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Recently I had a friend tell me that I was one of the most level-headed people he knew.  He said he could always count on me to give honest answers, to not lose my calm in a crisis, and to just handle things.  I laughed because I thought he was being sarcastic – but he wasn’t.  My mother (visiting from Oregon) backed up that opinion. After some reflection I realized I am very much that person. I am prepared for hurricanes, zombies, or local emergencies (yet oddly I get freaked out about unannounced visitors). I have taken first aid, CPR, and emergency certification classes.  I’ve survived a child with salmonella, hurricanes, surgeries, unemployment, unhappy marriages, and a teenage daughter (though that one is threatening my sanity). I’ve seen blood, breaks, cuts to the bone, and loss of body functions in both people and animals, and always calmly taken care of them.  And when I slammed my face into the concrete floor three days ago – I took care of that too.

Wait…Jenn…you did what? 

I’ll avoid the details of what led up to this incident, but let me just say that agriculture is a hazardous business and goats are stronger than they look.  One minute I’m placing a water bucket in a pen, the next I’m testing the resistant strength of concrete with my face. The concrete won. I was gushing blood as I picked myself up off the barn floor and hobbled to the ladies room.  A man coming in to make his own morning rounds saw me and stopped in shock – before he could pass out I sent him out to my car where my mother waited (a fortuitous stroke of Fate for me!).  She joined me in the ladies room for cold water and damage assessment.  To her credit she never panicked either (though she drove like a mad-woman to get me home). And yes, the man did admit he had felt light-headed at the sight of all that blood.

After a cold shower to wash the dirt and blood off, we made a game plan while I rested icepacks on Neosporined body parts.  The damage consisted of gashes to both lips, which were swollen to rival Angelina Jolie; a crushed pair of glasses that almost broke my nose, but saved my eye from getting scratched; a chipped front tooth that at first I thought I had knocked out; various facial scrapes; and a knee that had no skin left and was swollen to softball size. Thankfully my mom was around to drive me to the work-in optometrist visit for new glasses, and the emergency dental appointment for tooth repair and additional wound cleaning (because when you kiss the floor of a barn and split your mouth open, you are apparently at risk for all sorts of horrendous things).

I spent the rest of the day waiting on glasses, filling antibiotic and pain med prescriptions, nursing icepacks on swollen body parts, and listening to my mother argue with her sisters over why she was running late to meet them.  Three days later Mom has returned home to Oregon, the facial swelling is gone but the scrapes still look like I auditioned for MMA, and my knee is all sorts of pretty shades of purple and still painfully swollen. There is also the body ache that settled in to remind me that oh yes, I slammed all of me into the floor, not just my face.

It could have been far worse, and had my mother not happened to be with me I’d have been hard pressed to get where I needed to be and the whole process would have been far more arduous. But not once did either of us panic or break down in tears, though we did make salacious and very non-pc jokes at the expense of my face because laughter is the best medicine, even when it hurts like hell. It’s also a genetic disorder in the family that we laugh when someone is hurt – even our selves. In the aftermath I realize I am blessed on so many levels, and that I am still a level-headed and practical woman, albeit with a warped sense of humor. I also have a deeper appreciation for the woman I inherited both those traits from.

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