accidents, healing, health, injury

What Not to Say When Someone Gets Hurt

As many of you know, Josh got hurt a few weeks ago and had surgery on his hand. People have been wonderfully sweet, generous and thoughtful. However, some people have been downright weird in their reaction to Josh’s pain and injury and I feel compelled to write this piece that could, perhaps use the title, “What the hell?”

Josh and I both encountered these weird interactions a number of times before we turned to each other and said, “Um, have you noticed that…” and we realized we were seeing the same strange patterns. If one person is awkward or says something strange, we assume that person is awkward or strange. But when the same patterns arise over and over again, you have no choice but to say, “What the hell?”

Here are my “What the hell?” encounters:

1. The Pain Competition: Kudos to all of us moms who have been through the pain of childbirth. We are awesome. We survived. But I’ve never understood feeling a need for a pain competition. My boys will be competitive about everything – how far they pee, how fast they eat, how many days they can survive without showering. I get it. I understand competition. But pain competition? Josh and I both saw repeatedly that women would ask him how he was feeling. When he said he was in pain, they would say, “Oh pain? Try giving birth and then we will talk about pain” or “Oh that’s nothing. It’s not childbirth. You’ll be ok.” They would deliver their lines with a sly smirk and then look around to make eye contact with another woman. It was like a weird conspiratorial bonding experience.

2. The Battery Joke: The second situation that we’ve seen ad nauseum is even weirder. When they see Josh for the first time in his cast and sling, swaths of people have said, “Did your wife do that to you?” or “Gotta tell that wife of yours to calm down.” After the third or fourth time that it happened, I started saying to Josh under my breath “You have got to be kidding.” By the sixth or seventh time, Josh would look at me and wonder if the speaker was about to be the recipient of exactly the type of violence about which they implied. It’s been hard to hold back.

So really, the moral of this story is “WHAT THE HELL!” Where, oh where, did these completely odd and inappropriate reactions come from? I know that people feel uncomfortable in certain situations, like after someone dies, and say all sorts of widely odd and inappropriate things. I get it.

But it’s a finger. A finger. Nothing particularly uncomfortable or awkward here. Just say, “Hey, hope you feel better soon,” or “Get well soon” and move on.

I keep looking for the candid camera, but I haven’t found it yet.

I’ll let you know if I do.

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