I’m always looking for stories.  Some people hate the fact that their body has been damaged by events.  I happen to think scars are a way to capture a moment.  Do you have any scars?  How did you get them?  What were you doing at the time?  Was this an interesting point in your life?  Show us.

36 responses to “Scars

  1. Well, I was going to post an off topic note here, but this might be appropriate to Ann’s prompt after all. The muse paid a late night visit (she is SUCH a night owl) this week, and something nice came of our collaboration.

  2. Me, after a lifetime of battling against the barbarians, I’ve got a lot of scars. Sometimes they itch and I can’t help scratching them, but for the most part I’m kinda comfortable about them – and indeed, I’ve come to regard them as badges of personal survival. Do they affect the way the rest of the world sees me? Not really – nobody out there notices them because of the make-up.

  3. Scar
    The irregular three inch scar traverses my left knee from about on inch below the patella to a spot just below the crude tattoo that I designed myself. A gallon wine jug with a small tag hanging off the neck showing the number 59. A loose script just below the bottle reads “Laguna”. From my vantage point all these fifty four years later, other than the muting of the blue ink, it hasn’t really changed that much.
    “Christ, wasn’t it bad enough to sustain an injury? You had to get a crummy tattoo put there to remind you?” said my orthopedic doctor during a recent visit to his plush office.
    “Kinda tells the whole story.“ I replied sheepishly, “Especially about the mind-set of a nineteen year old.”
    I was in my first year of a four-year stretch in the United States Air Force, and after putting in for Europe, found myself stationed at McClellan AFB, just outside of Sacramento. I grew up in Southern California, and joined the Air Force to see the world. So much for that. I was only four hundred miles from my hometown, and found it easy to hitchhike back and forth to stay in touch with my old pals and their great parties. My three day passes supposedly restricted me to a one hundred mile radius from the Base, but no one really enforced that rule.
    So it was that during Easter Break, 1959, I found myself sitting on warm Southern California sand next to my old girlfriend Janice, drinking half quarts of Olympia Beer. We were enjoying the beauty of the sheltered Laguna Beach cove, when I suddenly felt a sharp blow to my left knee, and a loud “thump”! Gary Tremper, a six-foot two hundred thirty pound friend of mine had just polished off a half gallon of Gallo Hearty Burgundy, and tossed the bottle overhand to a large trash heap just behind where Janice and I were sitting. His aim was short by about ten yards, and the bottle managed a direct hit on my kneecap. The bottle shattered, and so did my knee. After the initial shock. I saw that my knee was wide open and blood was pumping out at a furious rate. Janice screamed, Gary came running, scooped my one hundred twenty pound frame up like a rag doll and carried me up the cliff that surrounded the cove. He reached his car, placed me in the back seat, and with two other friends in tow, headed for the center of town to find medical help. Drunk as I was, I clearly remember having someone hold my leg up over the back of the front seat to keep blood from flowing so fast.
    A Laguna Beach motorcycle officer happened alongside, and Gary started pointing at my gushing knee. The cop wasted no time waving for us to follow him, and he led us to a small emergency medical clinic in downtown Laguna. The doctor was ill prepared to treat such a massive trauma, but forged ahead anyway. He strapped me down something similar to a dentist’s chair, and placed a mouthpiece over my face, and introduced Trimene Gas as an anesthetic. He injected several shots of Novocaine around the open wound. He had just started working on my knee, using metal forceps and other tools trying to sew up the massive tear. I felt consciousness leaving me, but was suddenly struck by an enormous feeling of the fear of dying. A huge dose of paranoia overtook me, and I literally ripped all the surgical instruments out of my knee. Everything that transpired for the next ten minutes or so seemed in my mind to be tied to a script that indicated that the doctor and everyone in the small room was trying to kill me. I have never imagined anything so vividly before or after. Gary tried to hold me down in the chair as I broke loose, but I tossed him aside and up against a wall. Adrenalin was on my side.
    When the episode finally faded, I felt quite foolish. I began apologizing to everyone. Profusely.
    The doctor mentioned that had he known I was intoxicated, he would not have used the gas. And now he was out of Novocaine. So the final twenty stitches were administered without any anesthetic. I think I left permanent fingerprints on the metal arms of that horrible chair. He finally bandaged me up, and I left on crutches. I sobered up enough to take pain killers, and spent the night a friend’s house in Laguna.
    I made it back to Sacramento, traveling by Greyhound Bus, and was immediately admitted to the Base Hospital. My recuperation lasted just over thirty days. As soon as I was able to leave the base, I talked a buddy of mine into taking me to a tattoo parlor in old Sacramento. The rest is history.

