Saturday, May 8, 2010

What's that in Your Ear?

"What do you want a hook for?" I asked Billy, completely puzzled. "Well," he went on, "I have a staple in my ear." WHAT THE $#@ I thought to myself. In the most calm and centered teacher voice I could muster I responded, "Uh, I don't have a hook but I bet the school nurse does."

"So why did you put a staple in ear," I asked the obvious question on the way to the nurse's office. "Because, duh, my ear itched!" Working with students with significant behavioral problems has always been interesting; certainly an adventure and most definitely unpredictable. At lunch I happened to mention the errant staple story to a staff member. I explained how the school nurse had instructed me to hold the flashlight at just the right angle so that she could carefully navigate her mini forceps into his ear canal and with great skill release the staple. "Whew, there was ear wax in your ear so no damage done, " the relieved nurse told Billy and me. "Remember," she went on to Billy, as she showed him the staple, "putting things like this in your ear can damage your hearing." "Oh, that's OK," Billy told us with confidence, "I can always hear out of my other ear."

A teacher listening to my lunchtime story had known Billy for a long time. "This is nothing new. Billy has been known to put erasers, staples and even little sticks in his ears. And, he does this for the attention." And in that moment, it all made sense to me. His father was being released from jail and there was soon to be a custody shift. Kids scream out for comfort and attention and love in any way they know how.

When I think back on Billy, I truly hope that he found his way without losing his hearing in the process! I also think that somebody along the way should have told Billy what my mother (who was a nurse) told me some 50 years ago, "Never put anything smaller than you elbow in your ear." But he probably wouldn't have listened to that advice...or maybe he couldn't have heard it with all those sticks, erasers and staples jammed in his ear canals!

1 comment:

  1. Joe and I had taken a friend to the ER after a mt. bike crash. We had to wait because the little kid ahead of us was screaming, he jammed his toenail down into his ear. Even our friend with the broken bones was laughing. Must be some weird fascination with ears.