There’ll Be No Band-Aids in Heaven

Every year we gather at the home of my dearest friend for a huge 4th of July celebration.  Her house offers excellent seating for the parade and fireworks, and there is always an enormous amount of food.

Being that she is the “hostess with the mostest” everything is always beautifully organized, right down to the first aid kit.  With up to twenty-five kids running through the yard there are more than a few bumps and bruises to be dealt with, so a first aid kit is stocked and readily available.

One year though, something was missing.  As we were gathered on the front lawn, glassy-eyed from the third helping of some chocolate pudding, whipped cream, graham cracker concoction, and wondering when we should heat up the leftover brats for dinner, my ten-year-old daughter emerged from the house with a bloody knee and asked very sincerely, “Do you have any latex-free band-aids?”

This innocent question, asked by a girl who is indeed allergic to latex, brought about gales of laughter. Anyone over the age of 25 knows that latex free band-aids are relatively new on the market (as in debuted in the last decade) and were not yet considered a staple in first-aid kits.

The Band-aid company has made considerable strides in the past thirty years.  When I was a kid there were no cartoon characters, nothing waterproof, no bright colors or heart-shapes, nothing pre-medicated with antibiotic ointments, and the word “ouchless” was not a part of our vocabulary.  We had plain brown plastic that would stick to your leg for days.  It didn’t “breathe” like they do today. And if you were lucky enough to have one wrapped around your finger, you could make it last long enough that the edges began to roll down and get grimy, and when you finally removed it, your finger would be white and wrinkly.

The best thing about those band-aids though, was the metal, flip-top box that was perfect for storing treasures when you finally depleted the contents.  Nowadays, they have boring, flimsy, cardboard boxes that are not worthy to package something so special.  A band-aid is more than a plastic strip designed to keep dirt out of a cut.  It is a symbol that tells the world you have endured pain, you are strong, and you have a story to tell.

Around our house we go through band-aids like water.  I have a stash of every type, size, and color and the kids help themselves, letting me know when I need to restock.  But when I was a kid, things were quite different because my mother was so frugal.

Each year my sister and I received our own personal box of band-aids as Christmas gifts.  It was up to us to make them last for the entire year because mom was not about to let us have one out of the bathroom cabinet unless we were seriously injured. And then we were rewarded with the coveted plastic strip only after the wound had been vigorously scrubbed, doused with alcohol, and painted with Methiolate.  I would have preferred the mercury-laden Mercurochrome that my grandma regularly dotted onto our boo-boos, followed with gentle blowing to cool the sting, but mom’s motto was, “If it doesn’t sting, it isn’t clean!”

Many times when I received a band-aid I probably should have actually been in the emergency room.  One of the few times I was granted the privilege of stitches, I had cut the edge of my hand, just below the thumb.  After I bled through three precious band-aids, mom decided that perhaps a trip to the ER was in order. But she didn’t want to make such an expensive decision herself, so, we wrapped my hand in a towel and headed to the college where my dad was taking a night course.

I walked to his second story classroom, dramatically threw open the door, and with skin flapping from my hand, and blood running down my arm, I waved. The trip to the hospital resulted in an odd C-shaped line of stitches and an ugly hump that still throbs if I hit it just right.

My kids are spoiled with readily available band-aids and frequent trips to the emergency room.   But as my latex allergic daughter often sings:

 

There’ll be no band-aids in Heaven

No emergency medical care

There’ll be no skinned knees, no stings from the bees,

There’ll be no band-aids up there.

 

But if there were band-aids in Heaven, I bet they’d be latex-free.

About Ginger Truitt

Ginger is an author, speaker, and mother of five. Her award-winning newspaper column appears weekly across the Midwest. Recently, she was also published in Chicken Soup for the Soul: Parenthood.

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