    • Reading this, I thought of the old TV show “Emergency.” It’s amazing just how many injuries can be treated with either D5W or Ringer’s Lactate. In fact, the curative powers of these IVs is so great, you wonder why they ever needed to call into Rampart to administer them. Of course we got to see nurse Dixie McCall when they did, so it was all good.

  4. My largest scar runs from just under my ribcage around to my back. They don’t make that big of an incision these days. Below is the story I wrote for the Transplant Chronicles (my first published story) about my sister and her journey.

    A part of me died with my sister when she passed away. This is literally true; she had one of my kidneys. Her compassion for others, her love of family and friends, and her courage through adversity are ingrained in my memory, and provide an example of how life should be lived to its fullest.

    Robin graduated from high school in 1972 and attended Oregon State University to major in home economics and teaching. During the spring of her first year she caught strep throat. She was treated at the college infirmary, but the strep organism was doing damage during that time, unbeknownst to anyone. That summer, her legs began to swell. This began the many hospitalizations to attempt to save her kidneys. In the end, she lost the function of both of them.

    Through this trauma, she maintained the most positive outlook, and kept her eyes set on goals for the future. Her love of children kept her teaching dream alive. Her passion for sewing was her outlet for disappointment.

    By 1976, she had settled into a routine of outpatient dialysis three times a week at OHSU in Portland. She became a special project of the dialysis nurses; they had someone they wanted her to meet. Mike was also a patient at OHSU and had begun dialysis in 1974. The nurses gave Mike her phone number, and their first date was on Valentine’s Day.

    Robin and Mike announced their engagement at their dialysis center on Dec 31, 1976. They proved love can blossom any time there are two people who want to be together. They married on September 10, 1977.

    Their romance made several of the local and statewide newspapers. In these articles, Mike and Robin stated they wanted to buy a house, and hoped to have children. They planned to adopt. They purchased their home in 1980, and settled into a routine of work during the day and dialysis treatments in the evenings three times a week.

    Some of Robin’s quotes will help you understand her courage and positive attitude:
    “People expect you to be real sickly, but I don’t have time to bother with being sick. I have too much to do in this lifetime of mine.”
    “We think of it (dialysis) as a part time job”.
    “We have gained an appreciation of life and how precious time is. We appreciate the simpler things now”.
    “Family support and setting small goals, such as running and exercising, helped me get over the initial difficulty of being on hemodialysis.”
    “I can think of a lot of things that could be much worse”.

    In 1984, Mike and Robin began home dialysis. With the help of Rose, a dialysis technician, they set up a room with two dialysis machines on loan from the hospital. They were determined to adopt a child, and worked with the Holt Adoption Agency. In 1985, their prayers were answered with the arrival of Nicholas, just a few months old, from South Korea. I remember the brilliant smile on Robins face when Nicholas was placed in her arms; she was complete.

    In 1987, she and I began discussing the option of a kidney transplant. Mike had had two previous unsuccessful transplants and was not planning to undergo another. Robin had wanted to wait until the success rate for transplants was greater than 50%. We decided to be tested for transplant compatibility, and I was a match for her.

    We underwent the operations for the transplant on March 15, 1988. It was an intense day for our parents – two of their children were undergoing surgery at the same time. We recovered in the same room, and I remember seeing the result of my kidney working in her; the bag at her bedside was filling with urine.

    She had bouts of rejection and was on a number of anti-rejection medications. But, she no longer needed to be hooked up to a dialysis machine. That lasted for about 11 months. Her body finally did reject the transplanted kidney. She had to restart dialysis, and was planning to resume home dialysis to be with Nicholas in the evenings.

    March 15, 1989, one year to the date of the transplant, Robin had a stroke while in the shower, and drowned in the bathtub. This day will be implanted on my soul for the rest of my life. The grief our family experienced was overwhelming. Mike was completely devastated. Nicholas remembers very little of his childhood with Robin, but he does remember that morning his mother died.

    Robin touched the lives of every person she came in contact with in her short life. Her friends admired her courage and determination, her quiet and compassionate manner, and her enthusiasm for life. Her family loved her dearly, and misses her greatly.

    Mike passed away a year after Robin and my brother and his wife adopted Nicholas. He is now married to a wonderful woman and is pursuing a career in education of special needs children.

    • Linda,
      Thank you for sharing your wonderful sister with us. In just a few sentences, I came to know you, your family, and of course, Robin. The sudden way you described her death brought immediate tears.
      You were very brave to share your kidney, and brave to share this personal story with us.

    • Wow, a very moving story. A strong reminder that not all scars are visible. Thanks.

