Tuesday, January 12, 2010

On Growing Up...Sort Of

So today after school, I completely forgot that I had rescheduled yesterday's chiropractic appointment and was sitting at my desk, trying to be the uber-organized person on the 8th grade team who had tomorrow's field trip ALL UNDER CONTROL. I took out all the permission slips, faced the cash the kids had turned in, marked off the students who had paid, highlighted the names of those who hadn't, made bus lists of all the kids attending in alphabetical order (after having a small debate with myself over whether Minh Ma Tuyet's name should come before "Manns," since technically, her last name is Ma, or after "Miller," since in Vietnam her first name would be given last...these are the questions that nag at me incessantly), printed off 4 copies so each of us chaperoning would have our own copy (and wait for it...I put all of our names at the top of each page and THEN highlighted a different name on each page so we would each have our own, personalized copy). Yes, again, I wanted to have the field trip tomorrow ALL UNDER CONTROL.

Perhaps it's because the idea of taking a large group of children roller skating launches me back to the scary emotional minefield of my own junior high years and our monthly skating parties, wherein I lumbered about the insides of a converted warehouse on wheels, trying desperately not to spill my nachos while avoiding carpeted obstacles and waiting, desperately, for someone to ask me to skate with him on the "moonlight" skate. This, of course, never happened, even though hope sprang eternal in my not-quite developed breast, and I never gave up hope of having a partner to skate around the concrete bunker with while Bon Jovi wailed and the disco ball swirled.

Or, perhaps this is because every time we have one of these "Student Success Club" field trips, I feel as if my brain is melting and I'm going to do something horrifically non-professional teacher-y like leave a student behind, or not supervise the kids to the point that a baby will be conceived on my watch. This cannot happen, and so I try to compensate for the unknown scariness of trusting 8th graders with personal responsibility by being a little Type A with the advance paperwork on the trip. Eventually tomorrow, some time after we get on the bus to go to the roller skating rink and before we actually strap on the skates, I will LET IT GO and find my happy place. So what if one of the kids breaks an arm or sneaks off at the food court in the mall and wreaks havoc on the local retail industry? At least I had alphabetized AND personalized bus lists ready to go the day BEFORE the field trip!

So, as I was walking down to the printer to pick up my magnificent bus lists, I remembered that the middle school Quiz Bowl team was practicing in anticipation of their inaugural match tomorrow night. I decided to magnanimously pop in and offer my friend Sean my services as question reader so that he could actually work with the kids. He turned me down, but I stayed on and watched the kids practice. While sitting there, I noticed that the left lower part of my face was numb and tingly. I kept unobtrusively pushing at the numb area (at least I THOUGHT I was being unobtrusive -- everyone and their brothers may have actually seen me poking and pushing away at my face). The area felt a little swollen, so I went back to my room, opened the closet, and took a look to see if anything was noticeable. To my surprise, the area on the left of my chin was totally puffy and red. This struck me as odd, but it was time to go to the library, so I turned off the computer and headed out, leaving myself enough time to go to the gas station and grab a hot chocolate and bag of pretzels.

By the time I got to the library for work, I was starting to get myself in a bit of a tizzy. I thought to myself, "Self. Facial numbness is rarely a good thing. What's up with this?" I assured myself that all would be well, and that I would solicit the advice of my friend Alan, natural-life guru and librarian hippy extraordinaire. He agreed that this situation was hinky. Now, when faced with a hinky situation that involves facial numbness and tingling, I revert to the voice in my head that sounds a whole lot like my mom's and listen to it as it tells me what to do. In this case, I could clearly hear my mother's dulcet tones saying, "Get your butt to the doctor NOW before she closes." So I did.

Thankfully, the doctor was able to fit me in. Then again, when a patient presents herself at the front desk and says, "I'm a little freaked out -- my face is numb," it behooves a doctor to give it a look or two. I actually got a reflex test to see if I was having a stroke. Not so much. Of course, I go to a physician's assistant, and it's always a little disconcerting when she calls her sister the doctor, in for a consult. They used a lot of big words that I don't remember at this point, but I do remember having my mouth open and my tingly lip being pushed and pulled and prodded. They agreed that, yes, it was tingly, and yes, it was swollen (good to know my diagnostic skills are at the top of their game). They threw a lot of suggested treatments over my head, too, while pulling the ol' lip around. I caught the words "warm compresses" and "doxycycline," which made me think I might actually survive this situation.

So, here's the scoop. I have a pimple on the way. I didn't really struggle too much with acne as a teenager, but man, do I fight it as an adult. My hormones are constantly in a state of flux, and the main symptom is that my face consistently resembles a mountain range at sunset (I choose to believe that the general nastiness I often feel when dealing with my students is a result of working with adolescents, rather than the whole hormone thing. I will acknowledge that the hormone fluctuations probably don't help the situation, though.).

So I have a zit coming on. And this zit, which promises to be a monster, is developing right smack dab on the facial nerve, which is why the left side of my face has felt, for about six hours now, like I'm coming off a massive whack of novacaine at the dentist's office. This is not cool for me. However, I'm an adult, and sometimes being an adult means crazy stuff happens. Like pimples that pop up on facial nerves, and accepting responsibility for other people of the pre-teen variety when what I really want to do is bury my head in a pillow and not emerge for the week it's going to take the Clearasil to start working. Maybe tomorrow when I accompany the kids on the roller skating field trip, my zit and I will be able to convince the DJ to play some Bon Jovi for me. There won't be a "moonlight" skate for me to worry about, but at least the pimple and I will feel at home.

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