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…and I am not talking about the headband (that’s his latest thing.  Wears it all day).  This guy has something causing him pain in his shoulder and upper arm.

It’s been going on for a few weeks and I really think it’s a use injury, like from starting hockey again or something. I had something similar once when I was swimming. The pain was overwhelming and would sort of come and go, like his, depending on how I moved. I applied heat continuously, took Aleve and went to a deep tissue guy to get it worked out.

I have tried almost everything I can think of on Sam. First, I gave him the heating pad. Then, I gave him Tylenol. Then, I started giving him Advil.   He was still complaining.

He was complaining while playing his trumpet, riding his unicycle, hanging from the door frames, literally popping up from under the covers on his bed to say “Good Morning” as loud as he can each morning, while using a screw driver to put together a new Lego set. Get the point? He was complaining, but clearly still active.

Sunday rolled around and he started complaining more…of course, since the next day was Monday. “You are going to school.” I said.

He had hockey Monday night and used his arm. He came home in even more pain and did seem a little beaten down by it—he only wanted one peanut butter and jelly sandwich instead of two. I coaxed him in to a hot shower and fired up the heating pad in his bed. He got out, rested his arm on the pad and I gave him Advil. He slept all night (and has the whole time, which with him—he isn’t much of a sleeper—needs to be defined as he didn’t come in to my room and get me).

The next morning, he was seriously complaining again. “You are going to school I said as soon as he opened his mouth and reached his hand across his chest to grab his shoulder.

I come back from dropping Andy at school (part of my 2 hour morning routine delivering my little people to where they belong) and say, “Hey, let’s run to the store on the way to school. We can get some stuff for your arm. “ He was eager to go and we rushed out the door to hit the store, get gas and still get him to school and me to gym on time.

We are in Kroger and after I grab a few things on my list, we head to the first aid section. I suggest two boxes of those adhesive heat pad things. He agrees. I suggest Icy Hot or Tiger Balm. He likes Tiger Balm. I grab it. He looks through the braces, but sees nothing that will do the trick for him—and even if there was something, he is the size of a 7 year old, there is no way it would fit.

“I think that’s it.” I say and he agrees. “Now, this means you absolutely promise not to go to the nurse and call me, right?”

Now, what do I have against the school nurse? Well, besides the obvious, which is sometimes there are legit sick kids in there and I hate germs, the school nurse calls usually go a little like this:

“Hi, is this Mrs. Parmelee?”


“This is the nurse calling from [insert school]. I have [my kid] in the nurses office.”

“Oh dear. What’s going on?”

“He is itching his arm. He seems to have a patch of something irritated and is scratching it pretty hard.”

“Okay. Yes, I know what it is. It’s Molluscum.”

“What’s that?” she asks sounding concerned.

“A virus on the skin that is extremely common among student athletes. It’s totally harmless. He gets it from sweaty pads and locker rooms.” I am slightly concerned that she doesn’t know what this is. It’s like adolescent boy medicine 101.

“Oh. What would you like me to do with it?”

“Uhm, just put some cortisone cream on it.”

“I am not allowed to apply Cortisone cream without you providing it or being here to provide it.”

“Okay. How about putting on some bacitracin?”

“Sorry, I cannot put that on either. You can come in and do it if you would like.”

“No, that’s not an option right now. Do you have bacitracin?”


“Do you have those long swabs?”


“Put the bacitracin on the swab…

(I am sorry but I must interrupt here. In our house, anytime someone says “put the” on anything, someone follows up with “lotion on the skin.”  So, “…lotion on the skin”… habit. It’s from Silence of the Lambs).

Anyway, “Put the bacitracin on the swab and then put the swab on [my kid’s] skin.”

“I am not allowed.”

Awesome. So, I tell her do nothing, and send him back to class.

That’s a typical nurse call. So, I went out of my way to make sure he wasn’t going to go to the nurse, who would call me and not be able to do anything without me being physically present with her in the same room (or drop the supplies off myself).

“Oh, wait.” Sam declares. “You know what would help? I need a sling. A sling would work.”

No slings at Kroger. He even asked the pharmacist. Already foreseeing the phone call, I conceded and said if we hurried, we could make a stop at the drug store across the street to grab one. But first, we have to get gas.

The clock is running out. There is no way I am going to make it to the gym on time and he’s cutting it close to get to school on time. I pull up and do the business required (all 14 questions) to get the pump in the car and the gas flowing. I run around to his side, open the door and start rubbing the Tiger Balm on his arm. He winces, but it smells delicious. I wanted to eat it, but I didn’t.

The gas clicks off and I pull away and drop the $7.00 quarter-sized jar of Tiger Balm on the ground. It rolls under the car. I try to reach it, but it’s dead center under the car. I finish up the gas pump stuff (sorry person after me who had a weird sensation and smell on their hands after touching the pump. It’s just Tiger Balm, I promise).

I pull the car up a bit to get the Tiger Balm. Then, screech out of the lot and across the intersection to the drug store. I run in, find the sling and pay. Of course, the guy in front of me just converted to KeyRing and couldn’t get his CVS card to work, which was critical for the 20 cents off he received of his ace bandage.

I jump in the car, cut through the parking lot and head down to the nearest spot I can conceivably pull out from this intersection during rush hour—a stoplight.   I struggle to put the sling on him at the light, but for once in my life, it quickly turns green. I continue to unravel, set, secure straps, Velcro, make adjustments, etc. while driving with my knees. Safe.

We turn the corner toward school and he realizes he put the sling on with his seatbelt on, so he’s trapped in. “Fine.” By now I am exasperated and totally self-consumed with being late for my workout. It was apparently the single most important thing to me at that moment.   “Next time you are a little shit to me, you better remember how hard I worked to make sure your arm felt good today!” Yes, I said that. Whatever.

I pull in to the lot, park and redo the sling. The last words I yelled were, “Remember, you better not call me from the nurse’s office!”

First thing he said to me when I picked him up? “Mom, I didn’t call you from the nurses office!”

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