OK, here is a story from the other side. We went to a water park on the last day of school. One of my 7th graders, a boy who I have been very close to throughout the year, had a huge scar on his chest and one on his back. It looked like heart surgery.A friend's daughter has had several heart surgeries. She got a transplant sometime before she was three (right after they adopted her, they got VERY lucky with the heart because she was far down on the list but was there when the heart donor's parents decided to pull the plug and none of the other kids' parents could get them there in time. My friend was actually in the waiting room with the donor's mother and didn't realize it until the surgery was over. )
Since I had never before seen him without a shirt, I was shocked. I have known this kid well, helped him write speeches, he hangs out in my classroom before school starts, etc. I am definitely his favorite teacher. I know I should not have said anything, but I said, "You have a big owie." He responded, "Ninja fight. You should see the other guy!"
He totally ehelled me. And good for him.
Her scars are... numerous and hard to miss. I don't think she has ever had stitches put in that did not get torn at least once, usually more than that. Some problem with her skin or something. The point is, her scars start just under the holow of her neck and veer to the left, onto her back, to her navel, its pretty ikky. She is scared she's never going to "look normal" and nopw that her sister is "developing" she has this new set of fears of what she will "develop" Her parent's have a fund in case they need to get her plastic surgery to keep her sanity, its that bad. She REALLY hates to be asked about them. Naturally she does get asked by strangers every few weeks or so. So she finally decided if SHE has to be uncomfortable, so do they. (She's now 8-9 or so.)
So she glares and says (paraphrased, since it involves more detail when she's angrier, and less when she's not.) "Its my transplant. Where I got my new heart. From a little boy whose car was hit by a drunk driver, and whose brain died before the ambulance even got there. My parents are very glad I have this heart, but I bet his aren't. He'd be just my age now, his birthday was two weeks before mine. So everytime I blow out the candles I'm blowing out the ones HE should be blowing out." She can go on... and on... and on. Until the person desprately wishes they never asked and if they try to excuse themselves she gets an offended face and calls after them "Well YOU asked! If you didn't want an answer YOU should've kept your tongue!" Its... weird. She is not a happy child. She just isn't.
Weird Fact: My friend is still in touch with the donor's parents. Without realizing it, they live about six miles from each other. So they have dinner occasionally.
It sounds like this girl may need to talk to someone about her feelings regarding her surgery. Poor kid.
Yeah. She's been through three "someones" but she hasn't clicked with a therapist yet. She says they judge her. She also goes to group therapies for PTSD. And on a good day she is just the picture of joy and happiness, she rides her bike with her brother and sister, she goes fishing with her granddad, she seems 'normal' but then it just crumbles. She just can't stand people bringing her attention back to the scars, or maybe its the reminder of why they're there.
Lately there's been a lot of hope though. She's been seeing the same therapist for six weeks and no refusals to go. And they adopted a 4th child, a baby boy whose arrival seems to have multiplied her good days. Even though she was the first "adoption" (they had friend's SO's daughter from another relationship
) she's always been the youngest. The 2nd adoption was a boy who is a year or so older than her. The big sister role seems cut for her nicely, as are the higher cut "I'm the big sister" tshirts that match the little guy's onsies. (They have five sets. Yes, all of our friends think alike when it comes to baby gifts. They also have two sets in toddler sizes.)
So she's got her good times. And is teaching her little chunk of the world why you din't ask beyond the phrase "Please don't ask. i don't like to think about it." one hapless target at a time.(And if she's feeling good, and hasn't had her good vibes totally ruined, she does sometimes use something as simple as "I was saved by a heart transplant. At three. Please, think of where a 3 year old's heart may come from." And then just stares at them.)
Man I threadjacked. But I just wanted to assure folks that while she has some hard times (and certainly would not be harmed by some hugs. The mental kind are 100% guaranteed not to mess with any stitches.) she isn't ALWAYS such a miserable little thing. Sometimes she's just a laughing, sweet, sometimes morbid kid who wants someone to explain to her whether they can use "third hand" organs. (as in one that has been transplanted before. She's not suicidal or anything, she just wants to know and her heart doctor said he'd find out but didn't follow through.)