it has been brought to my attention that some of my loyal readers are unfamiliar with this tragic event. here's a recap:
it was the summer of '86. i was five. we had just moved back to the states from germany and before moving to arizona, we took a three month sabbatical in idaho falls, idaho to catch up on visiting time with the grandparents. one day, i woke up with a kink in my neck, it hurt desperately and i'm sure i was whining non-stop about it. to put me out of my misery, my mother ordered me to lay in bed with the left side of my face/head firmly planted on the sweltering heating pad. being the obedient child that i was, i did just so. i remember laying there for what seems like, looking back on it, about a solid month. i was on the twin bed in a room in my grandmother's house. it was farthest from the window with another twin bed just in front of me. during my month long bed rest, i saw a hummingbird outside the window and was the highlight of my life during this dark period of my childhood.
at one point, several weeks into the torture, my mother decided she should assess my progress. upon doing so, she discovered my left ear had been burned beyond recognition. there's a fuzzy memory of making a trip to the emergency room or doctor's office with a pillow glued to the side of my head (probably stuck to the oozing and burnt flesh). yes, my neck was so stiff, i needed the aid of a pillow on my trip so i could comfortably lay my head wherever i wanted.
anyway, long story made less long, my left ear had a puffy, swollen, and bright red burn on the outer edge of it. i had to endure years of questioning from school teachers, wondering what happened to such a lovely girl. which i would promptly and unabashedly reply, "my mom burned me with the heating pad!" it has been a long and painful journey back to being normal. i still have a tendency to immediately turn my head to the left when i meet someone new so they won't notice my deformity.