First Aid For Brother - A Childhood Story

By Stephen C. Schultz

Leaves and twigs spun and tumbled through the rippling water of 21st street gutter. There was a steady rainfall that had tapered off with the sun now peeking out from behind the gray billowing clouds that so made their home the Willamette valley.

I was lazily walking home from school, Jefferson Jr. High, where I attended the 7th grade. I had nothing particular on my mind, just the steady gait home. The water drops from the trees made a crackling sound as they hit the fallen leaves below. As I approached the driveway, I decided to bypass the steps that were made for a giant. I headed up the asphalt drive to the little winding walkway that led to the front door.

As I walked through the door, I was met immediately by Dad, animated and excited with a serious look on his face. He said, “Steve, come here quick…to the patio. Scott is hurt!” I dropped my coat next to the stairs and ran around the table in the dinning room to the patio door. As I stepped through the door onto the patio, I saw Scott to my right, in a heap of body parts and bicycle. He looked to be writhing in pain with what was apparently blood on his face. My heart skipped a beat and I moved closer.

Something in the back of my mind told me this situation was a miss, a tingle went up the back of my neck. Dad, although serious, wasn’t walking in circles with his hands in the air saying, “Damn it, damn it, damn it!” or pushing me out of the way taking control of this injurious situation to one of his sons. Dad is a man of action…and he was watching me.

I moved still closer and for a brief moment made eye contact with Scott. The corner of his mouth turned upward into a repressed smile. The blood on his face was thick with the smell of tomato concentrate made from red ripe tomatoes, distilled vinegar, high fructose corn syrup, salt, spice, onion powder and natural flavoring. (What is natural flavoring anyway? And, if it is natural, why does it have to be added?)

Was this an elaborate hoax? What was the “con” here? Immediately I am suspicious. My adrenaline and sense of awareness increase and I am now in the “Fight or Flight” response. Just as I’m ready to jump the ivy wall onto the lawn and make a dash for the “side yard”, dad says, “What are you going to do? He crashed on his bicycle, lacerated his head, broke his leg and you’ve got to fix him. This is for your First Aid merit badge”.

Relief flowed through me in waves. I proceeded to bandage him up with gauze to the head, and a make shift splint on his leg made from rolled up newspapers and a belt. The family’s true health care professional and angel of mercy (Mom, the ER nurse) was there to check my work. I passed my merit badge and Scott, at 8 years old, wore the splint with pride as he hobbled around the house the rest of the day.


John Talbott said…
Your mom was an awesome first aid instructor. She taught me all I knew. I had to use it not to long ago when a guy broke his leg. Tell your mom that her legacy is intact and that the ER doctor was impressed by the improvised splint (painter's stir sticks) and the gurney (an extra closet door). We said, "Thanks, Carolyn Schultz".
Thanks so much John! It's so good to hear from you. I'll be sure to share this comment with my Mom!

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