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Monday, June 11, 2007

Bloody Vacation

When I was in fourth grade, my family discovered the Lava Bed National Monument in northern California. It was a short trip from my house in Klamath Falls, Oregon, and we had so much fun there! My favorite part were the caves, which were mostly fairly easy to explore, and rental for helmets and flashlights were inexpensive. There were also historical aspects to the lava beds. In 1869, President Grant sent troops to defeat the Modoc Indians, which used the lava beds as a natural stronghold against the army. VERY effectively. The stronghold up there was fun to hike through, and with it's twisty paths, and places to hide, it was easy to see how the Modocs could hold out against the army for so long.

It was on one of our several trips to the lava beds that disaster struck. My cousins were with us, and my cousin Shannon was running through Captain Jack's Stronghold, to catch up with some of the family that had wandered ahead on the trail. Her tennis shoes slipped on some of the loose stones, and she fell, smacking her head against a lava rock. It got her right behind the ear, and when she got up, blood started spurting out from the cut, spraying a good foot out from her head. Everyone immediately went into emergency mode, which means, they started to panic. They needed to stop the bleeding, and fast. So my mother turned to me. She pulled off my shirt, and used it as a compress to stop the bleeding. I was ten years old, shirtless, and completely mortified. And now that my shirt was being used for direct pressure, it wasn't as if we could substitute anything else until the bleeding had stopped.

I wandered half naked through the rest of the stronghold, trying to ignore stares from other tourists. Shannon kept holding the shirt to her ear, but it was clear after half an hour that the bleeding had stopped, and she was going to be fine. When we carefully pried my shirt away, the wound was a tiny little cut- not even the gaping head wound we had thought it was. I got my shirt back, but now it was covered with blood. A LOT of blood. Blood that made the shirt still slightly damp and sticky. At least grateful I had something to wear, I overheard some fellow tourists commenting that it looked like I had been a victim in the war. I returned to being humiliated. At the end of the day, though we tried to soak the shirt to get the blood out, the thing had to be thrown away. My cousin forgot all about the trauma, and was back to her old self. I was emotionally scarred forever and ever, but was mostly fine.

I should note, that my six year old male cousin Brad, my father, and my uncle were all on the trip, and all of THEM kept their shirts.


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