Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Working Titles: Don't Eat The Dandelions or The School Nurse Dials Poison Control

The other day my wife, Beth, a teacher at a nearby high school, received that call that most parents dread.
A phone call from our son's school.

The text of the conversation went something like this:

Office Secretary: Beth, we have a phone call from the middle school nurse regarding your son, Adam.

Beth: Okay (deep breath, pulse rate jumps)

Clicking of transferred call.

School Nurse: Hello, Mrs. Anastasio? This is (insert name here) the school nurse at Adam's school.

Beth: Yes, is he okay? What's wrong?

School Nurse: Yes, it's not really serious.

Beth: What happened?

School Nurse: Well, there was an incident outside on the playground.

Beth: Okay.

School Nurse: Apparently, while running outside, Adam fell down and somehow when he was near the ground, he ingested a dandelion.

Beth: What?

School Nurse: He swallowed a dandelion.


School Nurse: Ate it.

Beth: (repeating in monotone manner) He ate a dandelion...

School Nurse: Yes.

Beth: Umm. (mind spinning with images of a slow motion, high definition replay of Adam tripping, background noise grinding into a drawn out groan. As his body nears the ground, his mouth opens and we see a close-up shot of the menacing dandelion zooming upward, center screen. Cut to Adam rolling over and sitting up, chewing slightly. He burps audibly, clutching his stomach. Teachers on duty rush to his side. One of them shouts above the schoolyard din, "Get a medic! Stat!" A WWII corpsman appears, mud spattered, med pack in hand. "What do we have?" he shouts. "Dandelion!" one haggard teacher replies. The corpsman's face blanches as he slowly shakes his head, the teacher bursts into tears--

School Nurse: Mrs. Anastasio?

Beth: (snapping out of trance) Yes, he okay?

School Nurse: Oh yeah, bit of a stomach ache, but I called poison control. There's really no danger in swallowing a dandelion. Adam may experience some discomfort later on, some minor stomach cramps. But, he'll be fine.

Beth: Uh-huh.

School Nurse: Just wanted to let you know.

Kids... ya gotta love 'em.


  1. Oh dear, Joe. My first thought is that the school nurse has clearly never heard of dandelion green salad, perhaps. But then I wondered if the blossoms are different enough to be worrisome.

    Anyway, Phew! I hope Beth's blood pressure quickly returned to normal levels!

    And shouldn't it be a "WWII corpsman"? :-)

  2. Frances! Nice to hear from you. How are things? Yes... CORPSMAN... oy, what a guffaw. Thanks for catching that.

    I've never really sampled the dandelion green salad, but my interest is piqued.

  3. If I were you, Joe, I'd be really worried about your son: I ate a dandelion once as a kid, and look how I turned out...

    You've been warned.

  4. Confession: I haven't actually eaten dandelion greens myself, just heard of doing so.

    All well here, I'll be in your neck of the woods with my boys from next week for about a month...

  5. I've had dandelion greens once; I ate them with vinegar. If my memory serves me well they are pretty good... Though I'm a sucker for any sort of salad with a vinegar-based dressing.

  6. Joe, this brings back memories of the past few years with my (now) 10-year-old daughter! I loved the way you tell this story!