It hurts so bad…

My youngest son acquired a new hobby this past summer: busting up his knee. He started with little scrapes, cuts, and bruises – falling on pavement or landing on a rock during a game of football. As fall rolled around, he upped his game and fell on something that bit deeply into his knee, so deeply that we had to take him to the hospital for treatment.

Despite the depth of the wound, no stitches were necessary. Instead, they instructed us to wash it and change the dressing every morning and night. My wife initially handled these duties (for good reason), but it was only a few days before I ended up being the regular wound cleaner.

He was extremely nervous the first time I did it, specifically about how I was going to wash out the scrape.

“Don’t just spray the cleaner on it,” he said. “Spray it on a gauze pad and pat it.”

I examined the can of wound cleaner. It emitted a stream of cool sterile water when you pressed the button. It didn’t spray, so much as dribble. The water came out with considerably less force than a faucet. “But I have to,” I said. “I want the water to run over the wound and carry the dirt away.”

“It’ll hurt!” he said.

“Not as much as if I pat the wound with gauze.”

“Please, Daddy! Please don’t.”

“Let me just try.”


“Okay, okay. Geez. Tell you what, I’ll squirt the blood that’s away from the cut, clean the edges.”


“Trust me. It’s not going to hurt. Here. The problem might be because you’re watching.” I held a towel up to shield the wound from his eyes. “Ready?”

He was breathing fast and shallow, but nodded.

“Okay.” I squirted the water on his leg about six inches below the wound, so far down on his shin that it didn’t touch anything but healthy skin.

“Ow!” He grabbed the towel and yanked it away. “It hurts! It hurts so bad!”

“I didn’t even – ”

He glared at me. “How could you do that? How could you do that to your own son?”

“Do you see where the water is?” I pointed at the wet spot on his leg. “That’s where I squirted you.”

“No, you didn’t! You squirted right on the cut!”

“Hmm…” I stood up. “You know what? I think maybe you better do it. I’ll get the gauze pad wet for you. You clean the scrape.”

And that’s what he did.

I’m happy to report that over the next few weeks, I eventually re-gained his trust, and he let me do the cleaning. He never did let me squirt it, though.

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