The bell rang like it does any old, regular Thursday. The students wandered in aimlessly, carrying their book bags from table to table until they remember they are supposed to be unpacking them. I was standing near the door. My classroom teacher was standing a bit away. I was talking to a student when my teacher looks over at me. She is wearing a face a recognize from the many other times this situation has occurred. It is a confused looked with a hint of concern and I knew right away that if I turned to my right there would be a student bent over the trash can. I look. Sure enough there is one. As I look over, my classroom teacher says, “is he really…” She is interrupted by the sound that liquid makes when it hits plastic. All I said was, “yep…” And I walked over to the student. He was sick a few more times and then I grabbed the trash can and marched him to the nurse. He made quite the mess in the trash can and there was nowhere to grab it that didn’t land a small part of my hand in what just left his stomach. Thank heavens, throw up doesn’t really bother me!
So the two of us walk to the nurse’s office. I set the trash can down near the doorway and he hops up on the cot. The nurse asked him a couple questions and I walked over to her sink to scrub my hands. As I was washing, the student says to the nurse, “guess what I had for breakfast today!”
I answered simply, “yogurt.”
The rich and epic history of things that have come out my students continues to grow. This week there were no nosebleeds, thankfully, but there were plenty of loose teeth. Teeth are gross. They are little tiny bones that stick out of your jaw and when you are six years old they fall out all over the place. Disgusting. If you saw a bone fall out of anywhere else on someone’s body you would probably panic and maybe faint. Why are teethe any different? The worst part of it all is when it comes to the end of the day and you are tired and ready to be done and you are running on instinct. Instinctually, when a person says, “look at this,” you look. Whether or not you really want to see it. One thing I care not too see is tiny teeth bent so far forward by a tiny finger the only thing they are hanging on to is faith. They leave that ghastly dark indent in the child’s gum where the tooth really belongs. The result is something you might witness in the theatre during a zombie apocalypse movie. There is great reason I do not watch zombie movies. I do not care to see that kind of thing in the classroom either. Everyone is so excited about their loose teeth and it is difficult to sound enthusiastic for them when you looking at the ceiling praying you do not faint right there on the ugly tile.
Two students managed to get sick on the carpet. One student managed to catch hers in her tiny hands. One student managed to land it directly on the carpet. One student managed to put her hand in it before anyone noticed what had happened. And one student teacher managed to continue the lesson, forget about the vomit, and step directly on it while continuing said lesson. I personally object to the idea that prayer should be banned in school because in that moment I thanked God that it was mostly water, was a small bit, and had been sitting their long enough to soak throughly into the carpet.
Each morning this week, I have awoken and asked myself, “what fresh hell will I be put through this day?” Apparently, the universe has decided half digested lunch and wiggly, protruding mouth bones are just as bad as a fresh hell. My students are nothing if not consistent.
Yesterday, as I have mentioned, my classroom teacher was in a car accident. Despite telling her several times that I could handle the class if she was not feeling well today, she came to school. I am greatful that I have such a dedicated mentor but also I know that she was pretty uncomfortable all day.
I may have overstepped my place a little by basically taking over the entire morning but I thought it was important that she rest and not hurt herself more. I have been doing the morning message every day and after that I simply went on to what was next instead of handing things off to her. I have said it before and I’ll probably say it a few times more, I’m not a nurse but in my opinion it was better for her to rest.
While I was reading (which was something I just took over without asking…) a student came up to me and claimed he was sick. This particular student has claimed that on several occasions and I took it with a grain of salt and kept reading. He then said he was going to be sick. Again, I took it with a grain of salt and simply told him to stand near the trash can and I would be there when I finished reading fully intending for his “sickness” to pass and for him to wander back over to the carpet to here the rest of the story. As I turned the page and began to read, I heard it… That terrible sound of vomit hitting the bottom of an empty trash can. I rushed over and rubbed his back and told him it was okay while he proceeded to throw up several more times.. In situations like these the best thing to do is stay calm and think. I instead blurt out, “I guess he really was sick.” My classroom teacher and the aide had been chatting in the back of the room and happened to to look up at the same time I looked up for help as the poor kid got sick again. I said the only thing I could think of to say (which could also be said as “the first thing that came out my mouth without thinking”) “hello- I need some help.” The aide took the student to the school nurse because, again, I am no nurse!
The final straw on this camel’s back was later in the afternoon. The student who was sick did not go home because he was not running a fever and the nurse had found out the cause of his queasiness. I was passing out dice for a math game when it happened. (A little backgrounder me- despite my lifeguard/ CPR/ first aid certifications, I am terrible squeamish around blood. Blood in any amount. Good thing I am not a nurse… I am head-between- my- knees, immediately light- headed, and prone to fainting around even the smallest of amounts of that nasty stuff.) I saw it before he did. One drip; then it came. I have never lunged for a tissue so violently in my life. I managed to keep most of it on the tissue. As I am standing there in my slightly light headed and completely grossed out state, I hear from across the room, “Miss Haley will get you some dice.” My response, “no Miss Haley won’t because Miss Haley is a little busy right now.” The boy went back to the nurse for the second time that day all due to fluids leaving his body involuntarily. I am no nurse…