by Karen J Mossman
Scars tell the stories of our lives. Have you ever looked at someone and wondered how they got theirs, but were afraid to ask?
I looked in the bathroom mirror this morning and saw a slight scar and my forehead. It’s hardly visible any more, but I was immediately transported by to my childhood.
It was 1963 and I was standing one side of my garden gate with my best friend on the other side. She was three years older at 7, and should have known better, I heard my dad say later. We were arguing and she threw a stone at me, and naturally I retaliated, but hers found its home on my forehead, breaking the skin. I screamed and she ran away.
My only other memory of the incident is sitting with my mum in the front seat of the car as dad drove us to the hospital. I can still see myself perched on the seat between mum’s legs, finger tips on the dashboard staring out of the front window and feeling excited that I was going to hospital. Pity I can’t remember anymore, because I’m sure I wasn’t excited by the time I left.
The next scar I have is on the base of my thumb. This was slightly earlier, I was possibly about 3, and only remember because we lived in a different house. My mum was at the shops and my dad was on the toilet – of all things to remember! I had decided to play with milk bottles and one of them smashed cutting me.
On the right side of my neck I have a large scar with several stitches which again has faded over the years. I was about 2 or 3 when I had a major operation.
I was born in 1958 when there was no such thing as pregnancy scans. Nobody knew until the baby was born that it could be coming out feet first.
My poor mother was having her first child and was in position to give birth, when all of a sudden, someone shouted breach! She said the word echoed down the corridor as it passed from one person to another. Within a few minutes at least a dozen students all gathered round to watch.
No one could know at that as I came into the world, a muscle had ripped in my neck. It healed itself, but was stiff instead of flexible.
Within a few months, mum noticed that I could only turn my head one way and was admitted to The Orthopaedic Hospital in Oswestry, where we were living at the time.
I still have memories of a high sided metal cot and of my Grandma coming to visit bringing me a stuffed penguin, which I loved, but somehow was left there and I never saw it again.
I still recall the ceiling passing by as I lay on my bed being wheeled down to theatre. I have no recollection of being frightened at all by any of this. Too young to understand, perhaps.
Afterwards I was encased in plaster from the top of my legs, up my neck and round my head with my face showing and my arms free.
I do remember sitting at a table trying to drink from a cup. As my head was leaning to one side, it went in my mouth and came out again. Luckily I was given a straw which enabled me to drink.
When eventually the plaster was removed, I had to relearn my walking skills as not having the weight of the plaster to contend with knocked me off-balance.
In my 50s I suffered from severe arthritis in both knees, so much so that I could barely walk. Two years apart I had total knee replacements. It changed my life. The only thing to show are two long scars down each one, but as I never have my legs on show, nobody notices.
Over to you, do you have any scars with a story?