    • Dear Linda,
      Your story is very moving, and kept me gripped paragraph by paragraph. It is a lovely tribute. I, too, lost a sister, who was a very special person. To some extent I can put myself in your shoes.

      I was perusing through Ann’s website, because I’m considering taking the Beginning Writer’s Workshop. I’m glad I stopped at your entry.

      Best regards.

      • Hello Stephanie,
        Most of the folks here have taken the Beginning Writer’s Workshop, so you are seeing some the writing of alumni. I’m sure they will encourage you to take the course. I’d enjoy working with you. –Ann

      • Thank you, Stephanie. I would highly recommend taking Ann’s Beginning Writers Workshop. It was the first writing class I took after I retired and the best one out of the nine I’ve taken. Then come back and post on this site!

  5. Scars

    Foolishness – We had just polished off the last of the Smirnoff when the spud gun failed to fire once again. I decided to look down the barrel, with my good eye, to see if the potato was lodged in the tube.

    Heroics – It was third and fifty-three, yet I managed to get the ball off just as I was hit. When I awoke in the hospital on Wednesday, they told me the pass was intercepted and we lost. Hardly my fault. Show me any quarterback who can make accurate throws with an arm broken in three places!

    Experience – On a trip back home for Thanksgiving, I saw my high school sweetheart at the grocery store. I caught up with her in the frozen food section and said, “Wow Melissa, you sure have gained some weight!”

    Celebration – The birthday cake looked delicious. Since I knew everyone was anxious to get a piece, I went to the kitchen to get a knife, and ran back to the dining room as fast as I could.

    Loss – It was raining and foggy the night my dog Rex was hit by the truck. I called 911, and rushed out to comfort my best friend in his last few moments on earth. I guess I was too caught up in grief to hear the siren or see the flashing lights. The ambulance driver told me later that you should always wear reflective clothing when sitting in the middle of the road. Especially on a foggy night. When it’s raining.

    Giving – I knew it was a bad plan to get so drunk with a bunch of people I really didn’t know. When I woke up the next morning in a bathtub full of ice, I thought, “Shit, that was my last kidney!”

    Home – After being on a camping trip for a week, it sure was nice to be back home. Even if ‘home’ was just a house trailer. I remember it was kind of cold, so I lit the Kerosun heater and set it on the rocking chair next to the liter box. I guess I must have dozed off.

    Love – I can still hear Wendy saying, “It’s not contagious between outbreaks.”

  6. I have a faint puckered scar on my upper left calf that I got as a kid, long ago.

    My pack of friends was going to ride to Lake Michigan. I had to borrow my sister’s big-tired bike because my 10-speed had a flat tire.

    When we got to the beach-front, we didn’t stop but rode straight down the sand bluff to the shore. My bike got mired in the sand and I fell over, cutting myself on a jagged edge of the chain guard.

    I don’t remember bleeding much and I don’t remember hurting much. What I do remember was what a great time we had just fooling around, a bunch of 14-year old suburban kids on a daring adventure to Chicago’s beaches.

    Now, whenever I see that scar, it reminds me of a carefree childhood, when we could ride, and swim, and play, and laugh in the sun until we were too tired to even move, then get on our bikes and hightail it home before the sun went down.

  7. Sanctuary

    Mornings are my sanctuary.
    I stagger to them blindly,
    eyes puffed from lack of sleep,
    cotton congesting my brain.

    (He sleeps.
    Drug induced,
    but sleep.)

    I sip my morning tea,
    peruse the newspaper,
    eat my breakfast.
    I relish the peace, the quiet.
    I can almost forget.
    Almost, but for the ton of concrete on my shoulders.

    (He stirs,
    needs the toilet.
    Where is it?)

    I ache with a weariness bone deep.
    To my soul.
    I fear I will never be free
    of this weariness.
    There is no respite from weariness this profound.

    (He’s wet.
    His shorts are wet,
    the floor is wet.
    Who took the toilet?)

    I straighten the kitchen,
    plan the day’s meals.
    I steel myself,
    prepare myself,
    climb the stairs
    away from sanctuary.

    My time of sanctuary is gone,
    its bit of healing erased.
    I have the whole day ahead of me.
    Another whole day with Alzheimer’s
    And this stranger who is my husband.

  8. The stars were bright at one o’clock in the morning, the road was empty, except for a coyote or two, and my headlights. One hill and three curves till I would drive into my driveway and then shortly fall into bed.

    I start up the hill which is topped with one of those three curves, as I near the top, headlights beam from the opposite direction. As I top the hill and start into the curve, I see that the on-coming car has crossed into my lane and I’d headed straight for me. I jerk the car to the left and is hit head on in the right front side.

