Wednesday, November 02, 2011

Puked In the Head

I know, the title is graphic. But read on, it will make sense.

I was in the waiting room of a doctor's office with my husband's mom, Judy, for her annual mammogram. We had just signed in and I was quite excited about the gardening magazine I found to read, when my cell phone rang. It was the school nurse. Here's how the conversation went:

"First of all, everyone is fine."


"But it's really weird!"

I just KNEW with 100% of my being that the next word uttered would be my 1st grader, "Ellie".

"Ellie (BINGO!) was running during recess under the Big Toy (what they call the big play set) and a little boy was on top of the Big Toy just as she was running underneath it and, well, he got sick. In her hair," the nurse explained.

"What?!" I asked confused.

"The boy vomited in her hair. Can I just say that in ALL my years of being a nurse that I have NEVER seen this. Not once. It's so weird!"

Then she whispered in the phone, "She stinks!"

I asked what I needed to do and she said that a good shampoo was in order--her coat and clothes were safe. She pretty much took it "cleanly" in the head (so to speak).

I quickly tried to call Monte since I was on the north side with Judy. I paged him at his office (which I NEVER do) and the receptionist told me he was at a meeting on the east side. Judy said she'd be fine so I left in a rush to the school.

On the drive there I went through several stages of emotion in a loop. I went from laughing hysterically to complete disgust to dread as I feared she'd come down with the stomach flu which would then cause ALL of us to contract the stomach flu. Then I started laughing again imaging the whole scene of, well, you know, getting BARFED on the head! Then the disgust got a hold of me which turned into dread again. But by golly, I started laughing again! The poor drivers next to me HAD to think I was crazy! No radio on, no music--just a kooky lady alternating between three insane facial expressions!

I got to the school nurses office to find Ellie blotting her crunchy, matted hair with the unabsorbent brown paper towels that only schools and public rest areas seems to use. 

The nurse took me in the hallway to again express her complete shock in that she had NEVER seen such a thing. She followed it with a, "Now bring her back. Don't let this ruin her day!"

As we walked to the car I asked Ellie what happened.

"I got puked in the head," she said quietly--matter of factly.

I tried REALLY hard not to start my loop of laughing-disgust-dread again.

She told me that she had been chasing boys on the playground (?!?!) when she passed under the Big Toy and felt a "wetness" on her head. 

She thought it might have been a bird. (No less disgusting, but it would've changed the overall uniqueness of the story.)

Then she heard a boy coughing and stopped and looked up and in a Wiley-coyote-look-up-to-see-the-falling-anvil-coming-right-at-you fashion, and got a little "puked in the head" again.

She told me that apparently the boy had chosen chocolate milk for lunch.

Her friend running with her said "EEWW!" a lot and ran away. Luckily her other friend, Morgan, walked her to the nurses office and said that this kinda thing ALWAYS happens on Friday the 13th.

I guess Morgan felt the responsibility of being the messenger and informed her 1st grade class that Ellie was not back in class after recess because she got "puked in the head".

While she was waiting for me to pick her up, a boy, THE boy, came into the nurses office claiming he had just puked off the Big Toy. Ellie said she exclaimed, "You puked in my head!" but he didn't seem to hear her. I explained that maybe that wasn't the best timing to tell him something he already knew.

I washed Ellie's hair in the sink until it was in knots from the scrubbing. She asked about Friday the 13th and I explained that this kinda thing could've just as easily happened on Thursday the 12th or Saturday the 14th. Not sure "easily" was the best choice of words. I told her God had this all worked out. Boy, He has a sense of humor!

I put two braids in her wet little head which she was SO excited about. I hoped it would lessen the "See the girl with the wet hair? She's the one that got puked in the head!" talk at school.

I had to sign her back in at the office, which involved a "Reason for being away from school" blank. I am a rule follower. I couldn't NOT give a reason. I was shaking from all the excitement, still feeling a sense of rush to get back to Judy waiting at the doctor's office, so I quickly wrote:  "Had to shampoo hair due to getting puked in the head!" I put a little sad face to soften the gruesome news a bit.

As we rushed to Ellie's classroom she just skipped along so proud of her wet braids. I explained that if she heard "EEWW!" from her classmates it was because of what happened, not her personally. She was fine with it. Her teacher met me at the door: "Is it true?" She asked with a look of horror as she glanced at Ellie's wet braids to my face.

"I'm just going to say yes, since I'm in a hurry," I said. "But Ellie is REALLY okay with it."

She skipped off to class.

When I picked her up at the end of the day, she said that everyone knew and she was a bit of a rock star. At the next recess she acted as a Tour Guide and led her little classmates to the exact location of the crime scene. Older kids came over and asked her to retell her tale from the beginning leaving out no detail. She happily obliged, thoroughly enjoying her 15 minutes of fame. It turned out to be one of her "bestest days".

McDaniel, my 4th grade daughter, said that her teacher told her in class what had happened to Ellie (she had heard it in the teacher's lounge). McDaniel said that she got the weirdest feeling that she wanted to laugh and cry at the same time. I told her I was familiar with the feeling.

I rushed back to the doctor's office and was met by a humored waiting room. Judy had been entertaining the "crowd" with Ellie's story!

My husband called breathless as we walked to the car. He feared an emergency. I explained.

"That is so Ellie," he said, matter of factly.


  1. Sumita3:27 PM

    I think you could do a whole series of children's books based on Ellie!! How fun would that be?? A new Ramona:)

  2. I second Sumita's suggestion.


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