rushing around and taking me to the doctor's office for help. Later, I learned that the doctor tried to talk my mom in letting him amputate my hand, because he said that I would never have control over it again. You see, back then, if you severed arteries and ligaments, the chances of complete recovery were slim to none. My mom wanted as full of a life for me as possible, so she refused the amputation and hospitalization. She watched the doctor retrieve the ligaments with a long hook and stitch up the arteries and everything else under local anesthesia. We went home that night and she laid next to me to make sure that my hand was kept on the ice bag and perfectly still all night long. Bless my mom's heart, I know that she carried guilt for years that I slipped out of her sight and found the glass danger that caused so much damage. My scar healed and my hand is completely useful. Thanks, Mom for believing you knew what I needed and going against the doctor's advice. Quite amazing for the early fifties, because most people were intimidated by professional men.

I will not go into such great details about all of my scars, but they each carry part of what makes me who I am.

There is a c-section scar which was made to save a premature baby girl, who has now given me the most precious grandson.

Knee surgery scars help me walk better.

Of all the most recently acquired scars that I treasure are the ones I got this year from back surgery. Because of the surgery I can walk longer and with less pain, but what I take away from those scars are the memories of the care that I received from my husband. You see, my husband passes out at the site of bodily injuries to the ones he loves...I mean literally passes out. When I came home from the hospital and my stomach and back had surgery wounds that needed daily dressings, we knew that he was the one who had to take care of them. We laid everything out and then he knelt down behind me. I questioned him why he was on his knees by the bed and he explained, "If I should faint, while I am doing this, I don't want to fall so far down and get hurt." At first I thought he was joking and then I realized that he was serious. So each day, he would help me shower and we would lay the new salve, gauze, tape, etc. out and he would pat me dry and minister to my needs.

All of my scars mean more about love than any card Hallmark could ever print for love never ending. People have helped me heal from physical pain and all the pain that only they could see. I will be eternally grateful for all the care and love my healing process has received from my friends and family.


  1. Lovely post. What wonderful meaning you have derived from such painful ordeals. You are blessed.

    Thanks for sharing this.

  2. Such insight to your past, and a wonderful testament to your family. Though I have many scars and places where the bark has been scraped off, cut and restitched, as many boys will have, I see all of, or most of mine as diplomas from the school of hard knocks. Behind each, is a lesson learned for the most part. My partner, rather than feeling faint at the sight of my blood and infirmities, is an EMT, which for an old jump first and look for a place to land on the way down guy, is a Godsend.