    The next thing I remember is waking up in a hospital bed, wondering where I was and what happened. Tubes we coming out my nose and pain stretched from my head to my toes. I focused enough to see my mom and dad standing at the end of my bed. They told me that the other driver was drunk and that my 65 Mustang was a total loss. They also told me that my nose was broke by the steering wheel, I had a cut above my right eye, and my left knee had a six inch rip caused by the emergency brake.

    As with most physical wounds these healed leaving the most manly scars a guy could ask for. Then just over a year later, I was again in the wrong place at the wrong time, this time getting a matching scar over my left eye. Needless to say, my parents was glad when I married and had to find my own rides.

    ’65 MUSTANG.

    Oh, sorry you got dinged up, Walk.

  10. Thank God you’re alive. A ’65 Mustang offers about the same level of protection as a box of Kleenex. Actually, a box of Kleenex filled with shards of broken glass. Ford fixed it later though, with the Pinto and Firestone tires. With these improvements, there was need for “the other car.”

  11. My scars are invisible to all but me.

    Oh, to be certain, you can see the faint, thin vertical scar on my chin where one of my huskies greeted me with great enthusiasm. And those puckered lines across my left knee? A chain saw with a penchant for not idling when it should have been. If you look closely at my forearms, you can see some white dots of scar tissue, each accompanied by a nearby crescent, thanks to an angry green parrot trying to instill some avian manners in a hopeless human. And then there’s the round indentation between my eyebrows, left by chicken pox when I was six years old, and yes, I’ve had my shingles vaccination.

    My scars are well-hidden and only I know where they secrete themselves.

    I was there at their geneses. I followed them through the hurtful scabbing phase and on to the final engraving. I can bring them forth at will, though sometimes a melody, a profile, or a photograph will hold me spellbound until I acknowledge their presence and cede to them their omnipotence to ambush.

    My scars are fading, but will never disappear entirely.

    They are mine, and only I can appreciate them. To others, they might seem puerile or not worthy of earning, much less preserving. But I have learned something about scars: When I write about them, I cut each one down to a size I can examine and cope with. I imprison them on paper, then disarm them of their rapiers of guilt, sorrow, and loss. We have a truce, a glasnost, a recognition of equal strength.

    My scars are a mystery to all but me, and beneath each is a story to be told.

  12. When I was forty-nine I started my adventure. It started as many adventures do, with a pretty lady. My fair lady, may her beauty never cease. My first wounds occurred while protecting my own property. I was badly bruised and had many broken ribs. These pains paled in comparison to the beating I took in defending an insult to my fair lady. I was removed from conciousness. After my period of recovery, I learned that my library had been ransacked and many of my most loved volumes were missing. I knew that I must have a partner to have my back. Thus, I employed a neighbor to assist me in my adventure.
    Even with the assistance of my new partner I was thwarted by a most hideous giant. The size and breadth of the creature, as menacing as it was, did not deter me. However, it was most persistent in its presence and nearly tore my arm off. This put me in a terrible place. In a further attempt to push on through my journey, I encountered a rather put-out man who relieved me of an ear. Shortly after that I was beaten senseless by a group of working men. Seeking refuge I met others who also challenged all tasks laid out before me. I received additional beatings. I was trampled, had my head bashed, stoned and beaten to darkness with my own property. To make matters worse, I was even attacked by a house cat. The holes and scratches on my face are only tempered by the burn marks and splinters left from the explosion I had to endure. However, the worst might have been when I took on the stampede of swine. The horror of it all.


    After a long day, I sat down to watch a movie called Cloud Atlas on TV. I knew nothing about it. After the opening lines, quoted below, I knew this movie would demand my full attention. I couldn’t give it because the muse was knocking on my head. But, boy, I sure wish I’d written these opening lines.

    I gave each phrase and clause its own line to emulate the slow way in which they were delivered.

    From Cloud Atlas, starring Tom Hanks, Halle Berry, and many more.
    first lines; 2346 – by a flickering campfire, old and weathered with a long scar across his left eye, sits by the fire speaking to someone we cannot see]

    Zachry: Lornsome night,
    babbits bawlin’,
    wind bitin’ the bone.
    Wind like this,
    full of voices.
    Ancestry howlin’ at you;
    ‘you bring the stories’.
    All their voices tied up into one.
    One voice different,
    one voice whispering out there,
    spying from the dark.
    Now, find you devil,
    Old Georgie himself.
    Now you hear up close and I’ll yarn you about the first time we met eye to eye.

    Here’s the link to more:

  14. I have a small scar on the back of my head. It is from an accident when I was a child. I did a little free writing a while back and created a post on the subject.
    Free Writing Out of Body
    Below would be the text for that post:

    Out of Body Experiences
    I don’t really believe in out of body experiences. I mean how could that really be possible? If you could be out of your body you would have a hard time seeing right? We use our eyes to see. If we somehow managed to get our “soul” or “spirit” out of this mechanical/biological pod, wouldn’t we be blind? The world might appear completely white or black. Maybe just not at all. Doesn’t make any sense.

    I do believe that things around us – stimulus – can make us retract from reality. Specifically, I think that pain is an easy one to point out. Love can be another, but the diversion is different. I particularly remember my first… Well, what I remember to be my first experience. Out of body or not. I was young, probably less than ten years old. We had this swing set in the backyard. It was the metal tube frame kind. My dad probably picked it up from the old Howard’s store where he worked. I don’t remember if he did work there then or not. But it seems plausible. The swing had a metal slide on one side. There were a few chain swings in the middle. Then there was the buggy swing on the opposite end of the slide. The kind where two kids could sit across from each other and swing. We usually sat on the top of the backs of the seats. I am sure that there was no warning written anywhere on it. Back then people were assumed to be smart enough to know what was safe or not. We didn’t really care. If there had been a sticker or sign we would have ignored it. Positively. It was a lot quicker to get that puppy up to speed by sitting on the backs of the seats. My cousin and I would sit there and sing our silly made-up songs to each other.

    This day in particular started like most of them did. I was singing and swinging. But this time I fell off the back of that buggy seat. You might ask why. I don’t remember. But, I did fall. Face down. I fell right under the path of that swinging buggy. On its way back to center and through to the top of the swing arc, the buggy passed right over my head. Apparently, the clearance of the bottom of the buggy was enough to miss my butt (which wasn’t much of anything anyway) and catch me right on the back of the head. I don’t remember the impact. But I do remember standing just outside the swing watching the aluminum slats on the bottom that buggy go bam-bam-bam across my skull. That kid’s body, my body, jumping a bit with the impact. The swing eventually slowed down. I regained consciousness in the back of the car on the way to the hospital. No real damage done. Well, at least as far as I can tell.

    So as a recap, I don’t believe in out of body experiences. But, I had one. And – it was weird. I don’t think that I was really outside of my body. But, it was clearly a memory that I hold today with a fair amount of clarity. Memories are tricky that way. For me that is. I have quite a few memories that are completely third person experiences. Weird way to remember junk.

  15. Most mornings when I groggily look in the mirror, I am shocked at the white hair and wrinkles. I often believe someone is playing a pathetic joke because in my heart, I am young and vibrant. But the most startling revelation occurs upon stepping out of the shower and viewing my bluish, purple scar extending from my navel down into my pubic hairs. To say it is an ugly scar is an ironic understatement, a litote in British vernacular. Besides the color and the length, it is probably a little more than a quarter of an inch wide, and it ripples along the incision line. Ironic as an ugly scar by the very nature of what resulted from that scar, not once but twice. We had lost a baby in the first trimester and were told to wait a solid year before trying again. Finally carrying our baby to term was magnificent, but going two weeks over the due date was a little annoying. Just false labor, we were told over and over for the two-week late night hospital runs. They may call it false, but it is excruciatingly painful. Refusing to give in to another late night false alarm, I waited until the contractions were steadily one minute apart. Arriving at the hospital, my OB-GYN tried to engage the baby in the birth canal, but each time the baby rebounded up. He placed a fetal monitor on me and determined the baby was indeed in fetal distress. The answer – an emergency C-section. No need to discuss the option, we told him to help this baby immediately. I was awake from the chest level up, so when he opened me up and proclaimed, “Oh my God!” my blood pressure soared. The anesthesiologist grabbed my husband by the collar and told him to calm me down. Apparently our daughter was wrapped in the umbilical cord from her neck down to her toes. Had I been stubborn enough to insist on a normal vaginal delivery, our daughter would have died on the table. Sadly the young woman after me refused a C-section, and her baby died on the operating table. When the required hospital counselors came in to talk to me about having a C-section, I told them that they were wasting their time. We had a beautiful daughter; after all isn’t that the point of a pregnancy? Eight years later, I was barefoot, pregnant and bankrupt, not to borrow a cliché. After losing countless babies, our son was a scheduled arrival. Different doctor, different circumstances but still cutting along that same dotted scar line left me with an even more bluish-purple stripe. That ugly scar ironically reminds me daily of two of our most beloved and treasure gifts, our children. Needless to say, this scar represents one of my finest hours, the birth of two children.

  16. Thanks Gullible – I always enjoy reading your voice – unique to you.

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